Trade Your Expectations for Appreciation


Do you ever just need silence?
Sometimes I just need silence.
I can’t focus or create with people around me, moving, talking, making noise. I need silence.

So today I came to the library.
What better place to seek silence than a library. Right?

I have been sitting in the library right now, for 45 minutes, trying to write you guys the next post.
And here in the room there is me and one more person, who’s sitting at the very end of the room.
You would think this a perfect setting for silently writing a post. Right?
Wrong again.

Cause for the past 45 minutes I’ve been wanting to pull my hair out. (or my head scarf, Heaven forbid…).

And why do I so badly wish to pull out my hair? I mean head scarf… I mean, eye lashes? (Gotta come up with SOME type of hair!)
Because from the other end of the room is emerging the most ANNOYING noise I have heard in a WHILE…. A long while…. And I can’t think of anything else but making it stop!

I can’t see them clearly cause they’re facing the other way. But for 45 minutes I try and fail, to understand what could they POSSIBLY be doing that’s making such a disturbing, irritating, aggravating noise?

I stir in my seat and try to focus on writing this post, but I can’t. Each and every one of my brain cells is concentrating on solving one thing, and one thing only: finding the source of this noise.

And then, I figure it out.
The noise is coming from the person’s mouth.
You know what they are doing?
They are chewing gum.

They are making the LOUDEST cow masticating noises I have EVER heard someone make with a piece of gum.
I am not sure if they put the entire package of gum in their mouth, or if they have a tough piece of steak they’re trying to chew for 45 minutes. But nevertheless, this noise is SO loud that I can’t even remember my name. And I really REALLY need to write a post for this week.

I get angry: don’t they not know it’s expected of people in the library to be QUIET? It’s a library for goodness sake! Everyone knows that!

I start thinking: what to do Yaara? What to do? Think!
Aha! Options! Think of your options. There are always options, right?
Let’s see…

Option #1 – I could leave and work in a different place. Yes. I’ll do that!
But then I look at all my things sprawled out on the table: “ugh, pack up my computer and notebooks and try to get back in the zone of writing, and it’s almost 3 pm on a Friday” – Nah! Too much time and effort. Scratch that.

Option #2 – (and this is embarrassing, but it’s true…… it happened.…)
Type SO HARD that I make THEM leave the room!
Yes! Good idea! I start typing forcefully and furiously. Thumping on my keyboard as if I am trying to murder my B’s, R’s, T’s, and almost make my space bar fly out to the other side of the room.

But despite my hardest efforts at typing, they don’t leave, and I still hear the chewing.
I still..… hear…….the chewing……..
No. This is NOT a good solution.
I sit there, glossy eyes, looking out the window, defeated look on my face.
My mind is blank. No more solutions…
And then – out of nowhere, I remember something Tony Robbins said once.
“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant”.
But how can I appreciate this? It’s annoying and “wasting my work time” – Seriously. Is there ANY way this could be appreciated?
No. There is NOTHING to appreciate about someone’s loud masticating noises.
No, Yaara. Think harder. It’s a RULE. There is ALWAYS something to be appreciated about everything that happens.
I think hard, and after a few minutes I come up with a “creative” solution. Ok, maybe weird would be a better word than creative. But hey, it worked.

I imagine myself for a moment in a movie.
Have you ever seen a movie where it’s the end of the world and there’s only a handful of people left?
I think: What if right now, the world ended, and I was all alone, and I would never ever again in my ENTIRE life be able to see another human being?

I know, I know… You’re probably thinking: Yaara, your life is not a movie!
Well, what if I was in jail for 20 years? In solitary confinement? (for the purposes of not feeling like a criminal let’s just pretend it was someone who was wrongfully convicted)
What would I GIVE to be able to hear another human chewing?
What would I give to be allowed to have another human in the cell with me?
Slowly my shoulders drop, my tension leaves my body, and my breathing gradually returns to normal.
My thinking continues….
What if I was a grandmother who was alone in her home for 9 months because of Covid?
What if I wasn’t able to leave the house or interact or see a live human being day after day, week after week, month after month?
No human touch?
No close up look into another person’s eyes?
No laughing out loud together?
What would I give THEN to have another human chew loudly next to me while I was writing a post?
The world.
And in that instant, my whole world changes.
I understand now what they say – that reality is really about perception.
I can choose to be annoyed. Or I can choose to be grateful.
Grateful that I am in a world full of people. Grateful that once again the streets are filled and people are out of their homes.
How quickly we forget, huh?

Yes, sometimes my home is full of kids, and my husband works from home now, and rarely do I have the house to myself anymore… and in my library there are people who like to chew loudly.

But maybe instead of perceiving these things as “annoying”, I could start to appreciate them as reminders of beautiful humans I GET to be around. As reminders that most of the world isn’t on lock down anymore and the numbers of deaths have dramatically dropped. As reminders that if we look deeper, we can find the gift in ANYTHING.

By trading my expectations for appreciation I got 2 gifts today: 1 – a whole extra post to write about and share with you guys. And 2 – a life lesson about changing my reality by changing my perception.

So thank you “loud-chewing-person” for allowing me to see the hidden opportunity today. Although I don’t know you, I will forever remember you.

And good luck with that piece of gum! (or steak)

What in your life could you change in an instant if all you did was trade your expectation for appreciation?

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