Can We Find Joy in Anticipation? (yes)

Posted by Deborah Green on

The Joy of Anticipation (yes even in 2020)

I know. It’s the tail-end of 2020 (covid 19) and the majority of us have had events/holidays/plans & more either postponed or cancelled completely. Jobs have been furloughed & businesses are still fighting or have gone.

No one has been untouched by this year so far. We are all trying so hard to find some strength & resilience & just as I felt so flat with it all I heard my daughter talking…

There she was, talking excitedly about her birthday, what she would love to do & and planning her birthday breakfast (a tradition in our house to choose your most favourite breakfast  - no matter what) & it reminded me of the joy that is found in anticipation.

We all know that feeling in our bodies of “looking forward” to a holiday or the “I cannot wait” feeling before we watch a band play, a daytrip to the sea, a birthday, a gathering with your favourite people.

There is real joy & happiness in the build-up & not just the actual event.  

I used to LOVE getting ready to go out with friends, the “getting ready” was always a big part of the night ahead.

Life feels so tough at the moment (ok it’s been a long moment) but we can’t lose hope, I am trying to tap into & reconnect to the smaller pleasures & find the joy in them.

As my daughters’ birthday approaches, she confesses that she had a little hunt around for hidden presents. I replied with “nooooo, you won’t enjoy any surprises on your actual birthday ?!”.

Can you remember as a child, when you DID find hidden presents? That moment was so exciting but then you had to “fake act” all surprised as you unwrapped presents on your birthday or at Christmas & even at a young age, you knew that you’d ruined your own surprise.

This reminds me… my sister & I used to go on a Christmas chocolate hunt. We would find a tub of Quality Street and then keep going back again & again until it was so obvious just how much trouble we were in as the tub now looked half full – it had gone WAY past the “oh there’s only a couple missing from the top”. The other hunt resulted in finding a box of After Eight Mints and then we realised the box felt so light when we picked it up – we put a cassette tape in to counter the missing weight….

There was no anticipation. Nor was there any chocolate in our house at Christmas.

I said to my daughter, “the build up to your birthday & Christmas is precious..”

Here’s a very simple example that has nothing to do with holidays or anything huge in life but an everyday moment of anticipation, I found myself looking forward to the one morning out of the week when I didn’t have to get up early & I could factor in a lazy morning in bed – on reflection I was enjoying the anticipation of everything that goes with a lazy morning - not getting up early & having to start the usual house jobs, drinking 2 cups of tea in bed, to have the time to read books & articles that I had saved for that particular morning, staying in my PJs for longer (too long to be fair) & not clock-watching. I don’t actually think I even stayed in bed very long that particular morning but there was a lovely feeling found within the planning of my morning in bed.

We enjoy the anticipation of a meal cooked from scratch – the aromas that fill the kitchen, the pleasure from baking  - then the wait, to see how it tastes.

The phrases we use so often  - “I can’t wait to…” or “I’m so looking forward to…”

Here is anticipation again & again & for me, it’s in the little things & not in the big stuff. Maybe we can shift our attention back to the little things & also the joy of looking forward to the little things.

Here’s a little thing  that I now really look forward to and is also putting my addiction to nice journals & notebooks to good use. I LOVE listening to books & podcasts but… using my notebook to create an “alternative index”. When I read, I use post-it notes or I highlight quotes & phrases so I can easily find them again to re-visit but now I am listening to more books, using my notebook is becoming an additional tool & I’m loving it. I note down the chapter, time within the chapter & write it under a header such as, "Quotes" or "Need to Listen Again".

So, with the big stuff not happening I’m seeking out more & more of the simpler joys & the lovely warm-belly feeling of anticipation that goes with it.

Soon I’ll be looking forward to putting up our Christmas decorations & knowing that on these darker days & nights our home will glow & sparkle.

What small stuff is getting you through?

What are you looking forward to that you maybe never really noticed before?

 

 


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