Anticipation is my favorite emotion. Since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed and created things to look forward to. As a child, some of those things came organically, like my birthday, Christmas, Easter, and weekend trips to my grandmother’s house.
When I became an adult, the childhood celebrations and excitement surrounding them became chores as I had responsibilities around those for my own family. So, I had to look outside of those and began creating them myself. There are small things like lunch with a friend, date night with my husband, a spa day, or a concert or a movie. My addiction grew and these things weaved themselves into a normal pattern of my life no longer giving me the spark and high that I craved.
Travel was the thing that gave me the most euphoric feeling and kept me going through the mundane tasks of life and daily work grind. I dreamed, researched, planned, scheduled, booked, and enjoyed these trips with an obsessive intensity.
Since the pandemic hit, I have missed a trip to Italy, a birthday/anniversary trip to a beach resort, and I had planned to spend the holy month of Ramadan in the United States visiting a multitude of friends and family. In June, we were booked for two weeks on a safari in Tanzania with a side trip to Zanzibar. Anticipation had built for months before the realization came that these things weren’t going to happen. To say I was disappointed doesn’t begin to describe my crash.
My anticipation addiction was further aggravated by the realization that these things would not be available for the foreseeable future. This forced me to a reckoning, an intervention of sorts. And, as with most interventions of this type, it hasn’t been an entirely bad thing. Being deprived of the resources to feed my addiction as I have before, I’ve found new, simpler things to anticipate and on a shorter time frame.
I now anticipate with great pleasure my leisurely mornings and the first cup of freshly brewed coffee. I dream, research, and plan meals culled from the many recipe books that I’ve collected from past travels. Each meal takes me to a different place in Italy, Greece, Russia, Germany, and Morocco. Sitting in my living room with the morning sun pouring through my window touching geraniums and orchids in full bloom is something I look forward to when I get out of bed. Long walks on the rooftop of my building where the breezes are refreshing and the views stunning are in my daily ritual, as is the afternoon with a cup of tea and a good book. Later there are phone conversations with family and friends. An evening cocktail with my husband is our new date night.
Anticipation is dependent upon the future. The future seems uncertain these days. There are a million self-help books out there about living in the now. I haven’t read them, but I know the gist and have learned the value during this strange and pensive time. I will consider this one of the positive outcomes of a disastrous, frightening, and ongoing period of change and adjustment. Oh yes, I will be traveling again as soon as it’s available and I feel it’s safe. But, in the meantime, I will take every opportunity to feed my anticipation addiction with the small things that life offers.