Friday, 5 August 2011

Great Expectations*

It’s been almost a month since I last wrote a blog entry. I had been trying to write weekly, but I got busy.  Not that it wasn’t on my mind; at the end of every week, I would lament the passing of another seven days without dumping a little pile of my ramblings into the cyber landfill that is the internet. If I didn’t share my musings with the virtual world, who would?

I realize that there are probably very few people, if any, besides myself who have come to expect regular blog postings of me. Any pressure I felt to get back on the blogging wagon came only from me (and my mother). However, this got me thinking about expectations.

Our world doesn’t generally accept singular accomplishments. As soon as someone has accomplished an admirable task, created a beautiful work of art, made an entertaining movie or written a riveting novel, there seems to be an immediate expectation that they follow up with another act of equal or greater impression. Do you ever hear the term “one hit wonder” used in the positive connotation? Other than….maybe Jesus, we rarely hear someone’s praises being sung** for doing one great thing, and never doing anything else of note ever again.

Once someone has impressed us, we beg them to do it again; to give us an encore presentation. However, if their second attempt doesn’t adequately move us, rather than applauding the actor’s courage to present themselves to the world once more, most of us are quick to mumble under our breaths that “they should have quit while they were ahead”. On the other hand, when someone does decide to call it quits while they’re at the top of their game, we tend to condemn them for hoarding their talent, and refusing to share it with the rest of the world.

The sign near my house.

By no means am I innocent in this case. I find myself criticizing accomplished individuals on a regular basis for either producing something of a quality I consider to be below them, or for not producing enough product altogether. For example, there is a business near my house with a marquee-style sign along the roadside. Every week they display a different message; usually witty proverbs that make me chuckle. For instance, one week the sign read, “where there’s a will…there are 157 family members”, or another week it read, “teenagers are hard to raise…especially in the morning”. I always look forward to driving past this business on Monday morning to see what they’ve come up with for their sign***. Last week, prior to the long weekend, I found myself a little disappointed with their sign posting, for what I considered to be a lack of creativity. The sign read “have a safe Civic Holiday weekend”. Why was I being so unappreciative? Rather than condemn this business for failing to make me laugh on my way to and from work for one week, why wasn’t I cutting them some slack, and thanking them for all of the other weeks that they had added some humour to my daily commute, at no cost to me?

A quote by Eli Khamarov**** explains why our first experience with something is often the best. He says, “The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations”.

*I haven’t read the Charles Dickens book, but it’s on my personal reading list.....but don't expect me to get around to reading it right away!

** Jesus’ praises really are sung by followers around the world, especially on Sunday mornings.

***Okay, they probably don’t come up with what they put on their sign. I’m guessing they get their content from the internet….or am I being cynical and not giving enough credit?

****I have no idea who Eli Khamarov is. I just Googled “expectation quotes”. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on the sign people ˆ.

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