I happen to think that brunch is one of the best inventions ever! I’m not sure why, but sitting and chatting or relaxing with a book or the paper and having your breakfast spaced out over an hour or two is my idea of bliss. The other day, I went to one of my favourite places with a few friends. As I perused the menu trying to decide what I felt like, I was drawn to the buckwheat pancakes. I’m normally a poached-eggs-with-salmon-avocado-and-spinach type of girl, but I’d had these pancakes a while back and remembered how good they were! As we waited for our meals to arrive, I found myself really looking forward to these pancakes. They were served with organic seasonal fruit, coconut yoghurt and chia-berry jam. Yum!

When my breakfast arrived I remember being a bit disappointed. Last time I ordered them, they had the wow factor! They were stacked on top of each other with blueberries, mango, kiwi fruit and strawberries. This time they sat next to each other and were topped with banana (gross!), apple and strawberries. It still looked beautiful, but it was vastly different to what I had been preparing myself for. As I ate my breakfast and picked off the banana, I just kept thinking how they were not the same as last time (and how much I really wished they were).

As I walked back home after brunch I reflected on my experience that morning. I didn’t mean for it to turn into something deep and meaningful; I just wanted my pancakes to be consistent with what I’d had last time. It’s funny though, how sometimes the simplest experiences can trigger some of the biggest shift in our perspectives. My expectation of what I was getting ended up being quite different to what I got – and it affected how much I enjoyed my brunch. What would have happened if this was my first experience of the pancakes? Would I have enjoyed them more because I had no expectations?

The more I thought about this, the more I saw it cropping up in other areas of my life. How often do we get upset with our loved ones because they act in a way that doesn’t fit with our expectations? Let me give you an example. I’m the type of person that sends random texts and emails to my friends to check in on them, I post cards when someone receives good news and I remember anniversaries and special occasions. Recently, I began noticing that I was getting increasingly upset with a good friend of mine because ‘if I don’t contact her, I don’t hear from her’.

In a moment of stubbornness, I decided that I wasn’t going to send any more texts or emails. I was going to wait for her to contact me. Long story short, we went about 6 weeks without any communication. When we finally caught up, I went into this situation with a bit of chip-on-my-shoulder. I was annoyed that she hadn’t made any effort to check in and see how I was – an expectation that I had set for myself about friendship. As we were chatting, I found myself having an internal debate. Should I tell her how upset I was or do I just try and let it go? Then she said ‘You know what I love about our friendship? That we can go ages without seeing each other or talking and it’s like we pick straight back up where we left off’. Then it hit me. I realised that it wasn’t that she didn’t care; it was that our expectations of friendship were just very different. Neither one of us was wrong; we were just coming from different perspectives.

Perhaps you can relate to this example or have experienced something similar in another area of your life or work. Sometimes, we let our expectations cloud our experience and instead of being in the moment we end up complaining about why there is banana instead of just enjoying the strawberries. So next time you feel yourself getting a little more tense or frustrated, stop for a second and ask yourself why. Is it because of something that has actually happened or is it because what has happened didn’t match the version you created in your head. Once you start to become aware of this, you can let go of the self-made drama and just enjoy being in the moment.