Aug 7, 2014  •  In Personal, Travel

High Expectations [The Perils of an Overactive Imagination]

I have never liked going to “tourist-y” attractions when traveling.

I know this is the cool thing to do these days — to seek out the less popular, hidden gems when vacationing — but I have always been like this, even from a young age.

And the reason for this aversion? Disappointment.

The Mona Lisa. The Eiffel Tower. The Sistine Chapel. Starry Night. The Parthenon. The Pantheon. The Colosseum. The Statue of Liberty. Notre Dame Cathedral. The Blue Domed Church in Santorini. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Last Supper. Saint Peter’s Basilica. Capitol Hill. The Louvre. The Palace of Versailles. Niagara Falls. The Grand Canyon. The Trevi Fountain. The Statue of David.

And so on and so forth.

Never have I been impressed and/or surprised by visiting these famous landmarks, works of art, or structures in person. Because in my mind — fueled by my love of reading and colorful imagination — they were always so much better. More grandiose, more colorful, more intricate, more impressive

In other words, I expected more.


I couldn’t help but be reminded of this personality quirk (flaw?) when I read “Lowering Expectations Is Key to Happiness” earlier this week. According to the article, researchers at the University College London discovered that feeling happy does not depend on how things are going, but how they are going relative to expectations.

Which completely makes sense, when you think about it!

Perhaps this is why I tend to stray more to the negative side of spectrum when it comes to general life satisfaction? Because I imagine, and thus expect, all aspects of my life — whether it be relationships, parenting, career — to be better?

It’s funny, because my overactive imagination doesn’t automatically turn to the worst-case scenario. Rather, I tend to conjure up elaborate, more-than-ideal situations and outcomes. So perhaps I will continue to be disappointed more than pleased…but stay an optimist.

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One Response to “High Expectations [The Perils of an Overactive Imagination]”

  1. J Lee says:

    I can totally relate to this. Anticipation can exacerbate any expectations at all. This is why I’ve learned to not dwell or think too much about such events as vacation or any surprises. Makes sense!

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