Consequently, as I continue to add to my compendium of the pointless or risible bucket-list suggestions of others, which is known in these parts as 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die, it is the work of a moment to consider worthy of inclusion the proposal found on A Backpackers Tale website to
Expect magic in each moment.
By magic I think we can rule out some fast-talking, dinner-jacketed smoothie who deftly shuffles a pack of cards in one hand whilst relieving you of your watch with the other. In this context it surely denotes an element of wonder, joyful surprise and a keen pleasure in some unforeseen turn of events. There is nothing wrong with hoping for something special, sure, but I would like to muse for a while on the word "expect".
We all assume the sun will rise tomorrow. We base this on the experience of the human race since time immemorial and on upon scientific understanding of the nature of stars. The probability of a sunrise is so enormously high that we can safely base our entire existence upon it. This is a good use of the word "expect". Another is that a train, already visible to us on our smartphone app as having left a nearby station, will shortly arrive in beautiful Ruislip to permit some quality commuting.
We may also expect there to be rain later in the day; this is never certain especially here in the UK where a highly complex weather system makes precise predictions hard. For this reason forecasters will often give a probability to their forecasts.
Expectation is borne out of experience and knowledge. If we have none, then we have no basis to predict anything. The cliche "expect the unexpected" is singularly unhelpful; we may be able to imagine all sorts of outcomes but we cannot expect anything until we have something to go on.
On these grounds, since "magic" is something utterly out of the ordinary, it is pretty damn unreasonable to try to expect it at all, never mind in each moment. We may glimpse it in the face of a loved one, or in a child giggling helplessly at at something we find quite ordinary, we may shiver with pleasure at a multi-coloured sunset over a sweeping landscape or tingle with the last bars of a stirring piece of music; all of these things are, probably, what our good backpacking friends intended to be denoted as magical and all of them are special precisely because they are are rare and arise only in special circumstances. Were we to expect them to occur in each and every moment we would be sorely and continually disappointed.
I contend that only the deluded would expect magic in each moment. The intelligent and rational expect the ordinary - that whatever happens will be roughly in line with the probability of it happening, that magical moments will occur infrequently and often unpredictably and that it is precisely this rarity that makes them special, worth savouring at the time and memorable ever after.
Thus I have no intention of expecting anything other than the normal. I may cherish the hope of the special, of course, but hope and expectation are different animals and should not be confused. I hope that you will be enthralled and delighted by this series of anti-bucket-list themes but I do not expect it.