The Lemon Babies – Expectations vs. reality

When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like ‘Whaaat?’
Phil Dunphy

It often happens in life that we don’t exactly get what we want. Just recently, we received our fair share of ‘lemonade’ while on an adventure in Austria. This shared experience let us rethink how we relate to external factors that are out of our control.

After long hours in the online and offline space dialling in on Piece of Plate’s mission, we decided to celebrate our effort thus far. So, we went on a trip! Honouring the intention of a retreat our choice was to discover some of the hiking trails in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. We were hungry for breaking out of the urban grind by spending time together in nature. As follows, we envisioned four beautiful sunny spring days outdoors.

Reality check

Had our expectations met reality then we would have gotten just that. Instead, let us paint a picture of what actually happened. Bad weather, nearly a landslide, cuts and bruises, a couple of tears, but mostly lots of laughs. After the first day, with a massive fail of going off track leading to a number of challenges (which are funny as hell, but way too long to unpack in a blog post) we were confronted with the realisation that this trip was not going according to plan.

Instead of continuing our hikes in the sun, we were now locked in front of the fireplace in our cozy little house, tending to wounds while the rain was pouring outside. One can’t help but feel frustrated when making efforts yet receiving the exact opposite of what one had hoped for. It can feel disheartening to jump to the ‘what ifs’. All those beautiful mountains waiting to be climbed and the rain just keeps on falling. In freaking May.

Getting out of your own way

Our minds are experts at finding shortcuts to trap us into victim mentality and legitimise thinking how much certain situations suck. Good news is that we can condition our minds to flip the switch and gain a healthy amount of perspective. Thus, after the initial ‘what a bummer’ moment we pushed back, put our rain coats and boots on and faced our reality. We ended up with considerably less mileage, but vastly new experiences after hiking in snow, rain and off predefined trails. Did the journey go according to plans? Hell no. Did we learn and grow as happy hikers? Absolutely. Has our friendship gotten stronger? You bet!

Jokes aside, this post is not meant to be a rant about bad weather or bad luck. It doesn’t get lost on us how privileged we are to be able to explore, travel, live and love freely. We are glad to be calling that elephant in the room. This trip together let us reflect on a deeper issue that comes back every day in all of our lives. It’s about dropping our expectations and making the best of situations regardless of things we can’t control. Bouncing back and enjoying the process is a choice each of us are given. It’s certainly not easy-breezy, and we don’t claim to always get it right. What does help us is showing up and investing in people that make us better.

Here’s to many more “surreal but nice” adventures with the Lemon Babies! Cue: Notting Hill.