Great Expectations

Around this time last year I was looking for a pair of new Converse, Chuck Taylors to be exact. I had developed a bit of a reputation for wearing plain black Chucks with writing on the white toe area.

My last pair of black shoes had the Billy Joel lyric, “We are always what our situations hand us.” written on them. A lot of people spent a lot of time asking me what it meant, and I characteristically acted as if they should already know and explained to the best of my ability what someone else’s (brilliant) words meant to me. What it came down to is this:

We take whatever is going on in our lives, whether good or bad, and hope it will go a certain way. I will go as far as to say we expect our lives or situations to turn out the way we hope just because we have hoped so much.

I’m learning more and more you have to actually do things before you can start expecting any kind of reaction from the universe in the first place, and even then it may not be what you saw on the edge.

Luckily, life is a tricky feller and there’s always the gray area. No matter how much we tell ourselves things will or should be one way or the other, sometimes there is very little you can do to stop it from happening. Denying the gray area and driving yourself crazy about why something is happening will only, well, drive you crazy.

We are always what our situations hand us. You are the catalyst. When you stand inside the gray and throw your hands up in the air, do so with a direction.

So, as I was saying, around this time last year I was looking for new Chuck Taylors. Instead of my usual plain black, I went for a festive multi-colored star pattern. They matched everything, people liked them. On the tips, I wrote the U2 lyric, “Vision over visibility.” The ability to see something working before it happens.

I was embarking on a year of change and my expectations were sky high for things to go my way. Boy, did things change. This year has been full of things outside of my control. No amount of pushing, insisting, or pleading with the universe made anything go my way. As a result, I spent a lot of time questioning myself and my direction. Every decision I made became cautious. Now, the year is over and I have minimal progress on all my projects. Every year is supposed to be the year.

I was looking for new Chuck Taylors again the other week. I couldn’t find my multi-stars but the old black shoes were right there. Looking for a way to return to my easy-going self, this seemed like the right decision. Oh, but, what’s this? Leather, black Chuck Taylors, you say? Sold.

It has taken me the better part of a year to figure out I didn’t need to embellish my expectations with flashes of color. There should have been a lasting shine of motivation where there had been idle dreaming of the stars. All I needed was a classier upgrade to an old, familiar identifier.

I won’t be writing on the tips of these Chucks, but I will be returning to an old practice of quietly doing my best and letting the path unfurl. Not that I need my shoes or any thing at all to identify myself, but having an outward reminder on the products getting me along helps me remember my center every day.

In this new year, let’s all stop trying to expect our expectations into our realities. Let’s put our best foot forward into our efforts and let the future take us for a ride as smooth as leather.

Lauren Mack
St. Augustine

Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News contributed photograph by Lauren Mack

Share your thoughts with our readers >>