This morning as I drove to work, excitement flowed through my veins. Sounds like I had a new workout routine, but actually it was the relief that today I didn’t have to look for street parking. At my school, we have a nearly non-existent parking lot. So, most of the employees scour the streets looking for available curb space between resident vehicles and trash receptacles.
Not being a morning person, I do not arrive an hour and a half before the 8:00 bell to begin my day. So, for this sluggish morning person, I was heady with expectation, knowing that for once I didn’t have to worry about parking because I was awarded the favor of parking in the special, reserved spot this week. Because of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, my days in the parking lot were already one shorter than the average work week, but I just reminded myself that I wouldn’t need a place to park on Monday anyway and tried to look on the bright side.
So, as I gleefully pulled into the parking lot, the warm expectation pulsing through my veins turned to ice water in a split second when I noticed that it looked like someone was parking in the reserved spot. Incredulous that this could actually be happening, I pulled through the lot to confirm that someone else had indeed parked in the spot that was supposed to have been reserved for me. Crushed expectations can really impact a day or a year or a decade or two.
Needless to say, it took a little while to readjust. Not only were my regular curbside spots taken, but the streets were already so crowded that I had to park on a neighboring street. Frustration and utter disappointment cannot begin to express how I felt.
I work with a wonderful group of people and I know the person who parked in my spot did not do it maliciously. In fact, there is not a person on my staff that I believe would deprive another of the special spot on purpose. Someone just didn’t get the memo. It wasn’t personal on either side, but I it still meant unmet expectation and disappointment.
Sure. Just get over it. Easy. But, wow. Not so fast! Wouldn’t that have been nice if it had ended there.
The person who parked in my spot was quickly cannibalized by other staff members for parking in the reserved spot, so the car was soon moved. During my lunch, I noticed the spot was vacant. Thinking there was no time like the present, I decided to drive my car around the block and into my spot-for-the-not-quite-a-week. Only, and you know what is coming, it was taken again. However, the (new) person who had parked in the spot was still at the car and graciously moved the vehicle so I could pull in.
And I was grateful.
Tomorrow when I drive to school, I will do so with adjusted expectations. I have much bigger expectations for myself, my friends, my family, my students and my colleagues than I focused on today. And if I keep my big expectations clearly in mind, then where I park cannot again make or break my day.