Anticipation (noun) – defined by Merriam-Webster as the “act of looking forward.”
Example: “She looked forward to the future with anticipation.”
This particular word can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What does anticipation mean to you? Is it a significant life event due to take place soon? Maybe it’s a new job, a new house, a new child, or a new pet? Something that’s exciting and gladly anticipated because you know that there will be some goodness that will come out of it?
When I think about anticipation, I usually associate it with something good. I’m not sure why, but I just always have. As a child, I eagerly anticipated the last day of school because I knew I’d get a 3-month break of summer. I eagerly anticipated that weekend in June full of my three dance recitals because it gave my friends and I the chance to show our family and friends our routines that we had worked so hard on all year. I eagerly anticipated family beach vacations in the summer and just about anything Christmas related in the winter.
As I grew up, that view of anticipation stayed with me. I eagerly anticipated learning how to drive, graduating high school, then college, and finally, graduate school. I eagerly anticipated getting that dream job, moving away from home, and living in a state that actually had weather for all four seasons. Now, I find myself eagerly anticipating the future ahead, although I literally have no idea what it entails.
I often ask myself “Why so eager? Why the rush?” I constantly have to remind myself that patience is, in fact, a virtue. I look back on certain things in my life and wonder why I was always in such a rush to move forward. It makes me wish that I would have enjoyed those moments a little bit more, instead of always wondering what was going to lie ahead. To this day, I find that I’m constantly seeking more out of life that will offer me a bigger sense of fulfillment, even though I can’t exactly figure out what that may be.
I’ve always eagerly anticipated the familiar – the easy plans that I knew were attainable and safe. Everything that I knew was comfortable for me. I think for most of us, that level of anticipation is easy because those things will likely go exactly how we expect them to, if we play our cards right. It’s when they don’t, that that anticipation and excitement dissipates, and we’re faced with adversity to overcome. This is when the real lessons sink in because we’re forced to deal with the unfamiliar and the unexpected. This can be terrifying, but absolutely necessary.
Now, I’m completely adjusting to life in terms of eagerly anticipating the unfamiliar. It’s a strange feeling – coming full circle and constantly searching within myself for the person that I want to become. I no longer eagerly anticipate the familiar because I know that growth won’t occur there. It’s in the unfamiliar. In the faces of the people you have yet to meet. In the places you have yet to go. In the adventures you have yet to take. It’ll all challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and live a little. It’ll help you figure out who you’re meant to be.
So, instead, I just do my best to live in the moment and trust that whatever is meant to be for me in this life will be. I trust the process, the mistakes I’ve made, and the experiences I’ve gone through. I’m trusting the unfamiliar, and I’m embracing it.
No more timelines. No more pressure. No more eager anticipation of what’s familiar to me.
Just trust, patience, and faith in the unfamiliar that’s bound to come my way.