“What’s the secret of a great marriage? It’s not looks, nor intelligence, nor money — it’s low expectations.” — Warren Buffet.
Recently someone told me that we get angry at people we genuinely care about and from whom we expect certain things. It made me wonder quite a bit as to why I get disappointed at times. Honestly, it makes sense that we do not bother about irrelevant people. Because why would the actions of someone you don’t care about matter to you?
As the opening quote makes it clear — having low expectations is perhaps the best way to avoid disappointment. If you think about it for a moment, you cannot be disappointed in others so long as you don’t expect anything in return from them. You see each other, say hi, do small talk, and go about your day. And for the longest time, I thought that was the way to do life, until very recently.
It occurred to me that maybe there is no one right way to do life. As I walked around the streets of Vienna in -2°C temperature last night, I realized that my disappointments and heartaches stem from expecting certain things from friends and family. When things do not go my way, I can feel the world crushing down on me, if for a brief moment. As I previously said, maybe the better way is to give up expectations altogether and vibe to life.
As much as I subscribed to that train of thought, I realized that maybe things are getting better as I age and not worse. If I do not hold expectations, I fear I will eventually grow tired of interacting with people, even those close to me. Having expectations keeps me excited — it makes me excited about going back to my friends and family. I derive the motivation to do meaningful things, and in the end, if I get disappointed now and then, that is okay.
Of course, having expectations is one thing, and conveying that to the people you care about is something else. It’s hard to tell people close to me what I expect of them without making it seem like I am being too restrictive on their liberties. I sometimes fear that their perceptions of me will change because I have certain expectations from them. I keep my thoughts to myself and hide my disappointment.
So, yes, I have expectations despite knowing I might get disappointed. In my view, it makes the experience called life much more meaningful before our decades run out. While dancing through the Vienna subway system to class (I had Sadi Gali blast through my ears, and I don’t know if you know this, but your body starts moving in rhythm as the train starts moving. It does not make sense, but it’s a vibe), I felt that I should begin to communicate my expectations to others.
Then there is the dilemma I discussed earlier — what if their perception of me changes, or worse, I drive them away? However, it occurred to me that I should be honest with them. Whether or not they listen to me is up to them. I would rather have them say no to me than expect something and be secretly disappointed. In this case, I know that my expectations probably are ridiculous to them, and over time we come to terms, and everything is a fabulous affair.
I have numerous dreams and intend to dedicate my best efforts to pursue them. Despite my supposed disappointments, I feel pretty content at this point in life. I am closer to mom; I can tell my sister, “I went through teenage myself, and I can understand what you are going through.” I am excited about going on dates instead of getting terrified. I am so happy about going on dates now. I get disappointed when they don’t happen for unforeseen reasons.
This chaotic life would never end, it seems. Whether in-person or virtually on an iPad 6000 km away, I get so excited to chat about random happenings in life and share a cup of coffee. An older man kept looking towards me on my last virtual date — maybe he was just amused to see a random boy smiling into a webcam and raising his coffee cup to God knows who.
Talking helps a lot, and more often than not, my friends would point out that this life-changing nightmare that I conjured is not all that bad, and things are good — people who care about me continue to do so. Of course, there are times when I feel, “Why can’t they just agree with me if I mean so much to them?” Honestly, that would be very boring.
I want my friends and family to tell me straight to my face when they think I’m cooking up irrational thoughts or holding unrealistic expectations. I have mastered the art of saying, “okay, we have disagreements, and that’s okay.” Unfortunately, I have yet to learn how to cope with getting hurt secretly. If you have any tips, please reply to this email, leave a comment, or send me an email. Thank you!
Maybe I’ll be a better person as the years go by. I wish someone had told me all these when I was growing up. My kids and grandkids are fortunate, however. Hopefully, these writings will survive many years after I am gone or become quite popular for as long as I am around. Imagine if one of my grandkids came up to me and said, “Chuchu, I read about expectations in one of your newsletters, you were (are?) so cute.” It would be some life, isn’t it?
Chuchu means dada ji or grandfather in my mother tongue.
You can find me elsewhere here. I also uploaded a few videos to my YouTube channel out of boredom. Please waste your time on them if you are bored. Here is the link to the channel. Thank you so much if you have read to this point. I appreciate you reading the random midnight thoughts of a chaotic 23-year-old. I hope you have a great week! Until next time. Bye! 👋
This is hands down so relatable to what I'm going through right now. Thank you, this was much needed!
You're welcome for the gyaan that inspires these write-ups. Cuetest chuchu you'll be.