Expectations – Idle Thoughts

You know, I’m beginning to think I am starting to have expectations again. I don’t believe in those. The moment you have an expectation is the same moment in which you set yourself up for disappointment. Agree with me or don’t, I don’t really care either way, but let me ask you this: do you believe that this mindset leaves me bitter, sad and/or angry on a daily basis? I’ll give you the answer: it doesn’t. If that doesn’t make sense then that’s fine, but allow me to explain before you hold fast to your belief, either way, it swings.

An expectation is defined as a strong belief that something will happen. Typically, we expect that the sun will rise, we will wake, we will go on about our days, and then there will be a tomorrow with more of the same. Not the most glamorous description, but still true nonetheless. This is us expecting to live on a daily basis. There are very few reasons why we wouldn’t expect to wake up in the morning. Of course, not everything we expect is good. We all expect to die, we expect that most of us will have our hearts broken at least once, we even expect to get sick at some point in our lifetime. At least one of those things is guaranteed, but the rest of them are not. Due to our expectations, however, we begin to hold some of these things as a guarantee instead of a possibility.

Now I believe that whenever we expect something bad to happen and it doesn’t, there is always relief. It was a moment of stress you thought you had to face no matter what, and suddenly the entire incident is gone. Imaginary. There was nothing to worry about. It feels like a miracle and there is no greater feeling in the world. But the inverse? When something good we expect to happen does not? Well, all hell breaks loose. Our days go from great to terrible in an instant. Life is suddenly the most unfair force in the universe. Just to be clear, it always has been; it just never quite feels that way until things don’t go your way.

I’d like to clarify something now. When I say “something good,” I’m not referring to perfect birthday parties or even people keeping their promises. When I say good, I’m talking about basic things: that your car will start in the morning, that your shoes will stay tied the entire day. Things like the bus being on time or your significant other being in a good mood. These are good things that happen on a daily basis. Just because they have happened consistently without fail up to this point doesn’t mean that things won’t change tomorrow. We are all creatures of habit and history has a tendency to repeat itself, but things always going as planned or as expected is the exception, not the rule.

Keeping this in mind, imagine going through life with the expectation nothing you want to happen ever will, but everything you don’t want to happen is going to. As long as you don’t let despair settle into your soul, you will be fine. As long as you believe that you in control and capable of changing the things that are set in stone around to work in your favor, you will be fine. As long as you remember that sometimes the unexpected can be the most pleasant of surprises, then you will be fine. I don’t expect the world to be terrible. I just don’t expect it to be great. I get proven wrong each and every single day, and I am fine with that. It’s what I always hope for anyway.


Photo by Drew Colins on Unsplash

Blame – Idle Thoughts

Blame is a word I haven’t thought about in a long while. It’s a concept I haven’t thought about in a long while either, not in a traditional sense at least. When I think of blame, I imagine explicitly deferring a problem to a specific person. There is always something major that happened, but the fault lies with the person being blamed. It’s specific, it’s concrete, it’s in your face. With blame, there is the accuser and the accused, and at some point, the accuser will look the accused in eyes and tell them that they are the problem, regardless of whether it is true or not. Yeah, I’m above blame. I must be if I nearly forgot about the word, right? Of course not. It is never that simple.

Blame was prevalent back when I was younger. In those days, when something went wrong, we looked at who we thought (or who we wanted) to be the problem and pointed it out. Skipping school? It was Chester’s fault. Missed an assignment? My sister’s fault, she stole my pencils. Are you noticing something here? Blame is defined as the responsibility for a fault or wrong. All I did was assign that blame to something or someone else. That doesn’t work when you’re older. People defend themselves with alibis and histories of integrity. As adults, we don’t blame anymore. It is not a valid way to deal with problems that others will accept. Instead, we come up with excuses.

An excuse is defined as a reason or explanation to defend or justify a fault. So what does that mean? Excuses are just subtle ways to blame other people and things for our own mistakes. Excuses are blame laced with sympathy, relatability, and the idea that the entire ordeal was completely unavoidable. It’s crafty. It’s wrong sometimes, but it can feel good. I have definitely taken advantage of poor situations I have found myself in to develop reasonable excuses for inaction, and I’ll be the first to tell you if no one else has: it sucks. There is temporary relief and release, and sometimes a small part of it is necessary. But what about the people who had valid excuses that just didn’t seem believable? The excuses that weren’t relatable enough, or the excuses that just couldn’t elicit any sympathy? The valid excuses that have been reduced to simple blame for someone’s own selfish sake?

Those situations are unfortunate, and I don’t think I can do much to keep them from happening. What I can do is respect the incidents that truly leave individuals incapable of doing anything. I can do the only thing I know how: move forward. We all have excuses, that much we can agree on. But how many of those are real? How many of these excuses are just us blaming something or someone else for our own laziness? Trying to justify ourselves for the sake of our ego at the expense of our dreams. It is despicable, especially for the people who can’t, and they are often the ones who change their realities by doing the impossible. Even if the excuse is valid, who really cares? At the end of the day, you are only hurting yourself. At the end of the day, my excuses have only hurt me. So own them. Accept them. Release them. I’ll do the only thing I can do in the aftermath: move forward.


Mistakes – Idle Thoughts

Mistakes. I make them. You make them. There isn’t a single person that doesn’t make a mistake or two in their life. So why do we punish ourselves for the smallest bit of imperfection? Quitting new things altogether if we can’t catch on quick enough, or when we mess up the way people do when they try something new for the first time: always. There are exceptions to what we fuck up, but it is a rule that we will inevitably embarrass ourselves by botching something. Still, this is how we learn. Through error.

Do you remember being a child learning how to walk? Probably not, but maybe you’ve seen one try. Placing one stubby leg in front of the other, consistently and awkwardly until it falls flat on its ass. Right then and there most of us would give up. I mean obviously, it is stupid in this context. Maybe you’re thinking that you need to walk so, of course, you wouldn’t give up. But hasn’t there been so many other things that you have needed that you just decided to give up on? Maybe it was a person or a job. No, it’s never that. Those are just the means. It was yourself that you gave up on. You and your own happiness.

Don’t try to rationalize it now because you’ve already done that. You have already convinced yourself that happiness isn’t necessarily something you need, or at least it’s not worth fighting for if it isn’t easy. It might sound like I’m preaching, but honestly, these words are for myself. I get so stuck on how something is supposed to happen that I often forget to be grateful for the fact that it has happened at all. The walking? I’ve rationalized that there are people who can’t walk and they seem perfectly fine so maybe I just wasn’t meant to walk. Maybe this goal just wasn’t meant for me to reach.

I do believe there are some goals that we just aren’t meant to grasp because they give us purpose, let me be clear on that. But all of them? Each and every one unobtainable? Preposterous. So what if I can’t play the song without messing up every other note. So what if I don’t get first place in some competition. So what if I fall flat on my ass after trying to walk. If it wasn’t supposed to happen, I wouldn’t be filled with this immense desire to achieve this one goal.

Maybe things don’t always work out. But how would I know that if I wasn’t willing to fall flat on my ass? How many failures away am I from success? How many time have I ever actually failed? It’s all a learning experience anyway. Each time I fell I understood what not to do for the next time. I think as a society we’ve become so interested in the end result that we’ve forgotten just how important the journey is. It’s why I fell in love with learning in the first place. It wasn’t necessarily about the end result, although that was nice. It was about all the things I would discover on my way to some destination. I just have to be willing to get lost. I just have to be willing to fall.


Motivation… – Idle Thoughts

There’s this thing called motivation. Have you seen it? Because I have been looking for it for quite some time now. I hear motivation is a wonderful thing. It creates leaders and innovators, plus I think it would have helped me with that paper that was due last week. I still haven’t done it. I will, once I find the motivation to do so. I’m only joking. It wasn’t a paper I missed, at least not this time. Every week there seems to be something that my body lacks the wherewithal to complete. Homework. Poems. Proposals. Sleep. That last one is strange, but sometimes I even need the motivation to do that.

Thinking about it now, it’s never the major stuff that I need motivation for. It’s always the simple things like getting out of bed in the morning or finding the time for an overdue conversation. It isn’t that I don’t want to do these things, I do. It just never seems like the perfect time to do it. Each morning, I figure seven more minutes of my eyes closed will push my body to that point of being well rested. It never does. It doesn’t matter how many seven-minute increments of meditation I sleep through because my body isn’t the problem. The problem is in my head. The problem is that I want to get up, but getting up just isn’t that important to me.

Actually, that’s not right. To say that would mean getting out of a bad situation just isn’t that important to people. That simply isn’t true. The problem is that I want to get up, but the thought of the obstacles facing me after rising is sometimes enough to keep me down. I mean that in a literal sense, but it applies in all other cases. We need adversity to grow. Without it, life would be utterly boring and all achievements would be unsatisfactory. But simple adversity is not what the average person faces. We live in a world where we amass problems and wear them like badges, shouting to the world that we are human and we suffer too. We just forget to take those badges off. We forget that we are not the badges we wear, and as we continue to accumulate more issues they begin to wear us. And they begin to wear on us. They get to be so massive and so heavy that we don’t know how to function without them.

At some point, we realize we have too many problems that we are holding onto. It is around this time that we realize we are in over our heads, but we are too stubborn to admit that we need help and so we suffer. We become so heavy with the burdens we brandished because they created a sense of unity that we are no longer able to overcome them. At least, the abundance of issues makes us feel that way. It makes me think, “why bother?” Why bother when every achievement has as it’s reward another problem for me to overcome.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ll tell you why I search for my motivation. The reason I bother is because I remember a time before this where I felt happy. Whether it’s possible to get back to that place is another story.


Sabotage – Idle Thoughts

There are the things we know we should do, and then there are the things we do. Oftentimes, the things we do are not in alignment with what we should. I don’t mean to insinuate that everyone is a failure who can’t handle their own responsibilities. What I do mean is that we tend to sabotage ourselves when it comes to doing things that lead to happiness. Just think about that for a moment. We all have vices. These guilty pleasures do make us happy, but at a cost. We trade a different kind of happiness for this moment of escape, even if we only feel worse immediately afterward. Especially if we feel worse afterward….

Why do we as human beings continuously do that? Cashing out on simple pleasures when we know we will only feel worse in the morning. Risking a job for 5 more minutes of sleep; risking a relapse in celebration of breaking a bad habit; taking a big break for a little effort that you know amounts to nothing. It doesn’t matter how you justify it. If you feel the guilt riveting in your soul, then you understand what I’m talking about. Whether you care to admit it or not is another thing altogether.

I think it’s necessary though, that pain. It’s easy to get lost in short-term pleasures that abandon us in our times of need, but sacrificing everything for that one moment of joy is just as detrimental. All things in life require balance. Humans just aren’t that good at balancing things. We tend to operate at the most extreme ends at any cost, and it wears on us collectively. So many of us still have many dreams and desires that seem impossible because we refuse to change the way we think. We are cynical creatures, but we don’t have to be. I’m not saying believing that today will be better than yesterday will make it better, but it won’t make it worse. Sometimes we just need to remember that these moments will pass. Sometimes we need to remember that we aren’t these moments, no matter how much we believe it… And that’s okay.