Waiting for Good Things
I have this funny saying that I always proclaim to my husband, “Anticipation is nine-tenths of delight.”
This means that, for all intents and purposes, the satisfaction that comes from enjoying a good thing is nearly always preceded by careful preparation and self control in anticipation of enjoying that good thing. I won’t relax to a show unless the dishes are put away and everything in my apartment is in its proper place. If I’m starving and preparing a meal, I won’t take bites beforehand because I want that first mouthful to be the best thing since sliced bread. I usually work out hard in the morning before I have breakfast or shower, because getting in sweat and grit prior to doing anything else that day gives me such a rush of accomplishment.
I think this is probably a good trait to have, because I constantly deny myself instant gratification for the sake of intensifying my life’s experience to the fullest capacity. I will enjoy my Fall Break only when my evaluations are written. I will enjoy a day of rest only when all of my work is complete.
This discipline is good, I think.
…but, like all extremes, sometimes this desire to put off enjoying things until the list and mental expectations are met can override my enjoyment of the thing itself. At its worst, it can help to feed the idea that I can enjoy the good things later, with later becoming some far off, infinite space way further ahead of me.
This creeping mindset sneaks up on me when I make silly, unconscious choices. I won’t burn my two favorite, nice candles because I’m waiting for a proper occasion to burn them. I don’t want to hang up pictures in my home because the walls of my current apartment displease me and I’d rather wait to display them until I have a home that reflects my true aesthetic. I say “no thank you” to a treat offered to me because it’s not my cheat day and it wasn’t planned for. I save my favorite outfits for later on because why would I want to waste my favorite look on a Saturday when I won’t see a soul?
I’m learning how to say yes to good things, be they little or small, because abiding in the present turns out to be the preferable and wise mode of living. While spontaneity makes my natural, interior disposition uneasy, I’m learning how to…roll with it…because its’ good for us all to do more of the things that make us grow and don’t keep us in our own boxes, no matter how morally noble or proficient they seem to be going for us.
Perhaps this learning of unplanned enjoyment for its own sake is something that you don’t need any work in, or maybe it’s something that you do too much altogether and you could probably use a good amount of discipline and rigor added into the daily framework of your life.
The point is, try stretching yourself a bit in the opposite direction of where you normally reside in comfort, and you may find that you end up being more full and complete and whole in the mysterious process of expanding.