For me, anticipation varies with the type of event it precedes. Take Christmas, for example. I find the anticipation more enjoyable than the celebration itself. I enjoy finding that perfect gift for someone, keeping secrets, hiding gifts, wrapping, decorating, trimming the tree and writing my annual Christmas poem. These all combine to make the event itself almost anticlimactic. Time begins to speed up as the holiday grows closer, and by Christmas Day, the presents are given and received, and anticipation lies discarded, along with the torn wrappings left in a pile on the floor.
Then there is vacation. I love anticipating vacation. When I was younger, my family would load up the station wagon and head out cross-country for two weeks. We traveled the country coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. We also visited Canada and Mexico. Sometime in February, when snow-covered the ground, we would decide where to travel and I would send for travel brochures from the states we would be visiting. While the winds howled outside, I would happily schedule our trips, planning each day’s itinerary. Then in June we would go shopping to buy our clothes for the trip – new bathing suits, shorts and tops, shoes and sandals. Unlike Christmas, however, time would slow down as vacation approached. There was school to finish – projects, papers, final exams. But finally the day would arrive and off we would go.
I still enjoy anticipating vacations, but now that I am older, I find that time in general seems to accelerate its speed constantly. This year my husband and I spent two weeks on a cruise of the British Isles/tour of London, and at times I cannot believe we were really there. Our first cruise seemed to go by so quickly, I promised myself I would take the time to pay attention on this one, try to slow time down and not let the days pass by so quickly – no luck. It went by in a flash.
Then there are the events I prefer not to anticipate like dental visits, colonoscopies, and mammograms. And somehow, these events roll around even faster than I could anticipate if I wanted to.
But, all in all, I find having something good to anticipate is important to my mental health. Whether it makes me giddy with excitement like Christmas or a cruise, or something simpler but equally important like an outing with friends or a visit from family, having something to look forward to gets us through the tough times, adds sunshine to a rainy day, keeps our spirits up when the cold winds are howling.. Life is what we make it, and anticipation keeps us engaged in life.
I can’t wait for Christmas.
Hey, Bill, have you booked that next cruise?