Appreciation for Anticipation
Don't miss the view.
Just getting there misses an important point.
What have you got planned?
What do you have planned for the near future? What trip or goal do you have planned that you are anticipating? What are you going to attempt to do that you are a little nervous about? What has got you a little anxious just thinking about how it is going to go? What new place are you going to visit? Which old familiars are you going to see for the first time in forever? Is there a new job or position coming up just over the horizon? What goal have you set for yourself that you might just not make on the first try?
Before we get to far into the subject at hand let me just tell you of an ordinary hero. My son is getting ready for kindergarten which starts in August. Now that takes some real courage! We can help get him get ready. We can create in our home a positive attitude about it. We can hide our anxiety so he does not feed off of that. But at one point he will take that step all alone and there will be at that point a no return. No matter what has gone before all things will be different and he sure knows it.
Well is that all there is? Is that first day of school the first and the last time we have or are going to try something where the outcome is forever and not at all sure. There is a popular term floating around out there these days; “game changer”. I like it. To me it conjures up something unforeseen that comes out of left field that tilts the balance of likely outcomes. It suggests either an injury to a player or a player stepping up and making a difference. Of course here we are dealing with that second player having “the game of their life”, you.
Well friends and foes there is one thing certain in this world, you cannot win the game unless you play it! And more importantly, it is a lot more fun playing than watching.
You just cannot prepare well enough for one of these little ones to come into your life.
Get those juices flowing.
To really get that lifeblood flowing you have got to plan for and then engage in an activity that carries some risk. Recovery comes to mind. Recovery from anything. Facing a set back and planning and carrying through on the road back. Will you succeed or fail? Taking up a new adventure, from writing a book to climbing a mountain. Plan for it, anticipate it and prepare for it. Let your expectations soar and get into that giddy excitement, be alive. Now don’t get your tightie whities in a bunch I am not saying live for the future. I am not saying to not live in the now. But make the now something about the future.
All this talk is coming from a guy who has spent most of his life poopooing preparation. But a funny thing happened on my way to the grave, I got older first. I can no longer just throw on a pair of skis and ski 8 hours a day for three in a row. I can no longer just empty my bank account to run off on some far flung adventure in a foreign land with no return ticket. And I for sure cannot just go hike 20 miles with a 50 pound pack without preparing.
But another funny thing happened just recently. I started enjoying getting ready. About 3 years ago while travelling to the trailhead of a backcountry expedition I was bemoaning how hard it was to get in shape for such excursions. My much senior buddy got a good chuckle out of what I was saying. I needed a change in attitude. It was high time I started enjoying the “getting ready” portion of our adventures or I was going to be a miserable old man. For the first time in life I was faced with the fact that it would take some work to stay young enough to do what I wanted, and that takes hard work and preparation so I might as well get positive about it.
When I gave this some hard thought I realized that in fact I had been doing a lot of preparing in my life, I just did not look at it that way. I spent 20 good years in school. It never hit me that that was in preparation for life. I was going to school and getting as much out of it as I could. It never once occurred to me that whole time that I was preparing for the future.
A couple of months ago my little family of three travelled across the ocean to visit my wife’s family and hometown in Southeast Asia. Well my darling bride planned and prepared for that trip for a good half a year. What was amazing to me, and I got caught up in it, was how fun it was to get ready. It had never crossed my mind that packing and buying for a trip could be fun. Boy was I missing out. I mean I always got the concept that the journey was a great part of any trip to a destination. But I hadn’t realized that loading up and planning was part of the journey.
Very much in the moment.
Don't miss half the fun
I suppose there are good folks out there that have gotten so wrapped up in preparing that the actual event kind of lost its meaning. My mom used to get so worked up about having a dinner party that she was miserable to all those around her. Make no mistake my mom’s dinner parties were spectacular. It was not unusual to have 20 guests, with white linen and the very finest china, silver and crystal all perfectly presented and arranged. And thirty years later folks still remark on her great cooking. But what a toll it took on the family. Walking on eggshells would have been a pleasure, we were walking on live land mines. Perhaps that is why I took no real pleasure in preparation for forty years of my life. So a word to the wise, do not let it get out of control, people are far more important than plans.
It is this idea of getting excited and all worked up about something that I write about today. When I was of a young age I heard my father remark of a man who had tried to build a contraption of some sort and miserably failed. He was laughed at and somewhat humiliated. I just remember that he had gone way out on a limb trying to build a better way to do something. I still recall the overall feeling of embarrassment for the chap. My father, whose father was an inventor, called the man a glorious fool, and right away invited him into our home for supper. He was extremely interesting and full of life. Clearly my father felt that it was more noble to have tried and failed than to never have tried.
How about you?
Are you too worried about the outcome to enjoy the getting ready?
Just a cool statuette I picked up.
And the point of all this rambling is?
We spend 90 percent of our lives getting ready for things, whether we realize it or not. Our “moments” are filled with preparation and anticipation of a future event. That is how it should be. So if we look at all that time preparing as a chore that must be done instead of a part of the journey we miss out. If we allow ourselves to take joy in the anticipation and expectations we will be joy filled. And here is a kicker that can make a significant impact on others. Appreciate the preparations of others. Go out of your way to make known your admiration for well-planned things by others. Here are some small and mundane examples. Give thanks to the one who has planned and prepared a meal for you. I am not talking of the results here but praise the effort that went into it. Many men have significant other women in their lives. Many of those women spend a good amount of time getting pretty for their day. Well men you should damn well show appreciation for all that hard work. Let me just say a big thank you to all those women right now. My world is a prettier place for all the work you do preparing for the day.
Here is a fun one. Exercise. We could look at exercise as getting ready for the next day of life. We could say that each day we spend some time getting ourselves ready for the next. But it is a tedious task at best some days. It goes a lot better if we focus on a goal. For some reason it is a more positive experience if we have some event to plan for in the future. We note that those who are just focusing on weight loss go emotionally up and down with loss and addition. Those who are training “for” something seem to keep a more energetic even keel.
And in closing let me suggest another possibility. Each day. Yes each day we live is a precious gift of life. We really should treat each new day special. We probably should plan for it. We should anticipate what glories each day has to offer. As I have a young one, each evening before bed and prayers we go through what we are going to do the next day and allow ourselves to get a bit excited about it. It works, it gets me looking forward to a new day and that is a nice space to be in.