You know already how much I love (500) Days of Summer because it is pretty much the story of my life. One of the scenes that really hit home to me is when Tommy goes to the party that Summer invites him and in his mind he has expected one thing but the reality hits him hard. In that scenario, based on their past and his hopes, Tommy put his expectations too high and therefore got extremely hurt. It’s actually a pretty painful scene to watch because I’ve been there so many times.
Even though I’m sure many of us strive to be grounded in reality, it’s really hard to not get our expectations up. After all, aren’t we told to have hope? You always try to hope for the best, to not be so pessimistic, to believe that there’s something good coming out of every situation. While I have no doubt that some people can do it, it seems very hard to go through life with a “whatever happens, happens; I’m not getting my hopes up” attitude ALL the time because it feels like you’ve resigned on your entire life and given up.
Expectation: Keeping in touch with your high school friends for the rest of your life.
Reality: Never hearing from them ever.
Expectation: Marriage is the thing that is going to solve all your problems!
Reality: Marriage tends to cause even more problems…and you still have to work hard in it.
Expectation: You think a friend you’ve been talking to online for years would be thrilled to see you in person.
Reality: They act like they barely know you when they see you.
Expectation: Going to see a new movie or read a new book from your favorite director/author and thinking it will be amazing.
Reality: It sucks. What were they thinking?
Expectation: Your local professional sports team can’t be that horrible.
Reality: Yes. Yes they are.
Pinterest is a very good example of how this line of thinking works. How often do we go on the site and see all these crafts, recipes, hairstyles, decorating tips and we wish could insert that into our own life? Who are all these people who have time to make AND photograph such a perfect lifestyle while having children, working, and running a household? We try to emulate them and well….this ends up happening instead (via Cake Wrecks)
That is of course a worst case scenario but it is also what it feels like a lot of the time. I”m not sure really what the best solution is. You don’t want to get hurt when you hope for something and it doesn’t turn out the way you planned yet you don’t want to go around for the rest of your life always expecting the worst to happen. Do you just go around with absolutely no expectations at all? Is that even possible?
Plus there are the expectations we place on each other and ourselves. That we should have reached certain milestones at certain ages. (Why isn’t my baby walking and talking yet? Why isn’t my kid reading yet? Why hasn’t my kid got accepted into colleges yet? Why don’t I have kids yet?) That we should have a certain lifestyle, career, or relationship. That even though we’ve gotten what we wanted and are genuinely happy that it’s not enough and you should strive for more.
I’m not really sure what the solution is here. Lower your expectations? Stop hoping so much? Be less optimistic and more realistic? I realize that we’re always going to get hurt at some point in our life. Hah. Maybe that’s just my expectation.