The interesting thing about expectations is that if you change them, your whole attitude shifts as well.

I was talking with a friend today about Phoenix. We both know people who complain that it is a ‘pit’ and an ugly, hot, annoying place. My first thought when people start to ramble on about this is “if you don’t like it so much, why don’t you move?” But if I ask them that, there are inevitable a million excuses: job, house, friends, blah blah blah. Maybe it ain’t so bad after all?

I like it here. Sure, it’s ridiculously hot, but whenever I start to think about complaining, I remember Chicago and I forget all my complaints. I remember perspective and adjust my expectations. Chicago is bitterly cold in the winter, has narrow, claustrophobic streets with double parkers, dangerous potholes and lunatic drivers. It’s a major hassle to go anywhere pretty much anytime of the day or night. I love it here with the wide, breathable streets and predictable and not terribly treacherous rush hours. As well, it’s a quick ride to escape the city into the beautiful desert and get away from any annoyances.

I suppose I could have adjusted my expectations more while living in Chicago to make it likable to me. I tried that for a while and we had a decent relationship, but ultimately, I wasn’t happy there. I had adjusted as much as I could and it still wasn’t working for me.  I could have sucked it up and stayed. I had a good job and a beautiful house. On paper my life was decent. But too often it was frustrating and ultimately, it wasn’t satisfying. I know life can be better than just ‘decent’. And that’s when it was time to leave.

Maybe this isn’t a very good example of my opening sentence. But it wasn’t meant to be a blanket statement. Sometimes simply adjusting your expectations does do the trick. For example: you are preparing for a work party and assume it’ll be boring. Well, if you go into it with that attitude, it probably will be. There is a level of self-fulfilling prophecy here. If you get ready for the party and expect that you will have some interesting conversations, you might end the evening on a pleasant note after having had some enjoyable discussions with coworkers.

I don’t know. It’s 1:14 in the morning and I just got home from a party.
I didn’t know what to expect and I had a really good time.

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