I’m not sure if I should be quoting lyrics from Rod Stewart or daydreaming about an upcoming event. While I’m singing this song right now (you’re welcome), I have been doing some reflecting on anticipation.
The dictionary defines anticipation as expectation or prediction. A very simple and straightforward definition. But it lacks something.
What I’ve found is that anticipation can range from excitement to dread.
The common thread is that it’s forward focused. My brain is completely focused on an event that has yet to happen.
One of the ways I find myself caught up in what I call extreme anticipation is vacation planning.
Exciting right? Choosing a date, a location, accommodations and activities once we arrive is fun! I’ll research online, look at ALL the pictures and read ALL the reviews. I don’t want to be surprised or disappointed.
What I realized is that I’ve been experiencing my vacation before we even go on vacation.
I’m already exhausted. Sound familiar? My ego loves this sort of thing. She whispers in my ear something like this. “Now Ami, make sure you see this, get your tickets here and go in the morning before the heat of the day, otherwise tickets will sell out and you will sweat to death.”
Lack and attack. It’s a classic ego move. It tells me I’m not going to have enough or something bad’s going to happen. How do I avoid both? I’m so glad you asked! To make sure I am safe in all areas, I plan to the hilt, work myself into a ball of nerves, and need a vacation from vacation.
Whew! The truth is, I do this for a lot of situations. Not just vacation planning.
Anticipation can be a lovely thing, especially for events we can’t wait to experience. A wedding, graduation, birth of a child or a night out with your friends. In my opinion, the anticipation is part of the event itself, so I really try to enjoy the feelings of excitement and joy.
On the other hand, anticipation of events we dread, can really do a number on our thinking. Most recently, many of you just delivered your children to college for the first time. Starting the last day of their Junior year in high school, the thoughts start:
*This time next year she’ll be graduating.
*I’m not ready for this.
*I can’t imagine not hearing the door open every day after school when he gets home.
*What if she chooses a school 8 hours away? Or goes to a different country?
All of this and more. I know because I’ve lived it. And, I recognized what my brain was doing.
I was preemptively grieving in some cases and in denial in others.
While I know this is normal, it’s important to train our thinking to focus on the here and now.
I’m not perfect at this. In fact, I think I’m still in boot camp because I have 2 more boys to go through this process. What I am doing is making sure I am as present to the moment as I can be.
The magic is in the messy and mundane moments.
So, what helps to bring me back to the present?
Writing, meditating, sitting quietly without a device, or TV., exercise, and believe it or not, sharing a meal with the very people I love.
I’m so grateful for the messy and mundane moments, the very moments anticipation tries to take from me.
If your ego is doing its best to keep you safe and you would like to learn how to re-train your thinking, Coaching is for you. Please go to http://amilloyd.com/wordpress/contact/ and message me to schedule a discovery session! I can’t wait to hear from you!