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Puppy bath. Or managing expectations.

Photo by Garidy Sanders on Unsplash

Picture this: it’s a beautiful day outside, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the clouds are...

clouding. You’re sitting on a pristine lawn enjoying your paradise when a dozen fluffy puppies run your way and topple you over, adding another layer of perfection to your perfect day. They tickle you and shower you with adorable puppy kisses. You heart melts a little as you enjoy their unconditional love and show of affection.

Sounds pretty amazing, huh? For reasons I won’t go into, I had the opportunity to have my puppy bath fantasy come to life recently, and let me just say, the reality was nowhere near my imaginings… Not all the puppies showered me with unconditional love for starters, most of them didn’t really care since they didn’t actually know me. One very enthusiastic puppy kept biting me; not cute harmless nibbles- sharp biting. Then one puppy pooped quite close to my head. A couple others peed nearby. Soon, the whole area started to smell like a puppy toilet. Add to that the strong smell of dog food they had brought along with them and the stifling room (not vast meadow) I was in, and I started to get a bit nauseous. All in all, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

My smelly ordeal made me think of our expectations and how they are so often quite far from what we get. Sometimes for the worse, others, happily, for the better. We can build things up in our head so much, that whatever the reality, it’ll never live up to what we expected, leading to quite a lot of disappointment (puppy bath being the case in point). Others, we expect so little, that we are pleasantly surprised when it turns out to be even slightly better than what we had hoped for (that dreadful office party you were only going to because you had to, and ended up having a fabulous time). In the best cases, our high expectations are surpassed by that something amazing (that dance piece you saw which you were already excited for, but then took your breath away).

What would life be without any expectations? Would we be disappointed less often? Would everything be a pleasant surprise? Or would we just be numb to all new experiences? Sometimes, I make a point not to watch the trailer for whatever movie I’m going to watch, and base it merely on the subject matter. Does it always turn out to be a masterpiece? No. But I might be more likely to enjoy it for what it is, rather than dislike it for what I expected it to be.

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