The other day, my friend couldn’t order a London Fog to try because the shop was out of Earl Grey.
“What a disappointment!” I heard myself say, with good cheer.
And that was profound.
Because for whatever reason, I grew up feeling like disappointment was THE WORST EMOTION you could possibly have. Or incite in others. Or observe being had.
I mean, some part of this is that I am highly sensitive to other people’s emotions, so. Any negative emotion wasn’t great. But disappointment? THE WORST.
To be avoided at all costs.
This leads to a rather obvious decision: don’t expect anything.
EXPECTATIONS ARE THE GREAT KILLER.
or whatever. I mean, maybe no one died of merely expecting something and not getting it, but why risk it?
We moved across the country when I was 9, and at that point I cottoned onto a concept of deliberately holding no expectations of a new place or environment. When we moved to Japan about 4 years later I was quite determined to not be at all anticipating anything, because it was so outside my realm of experience.
It worked, on one level.
But fast forward to now–and learning about how helpful making a concrete vision for your life is. How necessary it is to acknowledge your emotions.
And I also have realized another thing: if you think you don’t have expectations, you are probably fooling yourself. Now, it is possible to not know what to expect of a new place but when you are preparing for it you need some information going in.
Working with your expectations, consciously, means you can also work with your disappointments–consciously.
Not to say that I was wrong to arrive in Japan with a blank slate. There was literally nothing a 13 year old girl could do to prepare for that.
But it’s a survival mechanism I no longer need.