Nov 4, 2013

Great Expectations

I don't know about you, but I'm not very skilled at managing my expectations.  Too many times I build events up in my mind, count down the days, spend far too long planning and imagining the fun times ahead, only to be let down when The Big Day isn't everything I dreamed it would be.

I'm just home from a weekend in Melbourne, fulfilling a lifelong desire to attend one of Australia's major race days.  And I was very much afraid that this would not live up to my lofty expectations, built over many, many years and escalated over the past months. Until now it's not been possible to get away for the spring racing carnival but this year we HAD TO be there...there being Flemington racecourse for Victoria Derby Day.  Or, as it became known in our family, Epic Saga Day.

This all came about when our two sons, along with four of their cousins, decided to buy a small share in a racehorse.  These boys grew up close together, still catch up at family gatherings, but between Christmases were drifting apart as they moved into careers, relationships, travel, new locations, new friendships, new interests. They didn't want this drift to continue and decided to be proactive.  They focussed on one common interest: hence, their share in a horse named Epic Saga.

Not only has the venture consolidated the friendship but, as the horse showed promising form through the spring, more and more family members and friends jumped on the bandwagon. (To hear us talk, one would think we all owned a piece of the epic one!) This all culminated in him taking his place in the select field for the Victoria Derby on Saturday. And we HAD TO be there to watch him race.

Despite the epic build-up and my ginormous expectations, my day at the races was everything I'd imagined and more.  I loved the buildup, the dressing up, being part of the colour (mainly black and white, the Derby Day tradition) and the huge crowd, loved seeing the magnificent horses up close, and loved cheering the big red horse as he thundered out of the barriers and gave us one of the greatest thrills of our life.

It turned out that he wasn't able to carry the weight of a jockey AND the expectations of all our family and friends but that didn't matter.  What mattered was friendships consolidated, family brought together, an experience shared.

It turned out that on this occasion my expectations were not only met but totally exceeded.

How are you with managing expectations?  Do you build things up too much only to be let down...or do you keep a lid on them so you can enjoy the occasion no matter what happens?

Edited to meet expectations:


  1. Hey Bron c- that sounds like a totally awesome day and I love that pic of all the male cousins together. its nice to see close male friendships.
    I really think you should have posted a pic of you in your black and white outfit though!
    Expectations...I've had a few.... :-) Like you I try to be realistic but I don't know how successful I am. I think its human nature to be hopeful?
    Or maybe that's just the romance writer in me :-)

  2. Bron, what a lovely post? Like Amy, I appreciate that pic of all the cousins. It's so often women in the family who keep links alive so it's great to see your boys taking this into their own hands. Yes, where is the photo of you in black and white?

    I kept nodding as I read your post. I have a terrible habit of planning things or possibly over planning them and anticipating things so that when they don't go as scheduled it's disappointing. Having said that I've noticed in recent years that I'm getting more laid back about some of it, and it's marvellous. It's great when you reach a stage when you've planned what you can and then just focus on the moment whatever it brings.

  3. You sound as if you had the most wonderful Victoria Derby Day imaginable, Bron. Thanks for letting us live the thrill vicariously.

    I'm sure my expectations are high, but for all the big things -- overseas holidays, wedding day -- they've been met. It's those smaller things -- the dinner where one was looking forward to catching up with friends, the family BBQ or an anticipated bus trip -- which sometimes seem to fall flat. Mind you, a sense of humour is invaluable in such times. ;-)

  4. Hi Bron

    Loved the pictures of the cousins as well and what a great day you all must have had Hubby is off to Randwick races tomorrow with our son and his father in law I am sure they are going to have a great time and his expectations will be to come home winning and maybe shout me dinner after I have to work on one of the busiest days I have at work :)

    Yes I am the same I often build things up and they just don't get to where I had expected but then other things have turned out awesome when I have thought they would have been just OK you can never tell

    Have Fun

    And good luck to everyone who has a bet or a sweep tomorrow

  5. Sounds like a magnificent day, Bron. Well my expectations were built when you mentioned you were all dressed up and then dashed when no photo of you was forthcoming!! I want to see your black & white outfit.

  6. Oh, gosh, I didn't even think of posting a photo of me in my race-day finery. I'll see what I can find! (And too funny about not meeting yr expectations of posting that picture, LOL. You know I'm all about the horses!)

    I'm really proud of the boys' keenness in keeping their connection/friendship strong. And they all looked so suave in their suits, although the jackets came off rather quickly (it was hot!) The sixth cousin was in Morocco last weekend although I believe he listened to the race on-line. At 4am in the morning.

    Helen, I've made my picks for the Cup and am looking forward to cheering them home...although I don't have much of a record of picking the winner. And this year's Cup is especially tough.

  7. I think we need some Bron tips for the big day tomorrow so we can all have a flutter!

    1. Ha. I am not the person to ask for Melbourne Cup tips. Especially this year, when there are so many real chances. I have had a trifecta boxing six horses. And I just signed up for Bookthingo's reader sweep, because I do love a Cup sweep!

  8. Oh and thanks for the pic - gorgeous as always!

  9. Hey Bron, the menfolk look dashing and you look gorgeous in your Cup outfit. As to expectations, I used to expect the worst, retrained myself to expect the best and then had to train myself to handle disappointment. LOL! It doesn't totally quash the Pollyanna in me but it sure does dent the outside a little from time to time.

  10. Very sensible approach, Yvonne, because we don't want to quash that Pollyanna and not experience any of the joy of anticipation. It's all about balance, isn't it?

  11. Bron, I just love that your boys and their cousins have been close, and that they'd want to be proactive about keeping that closeness. What great guys!

  12. Bron, how exciting for your boys to have a horse running in the Spring Carnival! There's something about that added level of interest that makes a trip to the races pretty special. (Family friends had a part-share in a horse and I went to watch it run a few times. Great bloodlines apparently but not much good on the track - she went on to be a broodmare.)

    Anyway, it's so lovely that owning the horse is forging an extra bond between your sons and their cousin!

    Maybe you'll be back next year for an Epic Saga run!