As we waited for the Supreme Court decision and as we wait for our bathroom to be done, I noticed a paradox in the way I see things and wait. When we started the bathroom, a few days late, I told Carole again how I just (she should) assume it’s going to take longer and cost more than the estimate. Then if it’s on time at expected cost, great! If not, we were psychically ready.
As she tried to engage me in plans for what to do with our union should the court decide against us, I refused to participate. I didn’t want to expend the energy in that negative direction unless I needed to. I was completely ready and sure, though, that the decisions would go against us. Then, if they didn’t, great! If they did, well, I expected it. I was prepared to try hard to live in the gratitude I have that this was even being considered.
Expectations are a popular topic at the AA meetings I attend. They are, we say, pre-planned resentments. I struggle with this at work, when I have to correct and instruct people in what they should do. It is my job to do that. If I fail to do it, I haven’t done my job, and I’ve let the clients down. Still I have different expectations for different people and I have to admit that I expect several of them to fail. That’s what they’ve done so far. Repeatedly.
So is it a failure to be optimistic? Is it being realistic? Cynical?
I’m happy with the results of my thinking in both instances I started with. The bathroom is taking longer but not costing more, so that’s a very good thing. I’m amazed by the court, and so heartened. I’m still afraid I may not live long enough to get married in my state.
Did I drink in part because I couldn’t deal with the realities of life and things not in my control? If so, I’ve learned a lot about adjusting my expectations and my attitude toward realities that are sometimes awful and often disagreeable. That brings me back to the old “you don’t have to like it to accept it.” These days I’m really striving to do both.