One time at a Thai restaurant I got a fortune cookie that advised: “Keep your expectations reasonable.” At the time I made a joke about it but I’ve eaten hundreds of fortune cookies and that is the only fortune I remember because it is only one that ever made me mad. I drove home from that dinner very angry with the cookie who reminded me that I already was keeping my expectations ridiculously reasonable, to the point that I was content with getting by: I had a job that was good enough, an apartment where the best feature was its price and if I ever dreamed of bigger and better things I certainly kept it to myself. The cookie said to stay reasonable and I took that to mean I should aim low and try to not get hurt. By the standards I had set I was successful and safe but never very happy.
Several years ago I examined my standards for success and I wasn’t pleased with what I saw. I was being held back by my own low expectations for myself and what I was capable of. I began to make changes, tentatively at first, but slowly I began moving forward, gaining confidence and finally expecting more of myself. I began want more out of life and more importantly doing the work to get it. While this change was happening I was mostly keeping it to myself, sure I had dreams but nobody had to know it.
The first big test of my new and improved life happened when I met a girl named Nina. I knew right away that Nina was special and I wanted her to be a part of my life but had no expectation they would feel the same way. Still, I was so committed to doing things differently that I took a chance and if you know me you know how things turned out (if you don’t know me I’ll fill you in at the end).
Since that time I’ve pushed myself even harder to live a life beyond reasonable expectations and in every way my life is better today than it was when I got that stupid fortune cookie. As a result I’m doing things I never expected to be doing and I’m happier today than I’ve ever been in my life. I plan to keep reaching and working for more but for this particular day I’m treating myself to something special. On the table beside me there is a passport and a boarding pass for a flight to Sweden with my name on them. For the first time in my life I am taking a trip overseas. I’m very excited because this is something I used to think I could never do.
Of course I won’t be traveling alone, Nina is coming with me. At some point over the Atlantic Ocean the clock will strike midnight and the date will be May 10th. When this happens Nina and I will have been married for four years. Of all of the ways my life has changed, the best part of my life today is having someone I can live out my dreams with.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a flight to catch. See you soon.