I’ve found that in the last several weeks, that a recurring thought has been roaming about, and showing up in unlikely places, contexts, joining each of them – however different – together.
Life exists in anticipation. In the zest of life we find at root, the yearning, the yen, the wanting…for that something more.
What that more might be will vary from individual to individual, from circumstance to perspectives. But it will be there at the source of life itself.
Think about it: almost all we do is because of some form of anticipation. The thrill of life itself, what gives us that flamboyant sense of spontaneity, or randomness…that splash of colour that makes life so mindboggling and inexplicable, what makes us despair at times and what makes us joyous at others.
We’ve heard how expectation is the source of disappointment, no? At least, I know for the most part that saying has been firmly embedded in the microprocessor that comprises me. Post-puberty, I found my niche in being non-conformist, a docile rebel and somewhat embittered, thusly.
But is expectation interchangeable with anticipation? Logic may derive from the fact that in being two different words, they must be somehow different. Despite being listed in many thesauruses as synonyms, in answer to the question itself, I say no.
I don’t want to lecture you about why. I’ll let you think it out yourself.
Anticipation buoys us for the forthcoming attractions. We don’t really know what’s to come (and in that, we may find some reasoning for where expectation may differ…keep at it)…and yet we may relish what we think may be coming. Relish—that somehow popped out without me really thinking about it, but in that I find myself querying; relish has positive connotations, no? Therefore anticipation is looking forward, and thus also positive, no? (…Again, perhaps another difference between the A and E, aha!)
Hope. Of course, that’s another subset all tangled up with this element called anticipation. I mean yeah, we go about almost everything with some hope for some sort of result or consequence.
But hold on a minute, girl. You’re once again losing train from why you’ve started this whole discussion. What made you start thinking about all this?
To be honest, I can’t really remember. For one, it isn’t any big secret perhaps that I celebrated a birthday recently. In so doing, I found myself thinking aha, the build-up is what made the day so……...profound. Ironically, telling you this is quite the opposite, isn’t it? Because this is a truth we must all have experienced.
It’s always about that foreknowledge that it’s around the corner, and in so doing we’re secretly wondering what all the other people who know about it coming around are thinking and planning. And in knowing this yet not fully knowing, we anticipate.
Same goes for the weekend, I’ve found. A work-week isn’t the same without that anticipation that, ‘Phew, it’s almost the weekend.’ Of course, that is only if your weekend provides you with the requisite typical relief or sojourn from work. Hence, we’ve got those celebratory codes of anticipation: TGIF, POETS, etc.
And yet –and this is the crux of the matter –when you’re really on the day itself that was so looked forward to, it’s really not as special. Not really, despite all the good things that might happen, because inside that build up of anticipation has already evaporated, because after the day, it’s all done and dusted. Then what?
You’ve got to wait another 364 days again. Or if it’s already Saturday, then tomorrow is just a day that anticipates the start of another workweek. Despite Sunday being another awesomely lazy day, we’re already mentally prepping ourselves for Monday. Because, that’s just my point, we live in anticipation.
One of my favourite quotes in the entire world talks about it in regards to love itself. Something I’ve expounded upon a few times already. I’ve always thought that our big sense of romance is all built up with the preliminary; it’s the anticipation that makes the actual thing such a large entity. All that wanting, dreaming, wishing, yearning, lusting – that’s what makes the stuff of love stories and movies, isn’t it?
That’s certainly not to say that love itself isn’t all that. I assure you otherwise. (Unless you’re a………..well let me not go there).
And somehow one night while brushing my teeth and in so doing, found this word again flitting through my mind, and the vague imagery of these thoughts floating around lazily and obscurely, I found another image and slowed down my mental slideshow to examine the thought a little closer. What I found was that this bout of anticipation reminded me of a conversation I had with another friend once.
So this friend and I share a great fondness for beautiful places in the world, and he was showing some pictures of landmarks that just make you gasp with wonder at it all, and in so doing of course the topic of having to make a world tour to visit all these landmarks came up. After a bit, he observed that while the pictures looked so amazing; had he gone to visit these landmarks, most likely they would not look so breathtakingly splendid up close. ‘They look only so good from far’.
And that’s how anticipation sort of works, isn’t it? It’s when you’re approaching or at a distance, that you can observe the glory of the entirety at one go. When you’re already there you can only see a fraction of the whole thing, you’re losing out because it is right there in your face and most of it has gone by or out of sight. To assimilate the possibility that we are capable of attaining something not yet attained is an incredibly powerful emotion. Perhaps it’s what we boil down to that ‘thrill of the chase’. For, when we have it, often it’s not such a grand feeling as prior to possession. The ecstasy comes from anticipation.
And it’s widespread, this phenomenon. I mean, it’s behind pretty much everything that makes us act toward the near future; the end of the work day, getting home to crash, the next meal, talking with a friend. It’s what I think fuels our zest for life itself; the wanting, the yearning, the wishing and wanting. The anticipation.