“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde
Once upon a time, I was playing video games with my older brother at his place. It had been a long while since we played together. He was working hard raising his family and moving forward in his career goals. I had the opportunity to spend the night with him at his apartment. We wanted to play some games for the sake of old times.
It’s important to note that the Meldrum brothers are very competitive in their video game playing. There are four of us and we filled each controller port on our Nintendo consoles with pure gaming skill back in the 90s. Each of us still purchases video games today and enjoys them in our free time.
My brother was having a hard time playing against me that one night I came over to visit. The game was Soul Calibur II for the Nintendo GameCube, a fighting game where you beat the snot out of each other with giant swords. I can’t remember if he won any matches in that play session. He became openly upset when I would score a slew of hits on him and he couldn’t get me back. He argued that I obviously played the game so often that I had an unfair advantage. In truth, it had been more than a year since I played that game.
I didn’t want to upset my brother. I decided to go easy on him in the next match. I chose a fighter character I never had the opportunity to practice; Yoshimitsu, the crazy samurai guy. During the match, I randomly pressed buttons in the hopes of giving him an edge. Unfortunately, I accidently activated some of the character’s special moves. Yoshimitsu suddenly hopped onto the hilt of his samurai sword and started pogoing all over the stage. My brother tried to knock me out of it but couldn’t land a hit on me as I repeatedly stabbed him from above (in the game). He didn’t believe me when I told him it was an accident.
My brother had supposed we would trade equal blows with each other. He expected his time away from playing games would not hamper his level of skill. He didn’t expect me to be overwhelmingly awesome at an activity that I love.
Reactions to Expectations
I rarely see people react positively when their expectations are not realized. My brother became upset when things didn’t go as he expected on that one night. The possibility of him enjoying his experiences was dependent on events unfolding according to a set plan. How often do we make our plans with the intention of changing them as we go along?
I love it when my expectations are exceeded. I wouldn’t read Harry Potter for the longest time because I expected it to be too childish. Looking back, I’m glad I started reading them. And when The Dark Knight came out in theaters I was blown away. I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t know it was going to be that good.
The expectations we put on life either help us to enjoy it or despise it. Keeping our expectations either high or low is the balance we must discover to make life sweet or sour according to our liking.
The Value in You
The reason we put expectations on things is because that is how we measure the value of a thing. Thing is the best word I can use. Expectation can be placed on any one thing. People, places, events, and even inanimate objects have set expectations on them.
It’s common to expect puppies to be cute. So if one puppy is cute and another is not, then we attribute higher value to the puppy that met the expectation. Sorry ugly puppy. We expected a lot more from you.
Don’t confuse expecting with wanting. Those are two different things. Let us say you scheduled two musical performances for you to attend. The first one is your kid’s piano recital. The other is a performance from a professional musician. You want the same thing from both events; a good performance. However, your level of expectation for the skill of each performer is adjusted accordingly. You love them both, but you value each of them in a different way.
From whom we expect little, we think little of. Whom we think of most is whom we make the most of. We expect our leaders to be strong, our models to be good looking, and our heroes to be amazing. We expect losers and weak people to do nothing special. It’s not wrong to feel we deserve better things in life. Just remember that the Universe does not care if things go your way or not. You have no right to the things you think are not worth fighting for.
Affections and Affectations
What are reasonable expectations? I recognize that I will not always get what I want. And I can’t get excited about life without good things to look forward to. How does one go about finding a balance?
I wonder how kings get established. Does one guy just take any group of people and expect them to honor him? And then he expects everyone to honor his kid as the next ruler and his kid after him? How does one earn loyalty?
My friends and loved ones do not owe me anything. They have done so much on my behalf that I cannot repay them. I do not expect them to do anymore for me than what they have already done. However, I wouldn’t regard them as high value if I had low expectations for them.
I expect my best friends will keep their promises to me. I expect my family will take time now and then to let me know they are thinking about me. I value them all highly because I expect the best from them. I refuse to think poorly of them.
I do expect I will be spending Friday night alone. I expect the next one after that to be the same. I would rather spend them all with people who value me. I’ve been forced to lower my expectations so I don’t react too badly to the inevitable lonely nights. I’m not offended when my friends and family don’t do what I expect. No one has to change their plans for me. On the other hand, I’ve got little to brag about right now.
What Did You Expect?
Not much is expected from a guy diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Do you expect me to be smart? Do you expect me to be capable? I don’t have much value if all that is expected of me is failure.
I’ve never had a self-esteem problem. It’s more like an esteem problem. I remember one time my brother said to me that he couldn’t visualize in his mind me as a married man. I knew what he was trying to say, but it still hurt. I don’t know if my siblings expect great things of me these days. I know that they do care about and love me. That has to suffice for now. All of us need positive support from time to time. If I don’t expect to receive that support from one place, then I will find a new place.
I’ve been working on a series of novels ever since I was six years old. I can tell when people have high expectations for me because they will ask about my story ideas. The people who desire to see me happy know that I love sharing my ideas with them. I hope that is not a surprise to anyone.
We give more of ourselves to the things we value most. The path does not seem so long when a loved one waits at the end of the journey. You would choose to spend more time with a good friend than you would an acquaintance. And you would definitely pay more money to see Taylor Swift in concert than you would to see the Wiggles. Just saying.
If I have offended anyone with my ideas, then I wish for them to feel at peace soon. If they expect me to feel guilty, then they should expect to feel disappointment.