Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So, let’s examine it together. In Etymology, I’ll be presenting a word each week with its generally accepted definition and riffing on this word as a way to get us to talk about life together. This is meant to be a discussion based article, with emphasis on “together.” In one sense, these articles will be written and complete when they are published, but they will not be whole without your input. All of us could use better words to describe our lives. So, let’s go through life together in words. Helping each other and improving together and always remembering to breathe.
By Brianne Leith
“I see you shiver with antici….…..pation.” – Rocky Horror Picture Show
Breath comes in short gasps. Chest feels tight. Heart is pounding. Stomach turns over and lumps into a ball. You can feel every action your body is doing. Blood circulating. Cells multiplying. But you can only think of one thing. Anticipation. Breathing is the most difficult activity. Every aspect of what is happening to your body is frightening. It is worth every second. Anticipation. You can feel yourself pulsating, radiating, tingling. You are alive.
“Anticipation” is defined as an “expectation or hope. Realization in advance; foretaste.”
New Years is the common time for a feeling of great anticipation of what is to come, but I argue for this time of year. Summer has begun. Anticipation of the good times ahead. Freeing times. A feeling of lightness. An exciting and new change in your life always occurs in the Summer.
“If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of troubles.” –Elbert Hubbard
There is also the anticipation of the bad times ahead. Stifling heat and humidity. A feeling of fear and nausea from the lack of fashion and lack of clothing in general. Overcrowded streets of Downtown. Bugs…
Oh! I forgot the good anticipation of fresh Maryland Blue Crabs!
But interestingly enough it seems that the feeling of anticipation is something adulthood and society are trying to thwart and completely eradicate.
As I look through pictures of “anticipation” on FLICKR for this article, I was surprised to find predominately photos of children. This makes sense, though. On many levels it is illuminating. Children have such high expectations and great anticipation of every small thing. They seem to not fear the unknown that is coming imminently. The cynicism that adults acquire to the upcoming events has not been introduced to them yet. Everything has fantastic possibilities and endlessly surreal potential.
When adults have positive anticipation it has a childlike quality to it. It is overwhelming hope and feeling wildly and joyfully out of control. This scares us. Cynicism is a defense to save ourselves from the disappointment of failed hope. Cynicism regains our feeling of being in control.
With age you start to understand that the “rainbows that form into tap-dancing unicorns made out of marshmallows, that promise eternal sunshine” expectations in every situation is unrealistic. In any occurrence, it is just not a reality. So, we stop that anxious feeling of anticipation for our own preservation.
I could even say the desire society has for instant gratification is because of this fear of inevitable disillusionment of your anticipation. The sooner we receive the object, the less time we have to build it up in our minds. The faster we acquire, the less expectations we have for it. We will unwittingly settle for things of lower quality. As long as the “fear of disappointment” waiting period is short, we will take any trash we are given.
We should not settle.
We should not equate the “fear of disappointment” waiting period with anticipation.
Anticipation is childlike. The feeling of anticipation is a wonderful mixture of adrenaline, your body’s physical reaction to fear, and insurmountable thoughts of hope and joy. Pure excitement.
Thoughts of eternal sunshine with rainbow unicorns.
The anticipation started a night before. Shallow breaths, no matter how hard I inhaled. Pulse racing. Images of a Lisa Frank-inspired world took over my brain. Feeling of fear. Childlike longing.
Nothing could be as good as the anticipation of it, but I was alright with that fact.
In anticipation of…everything.
“We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.” Kahlil Gibran