Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wind-Back Wednesday ~ Anticipation vs Reality

looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them

ANTICIPATION

"Anticipation is often better than the gift itself" is a saying in our household (maybe because we never have a lot of money so our gifts are never overwhelming). It seems to be a constant in my life that I get more pleasure out of anticipating a gift or an event than I do out of the actual event itself.

A FEW EXAMPLES:


Case in point #1 

Would have to be Christmas (and it's that time of the year again so it's foremost in my mind!). As I've mentioned previously, I have a very optimistic view of family Christmas - often referred to as my "Brady Bunch mentality". Each year I dig out the decorations, crank up the Christmas carols and search endlessly for a meaningful gift for each family member. I then wait for my absent children and their spouses to make the journey home - expecting that they will be looking forward to it as much as I am. 

The reality is often a little less glowing..... they turn up diligently somewhere near Christmas Day - never actually on Christmas Day (but we won't go there.....) and all goes smoothly, but it never has that warm, golden aura that I expect from my family gathering around me. It is all pleasant and normal but I when I look back on it, I think that the weeks of anticipation leading up to the day are a part of what makes Christmas special.

Case in point #2 

Is overseas travel. Australia is a LONG way from almost everywhere (and Western Australia is a long way from our East coast). I have done a few trips overseas and interstate and I like to have months to think about them and plan for them before I go. This is because, in all honesty - and with a deal of ingratitude (and associated guilt) towards being lucky enough to have traveled - I HATE airports, waiting, security checks, cattle class seating, sitting with my legs jammed behind another seat (I'm tall), aeroplane food, swollen ankles, luggage collection, and the list goes on. I love the thought of foreign places and I love the idea of traveling and seeing things that I've only seen pictures of, but I am not a great traveler - so I can get a lot of pleasure out of thinking about the trip, about the sights I'll see etc and the memories I'll have, and that helps offset the torture of the airport and plane.

Case in point #3 

Is my social life. I love the thought of getting together with friends and family. I love the thought of seeing my adult children and their spouses, I like the idea of celebrations and catching up with old friends. When I get an invitation to a wedding or a 50th birthday party or whatever, I immediately start planning what I will wear, what gift would be appropriate, who will be there and who will I talk to etc etc. When the actual event arrives I find myself sadly deflated, I am really not very good in large groups of people. I seem to have lost the ability to mingle all night long making chit chat and having a good time. I last about an hour or so and then I start planning my exit (being married to an introvert makes this part fairly straightforward - he's happy to leave whenever I am). 


Case in point #4 

My word for 2016 has been "EMBRACE" and I had grand plans about all the things I was going to branch out and do. I was going to sell my blogging soul to sponsors, work only two days a week, travel a lot more, find a multitude of new pastimes, and the list grew. The reality is that I don't want to sell my soul to anyone - I don't want to compromise my blog, my integrity, my authenticity to make money or friends. I would rather stay true to my values and not fight for popularity - it is enough just to feel at peace with things. I also found that I'm working more than I expected - retirement wasn't as close as I'd anticipated, and I'm not traipsing all over the world, but I'm happy and content and loving the life that has enfolded. Perhaps ultimately, I've learned to Embrace authenticity rather than achievement.


WHAT TO DO?

So, as midlife descends on me in all its glory, I will make it my aim to enjoy and anticipate everything that is coming up and get "my money's worth" out of the looking-forward-to-it part and then just kick back and have less expectations of the event itself. I might even enjoy things more that way and reduce my 'Brady Bunch expectations' down a bit. Nobody wins when expectations come to the party - so I'm taking them off the table - along with perfectionism (another big pain!) and focusing on appreciation and gratitude instead.

looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them

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Windback Wednesday ~ www.crestingthehill.com.au

22 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this and totally agree. my three children are all v young, 4, 2 and 6 months and I know that come the big day this weekend they'll be so over tired and excited it won't be quite as i anticipate x

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    1. It's so easy to set up unreal expectations around Christmas (I blame those darn Bradys!) Once we wind it back a bit we can relax and enjoy it for what it really is and the anticipation is more realistic :)

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  2. Anticipation caputres me. This is exactly why I love planning travel far in advance. so much longer to enjoy anticipation!
    Carol

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    1. I agree Carol - I think anticipation is very underrated and we need to celebrate it more :)

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  3. I love this, Leanne! 'Focus on appreciation and gratitude instead'. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you!

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    1. My pleasure Diane - I think we all need to appreciate and feel appreciated more. It brings contentment and that is a joy in itself.

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  4. I guess it's how you look at it. For me, I don't see myself selling my soul to run an online business. I didn't choose to work a regular job and get great joy out of blogging for pleasure and for income. It's just a different perspective is all. I can't imagine what it must be like to fly other places in the world from Australia, though, and traveling can be exhausting. But once you're at your destination, it's exciting!

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    1. I think it comes down to why you blog doesn't it Rebecca. If you do it as a business, then you aren't selling your soul because you choose what you write about to fit your business profile. It's reading all the stuff that people write about really boring products that I was referring to - writing for the sake of it is not what I want for my blog - I want it to bring fulfillment. And you're right - Australia is a LONG way away from almost everywhere!

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  5. Anticipation and expectation tend to muck things up all around. I try not to expect or anticipate too much anymore. But... that's hard. (Oh, and this is me, for real, always: "I seem to have lost the ability to mingle all night long making chit chat and having a good time." I get it!)

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    1. I saw a Meme the other day that said I was great at partying until 9pm - that summed it up for me Lisa! Now I take things in smaller doses and try to keep the anticipation to a moderate level :)

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  6. I agree totally about the sweet anticipation of events and travel to far away places. I am totally absorbed with planning and anticipating our next trip to Italy in 2017. It is still a long way off but I will be able to get through the next four months dreaming about it. I sometimes feel impromptu gatherings or events are always much more fun than the planned events. My pet hate is planned New Year's Eve parties - they are normally extremely boring! :) #teamlovinlife

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    1. I'm the same about New Year's Eve Kathy - it seems to take forever for 12am to roll around these days. I think I must be getting old! Enjoy all that planning and anticipation for the Italy trip - I'm a little bit jealous :)

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  7. I LOVE anticipation too Leanne! Planning and looking forward to an upcoming event or trip is all part of the enjoyment. I hope you have a fantastic "Brady Bunch" Christmas #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thanks so much Lyndall - I'm trying to keep my expectations under control - with a grandbaby in the mix it can't help but be a fun day for everyone I'm sure :) Merry Christmas!

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  8. I'm so like you Leanne. I put so much into the preparation or looking forward to anticipation to the event that sometimes it is a bit of an anti-climax. Love our idea of taking your enjoyment from the lead up and not just waiting for the fireworks at the event. Have a wonderful Christmas my friend and a fabulous 2017.

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    1. We should have been sisters Sue! In all honesty, I think I get more out of the lead up than I do out of the day itself (or the event) so I might as well accept that and enjoy the anticipation. Wishing you a lovely Christmas too and I'm looking forward to what 2017 brings us :) x

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  9. I too likeD the planning, the hoping and the anticipation...and almost every time got myself disappointed. It has taken me until my mid 60s to work this out. You see, I like being the organiser, the cater-to-everyone's wishes person and seeing it all come together. Sadly over the years it has not always worked out well. Not to say that sometimes it has. But, I have now learned, very much the hard ways, that life needs to be as it comes along. It's too long a story to tell but I am becoming less disappointed now and more realistic about both myself and others (mostly my grown family!). I am so pleased you popped over to my blog today. I have a link up on Mondays called Life This Week if you are looking to meet up with some awesome Aussie bloggers. It can be a new post or old and I have a list of prompts already up for the first 9 weeks of 2017. I wish you a wonderful break time. Denyse

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    1. Hi Denyse - I saw your Monday link up and bookmarked it because I'd love to join in. It's hard to find link ups that suit my "niche" and yours looked perfect. I also love the LovinLife one for the same reason. I can totally relate to what you're saying about adult kids and expectations - mine have certainly had to undergo some major adjustments over the last few years so that everyone feels catered to. Sometimes I want to say "what about me?" but nobody wins so it's easier to take the path of least resistance :) Wishing you a wonderful Christmas xx

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  10. OMG I just made a really long comment and then hit the wrong button and lost it all! Re your point 2, we stay longer when we have to travel a long way to get there. I like to stay at least 2 months when we fly to Europe. We stay in one place for longer which enables us to get a cheaper accommodation rate and reduces the travel costs. By the time 2 months is up the flight over has dimmed in the memory (kind of like child birth). Thanks for visiting my blog today. :)

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    1. Oh Jan I've done that before too - now I hit Copy sometimes just in case I need to redo it! And yes you are absolutely right about staying away longer. If I ever go to Europe again (which I hope to) it will be for at least 6 weeks to make it worth the pain of 17 hours in cattle class on a plane :)

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  11. I can very much relate. So often it's the idea or thought of something that is far more exciting than the event itself.... but I like that approach of knowing ourselves well enough to prepare for our reaction / response and manage it accordingly!

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  12. Anticipation is a big tick in my book :-) though I have a friend who is the opposite. I wrote about it on my blog a while ago. I can see her point but I don't think I'll be changing any time soon! http://www.middleagedmama.com.au/anticipation-let-me-down/

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