Things in life often happen not the way we expect.
Our plans are disrupted. Our expectations are disillusioned.
The same happened to me while I was travelling the Azores this summer. It is a magical island full of treasures to discover, so naturally, there were many expectations. And as always in life, things went wrong.
On our first day, my sister and I failed to drive the car up a steep road, caused a huge traffic jam and needed to rely on the help of locals (who are, luckily, very friendly).
On the second day, my sister turned pale on the boat of a whale watching tour, fainted and scared both me and the other participants to death. To top it all off, we had a car accident on the third day.
This is only to name a few major things that did not go the way we planned it.
These things happen. The question is: What do we do with those things? And can we prepare for them? Avoid them?
Can we be ready for the unexpected?
From a logical point of view: No. Because it would not be the unexpected if we expected it, right? And it’s no use walking around with a negative attitude, expecting mischiefs around every corner.
But I’d argue that there are two sides of one coin: expecting everything to go smoothly and the way you planned it, and expecting everything to be a catastrophe. What we need to do is hold this coin in a constant balance.
The art of balancing the coin
Our human nature easily falls into extremes: raising our expectations to the maximum because we look forward to things, or painting a negative picture because EVERYTHING is doomed.
The art of being content is balancing our feelings in-between these extremes, and being open to everything life throws at us.
Just don’t make a drama out of it.
Unfortunately, humans are often born drama queens. Fight the urge to dramatize, and instead, make it a dramedy. See the comical things in life, take experiences as something you’ve learned from, and move on. Especially when travelling.
Because as soon as we adopted this mindset, the vacation developed to be something amazing. I loved the greens of this island, we took gorgeous pictures, visited breathtaking sights, and were swimming with wild dolphins in the open sea, which was unlike anything I had experienced before.
Life is beautiful, but sometimes there is a bittersweet note to it. Sometimes it mocks us, tests us, and is full of irony. The skill we need to develop is looking at the big picture and seeing what is really important in life: our relationships, our health, and the way we influence the world around us.
If we are focused on those things, we are prepared for the unexpected. Because those small (and sometimes major) things will never throw us out of balance.
A travelling note: I LOVED Sao Miguel!
This is an island for the scenery seekers, surfers and adventurers.