As we age and mark fewer and fewer future events as “something to look forward to,” we deprive ourselves of pleasurable anticipation. This anticipation is what seems to make time stand still: it drags by day-by-day as we eagerly await the event’s arrival. (Perhaps you can relate this to watching the clock at work, or waiting for the water in the tea kettle to boil.)
Anticipation has more than one meaning, of course. Not only is it an emotion involving pleasure when we think about some expected or longed-for event, it can also mean anxiety, as in stage fright, for instance.
Anticipation can also be developed as a skill. For example, a hockey player anticipates and “skates to where the puck is going, not to where it is.” (Wayne Gretzky).Anticipation is also a term used for prediction; as a physician anticipates the progression of a disease or condition based on his experience. Before it begins to use language, a young child learns to anticipate both pleasurable and undesirable events as part of normal development. In this way, anticipation serves as a bridge between instinct and spoken language.
But these usages are more about reasoning than emotion.I want to think about the emotional use of anticipation.
In music, anticipation often involves wanting love, as in the lyrics to Carly Simon’s song, “Anticipation” written as she waited to begin a date with Cat Stevens:
"And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet and I don't know nature's ways
So I'll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here 'cause these are the good old days"
Or, waiting for love, as in as in the song “Perpetual Anticipation” from the Broadway musical “A little Night Music:”
"Perpetual anticipation is good for the soul
But it's bad for the heart.
It's very good for practicing self-control,
It's very good for morals, but bad for morale.
It's very bad.
It can lead to going quite mad.
It's very good for reserve and learning to do what one should.
It's very good.
Perpetual anticipation's a delicate art"
Or, promising love for the future, as in RiHanna’s hit song “Umbrella:”
"An anticipation for precipitation
stacks chips for the rainy day
When the sun shines
We’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be your friend
Took an oath
I'mma stick it out 'till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we still have each other
You can stand under my Umbrella"
(She shares credit for lyrics with Jay-Z)
In religious music, anticipation often includes eternal happiness in heaven, as in “Bright Anticipation”
"There's a voice full of sweetness and love,
It is speaking so kindly to me:
"I will lead you to bright realms above,
Where the spirit forever is free."
"I am waiting, I am longing for the summons to come,
When from sorrow and trouble I'm free;
When with Jesus I am reigning in that heavenly home,
Where forever its beauties I'll see."
And in these lyrics, also from gospel music, “When it’s Over” by Jeremy and Adie Camp, anticipation seems to have come full circle:
"Revealing grace’s final call
I can’t comprehend at all
My hope will be completed
Seeing you with eyes unveiled
Knowing without you I’d have failed
I’ll wait - come soon - I’m waiting
My anticipation turns into desperation
When I think of when I will be with you my Jesus."
Anticipation is a pretty large concept. It can be rejoiceful, hopeful, anxious; a matter of faith, of learning, of expression, of prediction. It is a big word.
For my purposes, I want to use anticipation as a tool; a tool for extending my personal concept of time. I want to mark more future events to anticipate—like when I was a child. Whether it is as imminent as “This coming weekend,” “March Madness,” Easter, or a grandchild’s birthday; or more distant, as spring break, a summer vacation, my spouse’s birthday, the World Series, Christmas; or just a special television program that we enjoy watching together, I am keeping an entirely NEW CALENDAR, the “Anticipation Calendar” which will keep me interested in planning and anticipating the next noteworthy event.
Even writing a Blog involves anticipation. (Both anxiety and pleasurable excitement I might add.)
Life. Let’s enjoy it while we have it!
The complete blogsite is at: Gruggersblog