What to Expect when You Expect

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Ah, the expectation. The leading cause of disappointment. The “root of all heartache.” The segway into unhappiness. And the sooner we recognize the reason for our disappointment, the sooner we can stop forming expectations.

And the sooner we realize how absurdly difficult that is.

That is something I’ve been trying to work on for a while now. It took me the longest time to realize why I was consistently disappointed experience after experience. In fact, it wasn’t until I came across the quote by William Shakespeare:

“Expectation is the root of all heartache”

And that’s when I took a good look at my life and evaluated why I was unhappy whenever I was. After that terrible first date, after a night of planning a great night, looking forward to going on a trip, a job interview, and so much more. If I had just expected absolutely nothing, I would have come out on the other end significantly happier.

When I think about the greatest experience in college that I will forever look back on, it was when a friend spontaneously called me up at 11pm and said “be ready in 15 minutes, we’re going out.” It gave me no time to form an expectation of what we were going to do, how it would play out, nothing. I just put on a cute dress and went out and had the time of my life. We didn’t get back home until 5am, and that was the greatest part.

Unfortunately, so many times after that I would think it would be like this and whenever it wasn’t I was dissappointed. But I suppose that’s not expectation more than it is a standard, which is a topic for another time.

So here’s my challenge (for myself and you as well if you want):

Part I: go into life experiences without expectations. Clear your mind of what it could/should be like. Next time you do something good for someone, don’t expect them to respond a certain way or even say thank you (I think we can all think of a time we did something nice, didn’t receive gratitude, and was upset as a result. Counterintuitive to doing something nice, isn’t it?). Next time you go on vacation, don’t expect to have fun, just have it when you’re there! (How often have vacation plans gotten ruined because of weather or time, or things are just not as fun as you thought they would be.)

Part II: STAY IN THE PRESENT. I know I’ve talked about this before in Staring Contests with my Cat, but it’s something I’m still working on and I find an application in nearly every part of my life, including this. I am always thinking about the past or the future. I said it once and I’ll say it again because I strive to remember this everyday:

When most of life’s precious time is spent looking back or forward, when do we ever stop to look around?

We need to stop forming expectations of the future or reminiscing about dissappointments and just live in the present. If all we do is form expectations or evaluate dissappointments, we are losing our precious moments of the present moment by moment. Worst of all, when we form expectations, we let them hinder our perception of the present; it may not be as good as we expected it to be, but it’s still pretty darn good!

For example, THIS is why Valentines Day sucks. All women everywhere excpect their boyfriend/husband/fiancé/everything in between to have some romantic evening planned out but it almost never meets our expectations (that have spent days maybe weeks developing). If we went into Valentine’s Day without any expectations at all and just lived in the moment, we would see that the men in our life actually love us and are very romantic. It’s not their fault women are more hopeless romantic than men (in most cases). To quote my favorite author Sophie Kinsella:

Sometimes I think in Hollywood technicolor and I have to remember that other people can’t hear the swooping violins

Here’s my progress so far, I recently went on a spontaneous trip to NYC with a couple friends. Yes, it was spontaneous, but on the 6 hour car ride up, I told myself I wouldn’t make any expectations about the trip (i.e. I slept the whole car ride :-D). There were things we wanted to do, like go to the Top of the Standard and eat soup dumplings, but I told myself I wouldn’t form expectations about either, or the rest of the trip for that matter.

So what happened? Well, we got to NYC and had to wait in the lobby for an hour and half until we finally got into our room at 4:30am. It was cold and rained the entire time we were there. The zipper on my one and only fancy dress ripped. I lost one of my favorite summer dresses.

And it was the best trip ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time! But I didn’t form any expectations that it would be this perfect, awesome, trip or make any mental images of me in a fabulous dress outside in the amazing NYC sun so when it ended up raining, gloomy and cold every day, I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m not trying to say it’s easy, in fact it’s near impossible to not form any expectations because we’re always thinking about the future. But I think the minute we can stop forming expectations and just live life moment to moment by staying in the present is when we can start finding true happiness in life.

Much Luv,
-Avi

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5 Ways to be Happier Right Now

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I have always considered myself to be a grade A optimist. But it wasn’t until the other night when I was talking to my roommate that I realized how necessary it is for everyone to be some level of optimistic. It truly is the way to see the world in a beautiful light, appreciate your surroundings, and has been my key to happiness.

So, I want to share some insight into the mind of an optimist. I hope that this post will bring you some happiness in turn.

1. See the Sunshine

Every morning when you wake up, look up at the sky. There are always gloomy, cloudy, rainy, foggy days. But no matter what, whether you see it or not, there is sunshine. Look past the clouds and grey and find the sunshine. Instant happiness! Use this to start your day and apply the same logic in anything life brings your way. I know it sounds corny, but try it tomorrow morning and you’ll see!

2. Make the “small things” BIG things

When you arrived at the crosswalk, did the light turn to walk (I LOVE when this happens!)? Or when you arrived at the automatic door, didn’t it just feel like the universe was saying “WELCOME!” (I love automatic doors)? I don’t know about you, but those don’t sound like “small things” to me. Those sound like wonderful ways the universe is saying have a nice day! Appreciate these moments and make them into big deals!

3. Cut out the Negative Nancy’s

We all have those people in our lives that suck the happiness out of us. No matter what they have to say it seems like something is always wrong with their lives. Or worse, the people that are always trying to pull you in one direction, make you feel bad or defensive, begging for your attention, and just don’t make us feel good inside (I call these people emotional manipulators). Get rid of these people. They have no space in your life! My dear friend, who is the sweetest person in the world, is somehow a magnet to these people. I had lunch with her the other day and she wouldn’t stop talking about one of her friends who had hurt her and it slowly turned into a swarm of all of the hurtful things this person did to her. I couldn’t believe there was someone out there sucking the happiness and cheer out of her. After about an hour and half, I looked at her square in the eye and said “you need to cut this girl out of your life.” She’s de-friended her, stopped responding to text messages and feels so much better now. Just remember:Surround yourself with people who love you because that’s what you deserve.

4. Pick up something you love
Whether its a camera, your running shoes, or even a good and trashy romance novel (Nora Roberts, anyone?), pick it up and get your happy fix. So often, myself included, we tell ourselves we don’t have time for these small pleasures because there’s something more important we need to do like work or school. But if we deprive ourselves of these small pleasures and surround ourselves with things that make our head hurt, when do we make time for happiness? Take a 15 minute break, do something you love, then go back to work. You’ll be in a much better mood and these “more important” things won’t be so bad.

5. SMILE
Ok has this ever happened to you: you spend an hour getting ready, doing your hair, your makeup everything. Then you look in the mirror and you’re like “what did I do wrong?” because you feel like you don’t look as great as you should? It happens to me all the time and it took me a while to find the reason. I wasn’t smiling! Add a smile to your makeup! It makes people wonder what you’re thinking, releases endorphins, and best of all, it makes you happy, even if you’re not happy inside! Try it. Now :-D!

I hope that if nothing else this post brought a smile to your face and a little happiness in your life. If so, I’m so happy to hear it.

If not, well, there is no if not. I’m an optimist, remember 😉

Much luv,
-Avi

Why I Shaved My Legs Today

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So today was just like any ordinary day. I was hanging out with my mom watching some good ol’ Food tv when the doorbell rang. We weren’t expecting company so I reluctantly opened the door to see who it was. It was some guy trying to see if we were interested in having his company take care of our lawn. I proceeded to tell him we already have someone who takes care of that for us but thanks anyway.

Then something weird happened.

We were no longer making eye contact. Now, as a 34D myself I’m no stranger to the phrase “eyes up here, sailor.” In fact, this guy was doing nothing to hide the fact that he was no longer making eye contact with me. AT ALL. But he wasn’t looking at my 34Ds.

He was looking at my legs.

Ok ok so my boyfriend has been out of town since last week so who am I trying to impress? Usually women who don’t shave for a couple days don’t have to worry too much. Umm, not me. I’m Indian. If I go 2 hours without shaving any traveling salesman within a 3 mile radius will be able to tell.

He wouldn’t stop rambling about this and that even after I told him we already have someone who maintains our lawn. But he probably didn’t hear me, he was mesmerized by the long hairy beasts beneath my shorts.

I finally had to cut him off. “UM NO THANK YOU BYE!” And shut the door on him.

But here’s what I want to know: why does social convention dictate that I need to take an extra 15 minutes a day in the shower to shave my legs when this guy can run around with two Yetis on his legs? I say 15 minutes because contrary to male belief it takes longer than a couple seconds to take care of it. I said “a day” because, well lets be honest, I’m Indian. Enough said.

Now I’m not a feminist by any means. But when it comes to things like this where society makes me do way more work than guys, it makes me mad! I’m lazy enough as it is. I don’t need lawn maintenance guys judging me and my lack of maintenance. But I still ran to my bathroom and used every Skintimate-Venus-Veet product under my bathroom sink to attempt to mask my embarrassment.

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I mean honestly, did this guy think he was going to gain a new customer with this approach? Or maybe he just couldn’t stop thinking forget the grass…

Much luv,
Avi