COLUMN: Frost-ian expectations

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By Shannon Brock

Sometimes in life, it's better to have no expectations than to set your expectations high or low. But is it possible to have no — absolutely zero — expectations?

I think so.

As an 18 year old, setting my sights on college, I didn't know what to expect, so for the most part, I just didn't expect anything.

Coming home on breaks, relatives would always ask, "Is college what you expected it to be?"

My response was usually that I wasn't sure what I expected it to be like, so I didn't really have an answer.

Did I like it? Yes. Was I having fun? Yes. Was I learning? Of course. But having no expectations of what the college life would be like, I could be content with whatever came my way. And I was.

Maybe if I had expected college to be some awful experience, I would have been delightfully surprised that it wasn't so bad. But if I went in with those low expectations, maybe they would have colored my view of everything in a negative light.

If I had expected college to be this great, awesome place that I would never want to leave, maybe I would have been let down and even more disappointed than I was when it was over. Or, maybe I would have had an even better experience, setting my sights high.

But I think it worked out pretty well — for me — not having expectations that turned out to be unrealistic in one way or the other.

Inherently, I think I'm programmed to be a positive thinker. I'm always telling my mom not to be a Negative Nancy or a Pessimistic Pam, as may be the case.

And positive thinking is something I do on a regular basis and strongly encourage in others. But having no expectations is not necessarily a negative thing.

It's like waiting for that package or phone call that seems to never come when you expect it. If you keep thinking today will be the day, then you're disappointed when it isn't. If you stress that it won't arrive for one bad reason or another, you worry yourself so much before it gets there that you can't enjoy it when it does.

I had this theory that things always work themselves out. A professor of mine was quick to correct me: God always works things out.

Everything works out in the end. It always has. It always will. It may not always be easy, but if you're living and breathing, life has worked out for you and it will continue to go on.

So why not just enjoy what is. Don’t worry about what isn't or what could be. Be still, and live in the present.

Take life for what it is, come what may.

It's like Robert Frost once said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on."