Bloody well, right?

The moon rose already partially eclipsed, and it was quite red. I was mostly pleased, for I was not expecting it. This is what this post is about: Expectations.

It rose a bit behind schedule, but it was not its fault, for it had to overcome the high Tetakawi twin peaks.

However, when it came from behind the towering mountain, it was already well covered by earth’s shadow. And what surprised me the most was the fact that it was indeed red, as widely propagated on the media the days prior to the event. I quickly grabbed the camera and rushed to solid ground to snap some pictures. I rejoiced after each release of the shutter, looking at the bloody red moon at the small screen on the back of the camera.

Waiting for the shutter on another long-exposure picture, I started thinking of my joy, and the reason for it. As I read the news anticipating the lunar event, I always thought that the redness was a scientific exaggeration. Moreover, a few hours before sunset here in Sonora, I saw a picture on Facebook of the moon already partially eclipsed over Brazil, and it looked pretty pale as usual, further reinforcing my belief that it would not be red.

The fact is that I was not Expecting the moon to be red, and when it rose from behind the Tetakawi peaks red as it was, it surprised me with joy and satisfaction.

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The click of the shutter interrupted the chain of thoughts, and at that point I was feeling uncomfortable for realizing that my joy was mostly a trick of the Game of Expectations. Had I been expecting I bloody red moon, I would probably not be feeling as joyful, and might even be frustrated, depending on how red I was expecting it to be.

Expectations are deeply ingrained on all of us, and play a major role in our lives. Relationships are heavily influenced by Expectations. A large portion of the stock markets’ value is based off Expectations. Even jokes rely greatly on it for success.

In fact, I believe we at times tend to value Expectations even more than Utility itself (or, putting in a different way, many a time I have seen great Utility be tainted by the wrong Expectations). There is a special rush associated to an expectation being met, and even more so when it is surpassed.

My diatribe with Expectations is that it is not an absolute feeling. It is a moving target, and as such, prone to being heavily influenced. By oneself and by others. People who master the art of expectations management can take advantage of others. Another issue I have with it is that it is a rather passive feeling. One expects of something. It is transitive. Expectations throw a burden on who or whatever is expected of, many times releasing the “expectator” (pun intended) from accountability of the outcome. Finally, Expectations are addictive. And because it yields most of its “rush” when it is surpassed, it can very easily lead to a cycle where expectations are set, met, and then re-set at a higher level.

Speaking of Utility, there’s not much of it on this post, for Expectations are a trait we carry, and there isn’t much that can be done about it. It’s just my musings about it.

But, carrying on with the story, let me introduce another feeling which is often induced by bright moon light: Dreaming. Different from expectations Dreaming is a more absolute feeling. Dreams are nurtured rather than influenced, and they evolve and mature over time. Whereas expectations have to do with the ultimate extraction of utility out of something, Dreams often are related to building something else, new utility. Expectations are linear, Dreams are discontinuous. A leap. When wishes come true and dreams are fulfilled, beautiful things happen.

Needless to say, I much prefer Dreaming to Expecting. But, like everyone else, I dream and expect. And I am expected of by those around me. That’s how it is, can’t be changed, and I am fine with it.

And I am also aware. As I grow more mature, I wish to become more of a dreamer, and less of someone who expects a lot.

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