When I think back to the past school year, the most stressful time period was not AP exam season, or finals season, or even cross country season. It was prom season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the way my prom turned out for the most part. Still, I get so stressed thinking about how much energy I put into finding an inexpensive dress, figuring out the transportation situation, and making sure my hair and makeup appointments didn’t overlap. All of the drama that came with these conflicts made me so anxious, and at some points I just wished we never even had a prom.
Everyone feels an insane amount of pressure to have the best night of their lives at prom because of the way it’s portrayed in the movies and the way our parents talk about it. It’s supposed to be a magical, romantic night that we’ll want to remember forever, right? Then how come I shed so many tears before it happened, shed a tear or two during, and was just relieved when it was over?
I don’t know what prom will look like next year, but I feel like I can safely say that the best nights of my life will never be the same nights as prom. I only say that because of how much pressure is put on that night. I felt like since I spent over 500 dollars all together, I HAD to have the best time. Obviously, anytime you know you HAVE to do something, it’s not going to be enjoyable.
Flash forward to this summer, I know what the best nights of my life look like. My best nights are when I’m sitting at home watching tv and all of a sudden, my friend texts me asking if I want to get ice cream. It’s when we go get that ice cream and have the best conversation, and all it costs me is a five dollar cup of delicious ice cream. There’s no pressure on those nights to be amazing because I didn’t expect anything extraordinary from that night in the first place, so my expectations are always exceeded.
My best friend and I were in the Poconos a few weeks ago, and one night after dinner we decided to walk down to the lake and listen to the live music outside a tavern. I didn’t expect anything magical from that night, but then the band started playing “Your Song” by Elton John, and I became the giddiest person on that whole lake. I realized how lucky I was that my family chose to go to this rather simple place because it meant I got to have such a special moment with such a special friend.
What I’m trying to say is that low expectations are the key. I’m a person who always has high hopes (shoutout to the Panic! song), and having low expectations is hard when I know something like prom is about to happen. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the simple nights and the lower expectations are a million times more fulfilling than the ones that are supposed to go down in history as the best ones. I guess this goes for everything in life. If you come into a date with low expectations, chances are you’ll have a much better time than if you make yourself feel like the date absolutely HAS to go well.
I’m excited for all that Senior year is about to bring, from the Disney trip to Graduation, but I know that getting over-excited for those occasions is poison. Getting over-excited only leaves you sad and nostalgic after-the-fact.
Instead, I’m hoping for many more sporadic ice cream dates. They might not be healthy for my tummy, but they sure make my heart smile.