An expectation is a belief that is centered on the future. It is an inner analysis that we compute based on what we feel is most likely to happen in an uncertain situation, be it realistic or not. In a way, expectations are a way that we, as people, try to control our environment, but also expectations carry a whole load of baggage with them, as they certainly can give rise to emotions, good and bad.
As children, we grow through the expectations of other people. We are held to a certain bar that we strive to achieve. Sometimes it is achievable expectations, the bar had been set for you and for your demeanor. However, sometimes you learn that the bar set for you seems that it was set for someone else, a seemingly unrealistic goal or even worse, a goal set too low given your understanding and/or training that was set before that moment.
My Grandma always taught us that idle hands were the devil’s workshop, so I keep moving forward with projects, constantly trying to learn and better myself raising the bar, even when my direction doesn’t seem clear. Some of us leap, some of us fall flat on our face, some of us grab the bar, some of us don’t even try. Who is right? That is not for me to decide. All I know is that I want to be the one who rose above expectations, who took a leap of faith because I believed in myself. In this life that is all that I can control, myself. Maybe I will fall flat on my face a few times, maybe even with a few around me laughing (secretly hoping I will fail), but I can never pay attention to that. Breaking free of the expectations that you “think” others have of you is just the beginning. Sure, sometimes you may be right about what they “think”, but they are them and you are you. One of my favorite quotes is “you wouldn’t care so much about what people think about you, if you knew how little they did.”
With this in mind, I believe that the key ingredient to living a happy and healthy life is managing stress through realistic expectations of day to day challenges. For me, I just have to keep my focus on becoming a better person through achieving my own goals that I set for myself. Sure, my goals need to align at some point with the world at large, such as with expectations at work or home, but I believe that communication and agreement of clearly defined expectations is far more workable and achievable than attempting to maintain a perceived notion of what someone else wants. I mean everyone has either been the person or knows a person who was in a relationship, be it work or home life, where the lack of communication or direction made their life incredibly tense. Everyone wants to feel safe and in control of their destiny, but you throw some misdirection into the apple cart and things get messy fast and how do we view it as individuals? The answer is commitment… How committed is this “other” person to me, the cause, the company, the direction…?
The fact of the matter, all relationships are a negotiation of expectations, even our relationship with ourselves. We should start with ourselves first, become completely committed to our own health and happiness and I bet we will be shocked at where and who we will be with on the other side. Since I have raised my own bar, I know my life has been one surprising affirmation after another. What does this have to do with rice, actually a lot. Per one of my favorite cookery books The Cook’s Bible, “[Perfectly cooked rice] is a bit like marriage. What starts off as a rather simple concept develops into something quite complex, replete with unexpected developments and pleasant surprises.” Quite honestly, you want the individual grains to stand on their own, completely soaking in the flavors provided, without any hard qualities and without being so mushy and clingy that one grain can’t be separated from the next. And such is life, so stop reading this, go out into the world and enjoy your life as you see fit, and if you feel impassioned; cook yourself some rice today.
1 cup rice
2 cups stock
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp toasted dried onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Rinse the rice well, drain. In a medium size saucepan, add the rinsed rice and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with fork and serve.