Every year, for more or less than a week, I get what has been commonly termed as birthday blues. Usually, a combination of the realization that you’re getting older and that things are not as you thought they would be, expectations not being met and general disappointment.
Now, I like to think of myself as a happy person, I’m pretty positive and not sure if it’s a side effect of all my positivism or just my general stubbornness, but I always expect things to go a certain way. So on my birthdays, where I have been elaborately planning how everything should go for the last six months, when things don’t go according to the said plan, I get way more disappointed than I should, the worse part is that, repeating the same pattern year after year, I never learn.
Until this year, when I decided to vent it out (also, I don’t like to vent out my feelings) so when I did, it was a catharsis of the last few years’ worth emotions, and that person was clearly freaked out, but it felt good to get it out of my system. What he told me after, was a long explanation, that ended in the conclusion that one should not have any expectations. Easier said than done for people who overthink things a lot. But this year when I just told myself not to plan and to just see how it goes, surprisingly there was no disappointment or anger. I didn’t do much, but I enjoyed what I did. I also somehow came to terms with getting older, mostly because I did a lot of new things this year, changed a lot of old patterns and took as many crazy decisions as I could; some ended better than the others, but I hope I learn from this, not only to apply it on my birthdays, but to life in general.
Things would turn a lot differently if we gave up our expectations, from situations and people and just let things go. I relate to this story because this is something that has happened with me too. I detest birthday blues, and funnily enough have them every year. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with all the birthday attention. But I’ve given up expectations, just like the person who wrote this. We gain a lot when we lose expectations: a perspective, and a new found love for the people who make the effort to do something for us. I didn’t think a lot of people would wish me, but it felt really very special when I realized how some people took the time out to write me a message, and others who even called me at midnight. So, I think that I may have stopped expecting things from people, but I’ll never not be thankful for the things people do for me even when I’m not expecting them to.
So, easily, it is certain that letting go of expectations may turn out to do you more good than harm.
(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.)