1 the act of looking forward; especially : pleasurable expectation
2 visualization of a future event or state
These are just a couple of the benign definitions of the word “anticipation”, the clinical version of the word. We learn from an early age to anticipate events in our lives, both good and bad. We start to look forward in life and not backward. Some indications you’re anticipating something special are universal. That sensation when you feel butterflies in your stomach, the feeling of being on pins and needles..unable to sit still without thought or movement, hoping that time will hurry and pass so that we can get to the “good” stuff, while at the same time praying that time will stand still…we all know the symptoms. I love to enjoy that time and find ways to heighten and savor the curve ahead of a special time. In doing so, when what I’ve been yearning for so intently is finally happening, it’s not merely good, but spectacular…memorable.
When we are young, we learn to look forward to special treats. Remember the feeling of waking up on a summer’s day and knowing that “sometime” during the course of the afternoon, the ice cream truck might make a trip through your neighborhood? You prepared for it. Made sure that you alerted Mom to the possibility that you’d need money at a moment’s notice. You stayed almost on point, listening for the bell that heralded it’s arrival. You looked forward when you were young to any special treat promised for good behavior. Vacations or trips were planned and before you ever loaded up the car to head out, there had been weeks of preparation and sleepless nights when you absolutely couldn’t wait to leave and get started on your adventure.
If we are really clever, as we get older and travel along life’s paths, we learn how to use anticipation to draw out the time prior to good events we know are upcoming. We use anticipation almost as foreplay in the days leading up to special times we hope to cherish and remember always. We think about what special unexpected things might happen. We ponder the variables that could either enhance or detract from our experience. We dream of what might be, both when we are awake and sleeping. The time seems to crawl, but by the same token…that in itself can be delicious in piquing the senses if done correctly. We anticipate…we feel fully alive. It’s exciting, it’s vital to life itself to look forward to things.
We look forward to our first love, our first kiss. We look forward (hopefully) to our wedding. The birth of our first child is a time of worry, joy and hope. Those feelings don’t diminish with all the children that follow, they are simply enhanced. We look forward to special vacations, to graduations. We anticipate with excitement and sometimes nervousness our new jobs, new relationships, anniversaries and the promise of a new home .
There are so many things, large and small, in life to look forward to and absolutely savor if we pay attention. So many events to anticipate if we don’t wish our lives away by hoping that the time we have flies by rather than enjoying the journey to get there. We need to learn to look at the paths we travel as part of the joy of living, even when times are hard. Those lessons in anticipating our future and the possibilities it holds are valuable as well.
Some of us remember when Carly Simon brought the word to life in a song. She gave it texture and locked it in our minds, it was a theme song for many teenagers and 20 somethings as to what our lives would hold. (Of course, this was BEFORE the song was forever linked to ketchup slowly oozing it’s way out to give us something thick and tasty to eat…hmmmm, cum to think of it, that IS a great imagery of anticipation! Never mind. *batting my eyes*) Okay, back to my basic point…learn to feel anticipation again.
There are no guarantees in life of how something will turn out, learn to look forward to the possibilities anyway. Keep that childlike magic alive of wanting and yearning for something that is to come so that you don’t grow old and stagnant in your life. Don’t over plan or try to regiment every detail of life as we tend to do as adults. Instead, try going with the flow and letting your dreams guide you. Take chances and go after the things that are important to you or rare in their occurrence without fear or second guessing. Even in these difficult times, trust your intuition.
LET yourself feel the butterflies. Be on pins and needles, laugh out loud or share secrets with someone. Beforehand, daydream and “feel” whatever you’re most looking forward to in your most private thoughts. Want it, need it, and embrace the special time before something special is about to happen, then enjoy the heck out of the actual event. Learn to live in the moment when you can…when the times allow for it, take a few chances. Let go and give yourself permission to reach out and grab what you need or want.
Take time for yourself. It’s vitally important for both mental and physical health, especially in these trying times.
I know I always will. It’s amazing how time really does fly and the events in life you look forward to, do indeed arrive. Spectacularly.
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasing after some finer day
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting
And I tell you how easy it is to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me.
But I rehearsed those words just late last night
When I was thinking about how right tonight might be
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting
And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know natures way
But I’ll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here
‘Cause these are the good old days.