I was always pretty romantic. I played with Barbie dolls and Barbie always married Ken, but I wasn’t romantic about the real boys in my life until puberty short circuited most rational thought. It’s the only way I can explain that delusional period affectionately referred to as the high school years.
I can still remember the anticipation I felt as I approached my first “adult” dance. Hey, I said I was delusional. I was sure that my eyes would meet a guy’s across the crowded room. He’d be drawn toward me, ask me to dance. I’d emit a breathy yes. And we’d dance.
What actually happened was a few couples danced. Most of us — male and female — hugged the walls eyeing each other with a mix of longing and distrust.
I had to have been massively delusional to believe the boys I’d gone to school with since first grade — boys I’d kicked in the shins at some point — would magically transform into suave at 14.
Ah, the curse of unrealized expectations.
They cause so many problems for us. I’m not sure why expectations creep into our relationships — and our holidays and/or celebrations — short circuiting common sense, blinding us to what we KNOW, what our eyes SEE.
Just because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, the people in our lives are not going to magically change into something they are not. If they were great at romantic gestures before the day, then you’re go to go with the dreaming of a magic day.
If they weren’t…you’re just better off expecting business as usual.
For instance, I can expect the hubs to know that my birthday is sometime in August. But he not only can’t seem to get the day right, he’s spread the misinformation around, so that I get birthday calls spread out over three days. It’s like the more he’s wrong, the more he panics as August approaches.
After nearly 39 years of marriage to the hubs, I’ve learned to moderate my expectations to reality. And to focus on what he does for me every day, rather than what he might forget on one day. Or three. If I invest too much into one “special” day, it is easy to miss the persistent acts of love that have been spread out over 13,915 days.
The special days that cause us pain, well, they are just days that we have assigned as specially important. We raise the profile ourselves. We set ourselves up for disappointment.
It is possible to adjust our expectations of those days, to bring down the pressure level so that they don’t become exercises in misery. If we keep the fiction to our novels, we stand a much better chance of surviving Valentine’s Day and possibly even enjoying it.
So, are you anticipating or dreading Valentine’s Day? You know that comments are entered into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket, which will definitely soothe those disappointed expectations. I announce the winner in the first blog post of the new month.
“. . . . a remarkable new talent . . Pauline Baird Jones and her hilarious novel [The Spy Who Kissed Me] make their debut. Written in first person, this adventurous romp is a 14 karat gem, and I for one would love to see more from this vastly amusing author.” Romantic Times (now RT Book Reviews)
The Spy Who Kissed Me is now available at most online bookstores!
Available in digital, audio and (used) print editions.