An Ode to Low Expectations


A trophy with the words "Not Bad."
Tim Lahan

This text used to be printed on-line on February 15, 2021.

So there I used to be, gazing my mug of tea.

It used to be 1993. I used to be sitting over a plate of eggs in the Recent Piccadilly Café in Soho, London. Issues weren’t going smartly. As a person, as an particular person, as a unit of society, I used to be barely functioning. Extra acutely, I used to be having apprehension assaults, in an technology when of us didn’t but hiss “apprehension attack.” They goal correct stated Oh, dear. As some distance as I used to be troubled, I used to be going insane.

I took a despairing slurp from my mug, then assign it support down. As I did so, the facet of my hand touched the Formica tabletop, and I felt the horny heat from the establish the mug had been resting a 2nd sooner than. Or, more precisely, I registered it. By my deepest cerebral drizzle—the continuous, pleasure-canceling brain-rain that used to be my mental actuality at the time—I considerable it: energy, life, jiggling molecules, the realm. A message from the fire of generosity at the heart of the universe. And the message used to be this: One day, you’ll be in a establish to merely savor what’s in entrance of you. The tea, the café, London, the little lens of heat on the table. One day, this might possibly be sufficient.

Are trying for excellence, by all plot. My God, please strive for excellence. Excellence on my own will haul us out of the hogwash. But decrease the bar, and withhold it low, by plot of your individual attachment to the realm. Gratification? Pleasure? Having your needs met? Fool’s gold. Whenever you happen to might possibly perhaps also rep a buzz of animal cheer from the rubbishy sandwich you’re eating, the daft movie you’re gazing, the extremely sophisticated person you’re talking to, you’re in business. And when misfortune comes, you’ll be fitter for it.

“Actuality is B-plus,” says my buddy Carlo. I’d doubtlessly give it an A-minus, however I purchase his level. “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things,” wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins. But there also lives the dearest shoddiness. We’re half of-done down here, continuously constructing and collapsing, rigging up this and that, dropped hammers and flapping tarps in all places. Revise your expectations downward. Extend forgiveness to your fool company; lengthen forgiveness to your fool self. Invent it a apply. Attain to rest in actual fact.



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