“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”
― Stephen W. Hawking
I write this post on a plane from LA to Maui. Naturally thoughts concerning the vacation have crossed my mind every now and again—but not frequently. I think that is so for two reasons: (1) I travel a lot so this is not unique, and (2) I really have no grandiose expectations of Hawaii. I have been there several times. At 70 years old come Monday the 16th, the idea of showing my body in swimming trunks next to a pool is not very appealing, the laid back Hawaiian persona is not as attractive as it once was, I have no interest in Hawaiian shows, boat trips, or not even that much interest in snorkeling—which once was a grand joy.
Why Go on a Trip You Don’t Care About?
So, why, I’m sure you ask am I going to Hawaii for vacation? Easy. Pam and I are very busy with our work and commitments. This trip required minimal planning, it is only ten days, and the cost is reasonable—Pam is great at “finding deals!” The wedding of our son Austin and his ever so delightful fiancée Maggie, seems to consume enough time and energy to prevent delving into the details of planning the kind of trip we might usually take—Japan or Europe or even southeast Asia.
Last week, a friend asked if I was excited to go on this trip. He was surprised when I responded with, “No, I’m just going and I’ll wait to see how it turns out.” I have almost no expectations so the adventure can only get better. Since I expect little, something enchanting will be a pleasant surprise.
The Wonder of “Wait and See”
And then that go me thinking: what if we approached life in more of a “wait and see” mode instead of always expecting or hoping that whatever it is we are doing will be great? “Great” is a most difficult expectation to meet. But when we are only simply expect some type of “experience” it is much more difficult to be disappointed because the experience we expect is not laden with hopes or desires.
Your life can be full. It can be pleasant. It can be great or… not so great. Nevertheless, it can still be full once you understand the power of fully embracing the present moment. Things like riding on an airplane and observing people, watching movies, reading or writing, or chatting with my wife as she attempts to connect with Wifi in the sky. (Nightmare.) Hahaha. Just another travel story to tell.
So, I do look forward to this trip after all. Perhaps more than any other to Hawaii because I look for nothing, expect little, and accept whatever may come my way.
Surprise Comes When You Least Expect It
Photo courtesy of MichaelJust at istockphoto