Expectations are like premeditated resentments …
This epithet is attributed to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), though I cannot vouch for a thing heard secondhand. I’ve never been to AA, thankfully never needed it. I don’t drink or smoke; I eat mostly organic and get plenty of exercise. That’s why it wouldn’t surprise me to get hit by a truck on one of my regular ten-mile bicycle excursions, yanking me out of circulation like an old library book before its time. If life has taught me a blessed thing, it surely has reinforced that the element of surprise is alive and well; that life rarely rises up to meet our expectations of it.
Most of my earthly existence has been fraught with strife caused by eager anticipation. From the promised childhood wilderness trips cut short due to some miniscule infraction of rules none of us kids could quite grasp until we broke one – to the impeccable standards held forth by adults with more than adequate personal integrity – our nemesis is ever going to be what we expect yet bitterly resent not getting, especially when placed on an anticipated timetable. We all engage the attribute, it’s simply a matter of degree.
But wait … what about the New Age directive to gently lob our intentions out to the universe and wait on divine timing in order to receive its bounty? This one trips me up with regularity. I am not a patient person by nature, though I try mightily to cultivate the trait. My timeline and that of the gods often seems at odds, and I expect I’m not the only one marinating in this feeling. Perhaps it is helpful to remember that, along with knowledge that expectations set us up to bleed energy through the artery of resentment, we will still trip ourselves up from time to time. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.
When bad things happen to good people, it’s tough to witness. And if you consider yourself a just and fair individual and have lived long enough, you’ve directly experienced it. Since we cannot expect life to be fair and since we are virtually assured that there is no logical explanation forthcoming, one must chalk disappointments up to missed opportunities and try and hold our heads high in the daunting face of intermittent adversity.
However, if we attain a certain age and look back far enough, we are able to glimpse the wisdom of the gods, urging us to drop these expectations. For it is only when we are able to accomplish this that we experience true emancipation from anxiety and worry and claim authentic joy in living. To let life surprise us, often delightedly so, we relax into not knowing, allowing endless possibilities we could not have conceived of to bear fruit and shower us with their abundant harvest.