Wednesday. A day the sun forgot. Cold and grey with spluttering dank drizzle. A day when some bright spot was needed, and that bright spot was lunch. All morning I thought about the delicious panino and cappuccino that awaited one of my favourite Italian cafés. These are no ordinary panini, no unloved baguette filled with cheap cheese and synthetic meat. These are warm mouthfuls of crispy bread, olive oil, mozzarella and juicy tomato with just the right amount of saltiness from the cured ham. I could taste it before I crossed the threshold. I took a seat looking out the window, surrounded by suits and hipsters, and gave my order to the waitress without looking at a menu.
“I’m sorry. We have no panini; no bread left.” No! Dashed hopes and disappointment. “But I can make a sandwich with ordinary bread.” I sighed and agreed to second best, thoughts of warm loveliness receding. Then this arrived:
I began to think about expectation and disappointment. Some people ruin an experience by weighing it down with expectation before the event, thinking through every detail, only setting themselves up for disappointment when those expectations aren’t met. I sometimes fall into this category and when I do, I often think how much better off I’d be if I simply allowed events to unfold and somehow managed to redirect my brain when it starts to build imaginary pictures of what might be. Ultimately, it is not disappointment itself but how we deal with it that is important.
He doesn’t always get it right but I like what Alain de Botton has to say on it:
One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.