Thursday, December 4, 2014


Looking back, at this time of my life—some people would say that’s all I do, but please don’t pick up that ball and run with it, okay?
As I was saying, looking back, I believe I’ve always needed something to look forward to. I’m willing to stick my neck out and say everybody has that same need. It’s one of those primal things.
As a little kid, I looked forward to the day I could officially go to school and learn things. Reading a book! Writing on a tablet! Adding up numbers! My very soul tingled with the anticipation.

Once in school, there was more to look forward to: holidays meant we made stuff in art class to decorate our classroom or to take home as a gift to our parents. And the biggest anticipation of all—going to the next grade. It wasn’t so much the new teacher, the new room, or being bigger, it was what all that stood for: growing up! Heady stuff.
That was the macro. The day-to-day stuff was the micro—getting assignments done, reading the book before it was due at the library, going to club meetings or play practice after school. We were totally caught up in the microcosm of school and its self-contained world.
Actually, we were as close to living in the Now—that state of being present in the moment that everybody talks about these days—as we were likely to be ever again. We had the Past—last year’s class; we had the Future—next year’s studies. But what really mattered at any one time was Right Now.
As I grew older, I found other anticipations: college (more school); marriage and children; working after the kids were in school all day; the empty nest. Again, these are all Big Things—the macrocosm of Life.
These days I look forward to all sorts of things . . . the clunk of the mailbox that tells me the letter carrier brought me something (never mind that it’s probably an ad from the cable company or an insurance company trying to sell me health coverage) . . . each day’s special event (Monday, sewing at Jane’s house; Tuesday, yoga; Wednesday, shopping; etc.) . . . an early morning walk at the Y (and the days I don’t walk, I look forward to sleeping a half-hour later) . . . a new book by a favorite author . . . email from one of my kids . . . the last stitch in a quilt that signals “it’s done!” . . . .
The list threatens to be endless.
I try to keep time for quietude—not every minute must be crammed with activity, but not every moment needs to be meditative. A good balance of the two keeps me occupied and allows time for being thankful.
The greatest benefit of anticipation? It keeps despair at bay. If I can look forward to an event, then I can deal with a sadness in the present. So long as I have hope, I don’t drown in emotions that can swamp me.
The best thing about the Past is that it’s gone. Over and done with. Sure, there may be fall-out from happenings in days gone by. But we can’t live there and still be useful in the Now.
What do you look forward to today? Make a little list. But be prepared—it might become a gigantic list.

1 comment:

  1. Today I started a new story. Never mind that it may not go anywhere, it's still a new story.