Great Expectations


It was dark and stormy outside. Tucked in bed I was, comfortable and warm …

…oh gosh! what a boring unoriginal start to a potentially brilliant post. Come to think of it, where else can storms happen – inside?

And of course it will be comfortable and warm if you’re tucked in bed. Such a pathetic way to pad up a sentence.

I’m a real grouch this morning. Got up from the wrong side of the bed? No! Got in from the wrong side of the bed. Didn’t get a good night’s sleep. While I’m in such a complaining mood, I might as well tell you about yesterday when it was dark and stormy outside.

Saturday, 10am. My 3rd free writing workshop. The previous two were sold out so you can expect I was expecting another full class. That’s where it started.

At the last minute, someone apologized sweetly that she won’t be able to make it. That’s the problem with free things. People forget that there’s still effort put in to make it happen. “No worries, I’ll get someone else to take your place”. 

Another message – “trains a bit slow, please start first”; “No worries, I understand” .

One other participant overslept – mum’s helping to get him out of bed. “No worries, we start first”.

Slightly disappointed that I’ve only half the class to start with, which is really just two persons. You see, it’s a small group so we can enjoy the writing experience with time to share and review each other’s works.

I was also anxious, not so much for me but for my friend Helen who took time off family and sleep to provide freshly brewed coffee for the morning, and also for the two ladies who turned up on time.

So rather than mopping about with anxiety and disappointment, I decided to do more with less. Started the workshop, got the new writers to feel at ease and plunge into our first activity. Then the 3rd participant arrived followed by the 4th. Finally with all on-board, we started our learning journey.

Alright. What’s the big deal about latecomers and no shows in this rather insignificant event of a grand total of 4 participants? This happens all the time. I should know better.

But it’s not about this event. It’s about all the expectations we have every day from people we love, people we have to work with, people who serve us, the community, the government, the world, nature and everything in our universe. Yes, its about every thing every day.

In our pursuit of personal ideals and high quality living crafted by commercial propaganda, we form great expectations and often get disappointed too quickly when things don’t happen our way and on time.

Reminds me of a party when the host with a painted smile seemed really upset at his 100-guest event just because one person did not attend, never mind the 99 people who showed up.

Took me a long time and a long walk to realize that contentment is not about what we can possess, but what we can achieve with what we are given.

Back to the workshop. I gave all I could during the two hours. We had a wonderful time – a hearty homemade breakfast from Peggy with great coffee from Helen, shared our personal anecdotes, made new friends and pleasantly surprised at our writing abilities.

By the time we said our goodbyes, the storm has blown over. The world is bright and clear again. So don’t let a little dark cloud stop us from having a great day, every day. Carpe diem!

Joan Yap


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