So What Did I Expect?

I know the key to happiness: Expect nothing.

Notice I didn’t say I’ve found the key to happiness. That’s because I sometimes still expect things to turn out the way I want them to.

But life is what happens while we’re making other plans and we –specifically, I – have to accept that fact or be perpetually unhappy. Even miserable.

I confront my own expectations throughout each day. Occasionally they get met. Most often they don’t.

*Call someone on the phone. The person doesn’t answer.

* Go to the store. The item I want is out of stock.

* Ask for a favor. My friend can’t/won’t do it, or, worst, doesn’t do it the way I want it done.

* Plan on getting paid. Sorry, not today.

I’ve worked hard in recent years on letting go of expectations. The result is I am less agitated and even serene when I don’t get what I want on demand, most of the time.

ut I have yet to make peace with the reality that each passing day brings a “new normal” in my physical abilities. I keep thinking that my body can handle the same abuse I put it through five, 10, 20 years ago.


Just yesterday, I helped out two fellow owners in my condo development who were digging a trench to lay wiring for a lighting system. Perfect, I said to myself. I’ll get some exercise and give these “old guys” a break.

Within a very few minutes of swinging the mattock (ground-breaking tool), I had ripped open a blister on one hand. An hour later, I was sweating buckets and fairly sore.

This morning I awoke with a stiff neck and throbbing quadriceps muscles. By 2 p.m., I’d already napped for 90 minutes. Now I’m so incapacitated that the only things I can lift are two fingers to tap out this short trifle.

What I’m just now starting to understand is that maybe this is the grand plan for me today. I’ve been avoiding writing for many months and, perhaps, this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my time.

It’s NOT what I expected to do. And the piece is much shorter than what I expected to write. But it’s all I’ve got in me.

Hmm. Double hmm.

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5 Responses to So What Did I Expect?

  1. wgriff says:

    Can I have the next bunk after two days of cleaning windows with the old-style, slide up-‘n-down storms? Knowing you, you did a 10-mile run as a “cool down.” Enjoyed the post.

  2. Linda Collins says:

    Gil, there was a reason you wrote what you wrote. It spoke to me on many levels. Things I needed to hear tonight, everyday. Thank you. It was REAL,…

  3. Bill Frederick says:

    The expectations thing got a lot better for me around the time I quit drinking. Probably just a coincidence.

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