I went to my first renaissance fair this past weekend, a small newer fair that just completed its fourth year. It was a lot of fun — there were combat demonstrations, an archery contest, food trucks, handmade items, a mermaid and so much more. We spoke with a variety of vendors and touched finely crafted practice swords. I even had my first Scottish Egg.
Yet as we left the fair, four hours after arriving, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. Yes, I had had a great day. The weather was perfect. The people were friendly. The good was tasty and the demonstrations were informative. That being said, I had been expecting more. In my mind, I was going to be out of place by dressing in jean shorts and a sweatshirt. In my mind, I was going to be immersed in a culture that I would not be able to experience elsewhere. I had been expecting a theme park and was underwhelmed by the demonstrations that supplemented a craft fair, something that wasn’t really fair to the event (again it was fun and I had a great time).
Expectations are complicated and it doesn’t help matters that people often compare things to exceeding or failing to meet them. Is it possible to have realistic expectations? Can someone be truly open-minded whilst having expectations?
As I prepare myself to DM for a friendly game of Dungeons and Dragons, I find myself grappling with these questions. What are my expectations for the game? Will my players feel as though I’ve met their expectations as a DM? Will I exceed them? How does one compensate for expectations and how they are often unrealistic.
Over the past view weeks, I’ve been aggressively working towards the completion of The Loopy Ewe’s first camp challenge of the year. The challenge for the month of June (besides requiring that the project uses more than 400 yards): Since 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, pick a pattern that was published in 2019 for your first project — A pretty reasonable feat considering how many new patterns have been published that I’ve been head over heels for. Thinking that my SO was heading to graduate school for the entire month, I opted to attempt to make an entire DK weight sweater in the month of June. In this case, my expectations of myself were reasonable. I finished with several days to spare and didn’t let the process completely consume my life.
Enter July’s challenge: The challenge is to knit a pattern from one of the designer “stars” on Ravelry. Any designer who has three or more pages of patterns listed on Ravelry gets into the “star” category for this challenge (They are prolific stars!). This challenge failed to meet my expectations, why not challenge us to find a “rising star”? Why push us towards patterns that we’ve probably knit before? Not to mention every time I thought I had a good idea I couldn’t find the right color or amount in the shop, but that’s a different type of frustrating. Despite this, I feel as though I can still meet my expectation of completing a project over 400 yards in July. Especially considering the project is about half of the size of June’s.
So are expectations bad? I don’t think so, especially when you use them to drive yourself towards a goal. Other times, I think you need to check your expectations at the door and be willing to run with the punches, sometimes the things you weren’t expecting are just as good as the ones you were.