Taming expectations is key to happiness

I eagerly pressed the button on the pancake machine at the hotel restaurant. A moment later, someone shattered my dreams of a delicious breakfast with the words, “It’s broken.”

I was in Daytona Beach Shores to help celebrate my Aunt Rita’s 96th birthday. The night before, as I was packing, I’d done a quick inventory of my expectations.

Did I hope to see newly hatched turtles on the beach, as I had two years ago? And a manatee on the shore, which had been another high point?

“No expectations,” I told myself sternly. “This way, you’ll be grateful for anything good that happens — instead of being disappointed because your hopes were dashed.”

Expectations can control our lives if we’re not careful. For example, I was recently scheduled to undergo a root canal which I dreaded with every ounce of my being.

You see, in the past, I’d endured horrific pain during this procedure. The memories flooded my consciousness, sending shivers of terror along my spine.

This time, though, I saw a new doctor, who probably detected my fear upon meeting me.

He gently explained the procedure and then supplied sufficient amounts of nitrous oxide. Before long, I was leaving the office, thinking, “Well, that wasn’t bad at all.”

As for the trip, the one expectation lurking in my mind was—you guessed it— the joys associated with pancake machines.

Oddly enough, I never eat pancakes at home, but there’s something irresistible about hitting a button, waiting a few minutes —and then watching flapjacks flop, hot and fragrant, upon your plate.

When this small dream dissolved, I chided myself for being disappointed.

“Come on, people are starving all over the world and you want instant…

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