Expectations vs. Reality (and the importance of both!)

Remember that scene in 500 Days of Summer where it’s a split screen and it shows Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character’s Expectations vs. Reality?























That’s basically every day for me. OK, that sounds bad - it's not like I'm super sad, drinking alone every day and disappointed the love of my life doesn't love me back. (yikes)

But I swear, every single night I go to bed vowing how PERFECT my day is going to be tomorrow. I have a plan. I have expectations.

THE PERFECT DAY
I am going to go to bed early so that I can get up early,
and then I am going to work out and I’m going to eat a well balanced breakfast,
and I’m going to prepare an unbelievably healthy lunch
and I’m going to allow time to blow-dry my hair and answer emails
and meditate and also write for a while,
and then I am going to get to work on time,
and I am not going to allow anyone to boss me around,
and I am not going to let the negative people bother me,
and I am going to focus on my projects and get them done in a timely manner instead of cheezing off and then freaking out that they are due right now for this meeting,
and I am going to take a full lunch break instead of working through lunch, and I'll eat my healthy lunch and not have dessert,
and maybe I’ll read my book or even a newspaper, to catch up on current events like a normal, cultured person,
and then in the afternoon I won’t snack at all,
and I’ll avoid the afternoon slump by taking a walk with a friend, not drinking coffee far too late,
and I won’t snap at anyone!
and I’ll leave on time and I’ll get home at the right time,
and my husband and I will make a delicious and nutritious dinner together,
and then I will be really productive for an hour or two and work on house projects that need to be done or personal projects or finally organize my photos or call my mother,
and I will not have a glass of wine, certainly not two,
and then I will watch one - just one! - episode of TV with my husband,
or maybe we’ll play a boardgame or do a puzzle! something to enlighten our minds!
and then we will go to bed early where we will read like adults and not play on our phones,
and then I will fall asleep by 11pm and get eight hours of sleep,
and it will be amazing.


I don’t need to detail the reality of what actually happens - you know it. Because you do it too! We live the reality! (Hint - at least two of those healthy meals go out the window, and probably half a bottle of wine is consumed. Oops!)

I think I need to adjust my expectations so that, if I achieve half of this perfect day, then THAT is a perfect day. I don’t want to stop striving for perfection cuz that’s what makes me a healthier, better person. But I also don’t want to make myself feel like a failure when reality creeps in and thwarts the perfection!


Because the reality is glorious, in its own way. It results in unexpected drinks with friends and free pastries from co-workers and mid-week concerts and margaritas at lunchtime and, you know, all the stuff we generally consider to be the reasons for living.

Even in 500 Days of Summer, JGL's character learns the excitement of unscheduled reality when Zooey Deschanel's character stays the night for the first time:


Talk about a happy dose of reality! 
(I want Hall & Oates to be the soundtrack to my life.)

So I'll keep setting my expectations, but I'll try to allow for that happy dose of reality - a happy dose of living - without feeling like I let myself down. 

You should too!