As a child I loved to walk the woods of our family property. Not knowing the term “introvert” at the time, I simply knew I felt better there.
This love of being among the trees carries with me today. I noticed once the state entered “lockdown” in 2020 more and more people and vehicles at the state parks that I frequented. This led me to adjust my park of choice to some county park trails where I would be less likely to see people. I like people yet going into the woods has often been my solitary peace and quiet time.
As I made way to Spruce Hill, a local county park, for the second day in a row on Saturday, imagine my surprise to see a parking lot nearly half full of cars. I instantly felt disappointed, and then chastised myself for thinking so selfishly.
Why was I disappointed when I saw the cars in the parking lot? I entered that parking lot with an expectation. A feeling of disappointment arises from the unmet expectations.
I choose what to expect. I could have entered the parking lot with no expectation, or simply the thought that I get to enjoy the park with my dog.
What awakens disappointment in you? Whether it happens in seemingly meaningless or meaningful moments, it results from believing things should be different than they are.
Who decides what to expect? I choose my thoughts and expectations. I chose to expect a quiet morning without people, and truth be told, for the most part I enjoyed a quiet morning encountering just a few people.
Conflict arises within ourselves or between people when expectations are not met. What do you expect of yourself and others? Do you have the same expectations for everyone, or hold some to a higher standard?
In the grand scheme of life, I understand the minuteness of seeing people at a public park. Seeing people at a park sounds perfectly normal. Yet, I let myself feel that disappointment for just a few seconds. I noticed my thinking and chose to change it.
By the time I encountered folks on the trail, I could sincerely smile and say, “hello.”
What are your expectations? What impact do they have on your thoughts and actions? Would you choose the same expectations next week or next year?