The Great Gatsby


I was so excited at the prospect of seeing the newly released Baz Luhrmann version of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale “The Great Gatsby”. The original release date was Boxing Day 2012 so I when I found out that it had been put back to May 2013, there was even more time for me to work myself up into a frenzied state of excitement.

  • Could I think of anyone better than Leonardo Dicaprio to play Gatsby – no I couldn’t
  • Was the soundtrack bound to be amazing – yes I’m sure it would be
  • Would the scenes be beautifully filmed – based on Moulin Rouge, I was convinced it was going to be absolutely magnificent.

And then I went to see the film. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and I thought some of it was beautiful. But it didn’t blow me away and I wanted to be blown away. I wanted to rave to my friends about how they really must see it. I wanted to tell them that if they only saw one film this year, Gatsby should be that film. But I couldn’t and frankly I was disappointed.

When I thought about it afterwards, I realised that some of my disappointment had perhaps been in my own hands or in fact in my own head. My expectations were huge.  I had placed enormous demands on this film and unrealistic expectations. No matter how good it had been, it was probably always likely to let me down. I thought about other times when I had high expectations of an event or of others or when I’d placed unreasonable expectations on myself. In those instances again, usually I’d been disappointed either in the event, in the other person or in myself which usually resulted in me beating myself up over not accomplishing what I wanted.

I know that I am not alone in this and yet why do we do it to ourselves? I’m not saying that you should stop looking forward to things – that would be just plain wrong. We all need things in our lives to look forward to and anticipate with a level of excitement but when it tips over the edge and becomes unrealistic, then we are potentially setting ourselves up for a fall. And when it comes to our own expectations of ourselves, again it’s good to set goals and to push ourselves, but there is a time also to be kind, to ease back a little and to say “it’s ok, I did what I could and that’s enough.”

As Eckhart Tolle says:

“In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.”

And Baz Luhrmann – thank you. You did your best and that’s enough.

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