Opinion: Managing expectations

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By now, the seasonal gifts have all been revealed. The ones repeatedly delayed in delivery have found their way to our doors, mostly intact. Holiday cards are presented upon the mantle for a week or two longer. Colleagues, neighbors and suppliers greeted us with smiles and the occasional tin of cookies as a token of their esteem and goodwill. Our waistlines have reached their peak with the promise of a better diet and more activity in the coming weeks to hasten the decline to our formerly aspired girth. Such is the story of every new year.

Still, the echo of the season doesn’t resonate the same with everyone. Some of us tore into our gifts to find them resplendent and abundant with an excess of all hopes, while others removed shiny printed paper only to discover meager rations and disappointment. We smiled politely and reassured the giver. Inside, we longed for more. Whether the Red Ryder BB gun, the end to the pandemic, victory in the ongoing and seemingly endless elections or a pretty little pony, we didn’t get what we wanted and are not happy about it.

And for those of us who found stockings filled with great plenty, we aren’t entirely satisfied, either. Sure, the toys are fun for a moment, until we notice that they aren’t quite as good as the commercials on television might suggest. Why doesn’t GI Joe’s “action grip” hands actually grip? Exactly when will we get the COVID-19 vaccine, and will it work for us? Does absolute political power make problems go away, or, if anything, does it only change the nature of them? The pony was fun on Christmas morning, but after bragging to our friends about getting one, well, not so much. Can you believe how expensive and full of you-know-what they are?


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