27 February 2014 10:00
The new year is always accompanied by new hopes and a desire to do things differently.
We set expecations about what we want to improve.
It's human nature to want to do things better and take up new activites. But how realistic and how healthy is it to want change?
There is a constant drive in society to improve our quality of life.  Just look at coffee.  I'm old enough to remember when the only place to get coffee was either at a restaurant or at home - where we were happy with instant coffee.  Now, my father struggles to get any barrista to understand what he wants when he asks for a "coffee with milk"!

If you look at re-runs of television programs from the 1990's, only a generation ago, you'll think that they look amateur compared to today's standard.  But at the time they were at the pinnacle of TV production.  But we had different expectations.
Look at what was acceptable behaviour in the work place in the 1990's compared to the OH&S and HR legislation in place now.  We look back at those years like we were barbarians.
There's a perception that childrens exams are getting easier and universities are having to dumb-down courses because of falling standards.  But talk to any parent who's helped their child with their homework and you'll hear them say that the work their kids are doing now is higher than the work they were doing at school at the same level.
Human nature is to aim for perfection - to continually challenge and improve ourslelves.  

What sems to have happened though with this desire is that our choices have become almost limitless.  When I moved to Australia I struggled to buy milk.  We had 3 choices in the UK when I left - full cream, semi-skimmed or skimmed.  Each supermarket in Australia stocks about 40 types of milk and it took me a good while to work out which one was the semi-skimmed.  And with that comes choice.  
There is hope for the future.  It is right to expect the future to be better.  What we have to learn to do is accept life for the delight that it is when things don't turn out exactly as we'd planned, not for what it should have been.

My father still only wants a coffee with milk though!

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