Our circumstances answer to our expectations and the demand of our natures.
Henry David Thoreau
So Mom and Dad came back from their trip to Vilnius, Lithuania, where they celebrated her 60th birthday. Naturally, I was eager to know how they’d spent the actual birthday, because I know that Mom wanted to do something special even though she didn’t want to throw a party back home.
During the beginning of their trip, she’d managed to spot a beautiful restaurant for her birthday dinner. It was apparently a bit of a walk away from their hotel, but since my Mom and Dad tend to walk everywhere when they’re on holiday, it was not a problem, as they knew the way there.
Then it started snowing. Like, blizzard snowing. And it was impossible to hail a cab. They kept on walking for a while, but then the snowfall got so heavy they literally couldn’t see where they were going. As they weren’t dressed for a polar expedition, they decided to abandon their original plan and go to the next restaurant that came up.
My Dad is not really one to complain about food. The most negative comment he’d say of food he doesn’t like is “well, I’m not quite sure”. So when Dad said the food in the restaurant they ended up in was dismal, and that he could have made a better pizza himself – he never cooks, ever – you know he’s being serious.
Mom’s birthday dinner, then, ended up being a bad pizza in a Lithuanian corner restaurant. Not what she’d expected, I’m sure.
Fortunately, they did find a lovely restaurant right next to the hotel for their lunch next day – a riverside view and delicious food. It was unanimous that this lunch was the celebration, not the actual birthday dinner itself.
A moral to the story?
In one of my previous relationships, we’d always end up having the worst anniversaries. Both of us were expecting a lot from the day. More specifically, we were both expecting that the other person make the day special without our own effort. We’d end up eating noodles on the couch and sulking, or even having dinner at a restaurant and sulking, because the whole day was somehow “wrong”.
The problem was that we were expecting a lot from the day but we weren’t really prepared to a) talk about our expectations or b) put in the effort ahead of time. Furthermore, we were c) convinced that if the day doesn’t play out like we expected, it’s ruined.
Yesterday, as we were talking about the birthday dinner fiasco, Mom mentioned that of course they could’ve booked a cab to pick them up from the hotel and waited for the cab inside, warm and cosy. They just hadn’t thought of it. Or they could’ve gone straight to the beautiful restaurant next to the hotel, had they just looked at the city guide earlier on.
Despite falling for mistakes a) and b), they fortunately didn’t fall for c). Rather, they let the dismal dining experience slide and decided to restore the situation as best they could the next day.
Mom did have the choice of throwing a fit and spending the rest of their trip sulking in the hotel room because things didn’t go according to her expectations. She chose not to. To me, that’s awesome.
Have a wonderful weekend, and until we meet again – keep catching your own insightings!