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Expect the Unexpected

There's no such thing as a wasted day


A man in hat, long-sleeved grew shirt, and dusty black trousers and shoes, smiling at the camera as he rakes up the ground to make a new flowerbed. Verdant growth behind him.
As far as Rob is concerned, a day in the garden at Evergreen is never wasted! He is making another flowerbed.

Is there such a thing as a wasted day?

 

Rob and I were standing in a car park across the road from Joy Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant in Fremantle where we were to have dinner, when I overheard a father say to his teenage son as they got into their car:

 

         ‘Well, what a waste of a day that was!’

 

As I winced at the frustrated slamming of his car door, I wondered what had caused him to say such a thing. The possible reasons were endless, and I’ll never know the answer, but it made me think about the concept of a wasted day, and ask myself if there is such a thing.

 

The word wasted in this context means that what he had planned to happen hadn’t. What unfolded hadn’t met or exceeded his expectations.

 

We’ve all had days like these: a picnic that is rained on; a menu that disappoints; a friend who fails to arrive at a prearranged spot; a car that won’t start; a job interview that ends with a handshake you know won’t be repeated; a flat bicycle tyre midway through a scenic uphill ride; a conversational gambit that misfires and leaves you standing alone in a dark corner at a party.


All the above events could prompt the exasperated comment: ‘What a waste of a day!’

 

But that is only because of our expectations. We always expect sunshine, food we like, punctual friends, reliable cars, successful interviews, unpuncturable bike tyres, and strangers to be captivated by our indubitable charisma.

 

We have a habit of expecting things and we’re disappointed when they don’t happen.

 

To expect something means to look forward to a particular outcome, or to regard something you desire as likely to happen.


To take a literary example, Darcy expected Elizabeth to accept his marriage proposal gratefully and demurely, not force him to listen to a tirade about his pride, arrogance, and total disregard for others, followed by a blighting refusal. I can almost hear him say under his breath, ‘What a waste of a day!’ as he exited the room.

 

Does this mean that it’s best not to expect anything?

 

Yes.


Expect the Unexpected

 

If you never expect a particular outcome, then you will never be disappointed. You won’t regard a day – or even a moment – as wasted.


Expect the unexpected and you'll never be disappointed!

 

And if you examine what happened in a day or a moment that you regarded as wasted, you will see that it wasn’t.

 

Lots of things happened. And if you examine them closely, you will realise that what happened had value.

 

The unknown man in the car park could look back on what he called a wasted day and realise that he'd been warmed by the sun and cooled by a westerly straight off the Indian Ocean, he’d eaten tasty fish and chips at that famous eating spot called Cicerello’s and shared a Sunday afternoon with his growing son.

 

So, next time you feel that time spent doing something was a waste of time, recall what else was happening while you were being denied your expectations.

 

Maybe, in the eternal scheme of things, the universe was whispering to you to enjoy the journey, rather than stressing out as you impatiently awaited the arrival of specific outcomes.

 

There is no such thing as a wasted day if you expect the unexpected!


A man in hat, long-sleeved grew shirt, and black dusty trousers and shoes, raking up th ground. Verdant growth behind him.
Rob still at work. Even if what he plans doesn't happen, something else equally interesting will.

With love, Marlane

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