Great Anticipations

During my morning commute - I popped in Carly Simon into the CD player. You’re So Vain just seemed to fit my morning.  As I sit amused, watching irritated drivers weave in and out of traffic, I hear it like whisper to my subconscious, Anticipation.  Now this is not my favorite song on the Greatest Hits album, but it developed a greater meaning this morning and I gained a new found respect for the feeling of anticipation.
At an early age, this emotion is learned to consume our everyday lives.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  Happiness and sadness win and place in this race of emotions, but I beg to differ.  As a child, we anticipate the school day being over so we can play outside.  As a teenager, we anticipate the day we can drive around town sans parents.  As a college undergrad we anticipate the day we can engage in binge drinking – legally.  As adults, we anticipate the next big thing such as marriage or children.  Think about the things, places, or people that make you happiest.  You will come to realize that we spend a lifetime anticipating where our next chance at euphoria will spring.

I am more interested in the second right before the anticipation is gratified.  It is only a mere second, but it’s there.  It is rather magical, but so few of us recognize it because we are so busy speeding along to the greener pastures we expect to find on the other side.  You see, sometimes the build-up is actually more exhilarating than the actual event.

Off the top of my head, New Year’s Eve comes to mind. When you are single, New Year’s Eve is a chance to start from a clean slate.  I guess I feel this way, because most of my previous New Year’s were comparable to Bridget Jones’ rendition of All by Myself.  Trust me, no one wants to be that lonely.  So every year, the planning begins in November for the “biggest night of the year”.  From going to the perfect party and buying the perfect dress, the stars must align.  Then at that earth-shattering millisecond of 11:59:59 on December 31st, I always feel a little let down. Maybe we expect an epiphany of sorts, some fireworks, or at the very least a New Year’s kiss. We have come to expect that these types of events are the things that change lives.

On the flip side, there are those picturesque flashes that I’ve come to savor. This is tick on the clock you wish you could bottle for a rainy day. I was lucky enough to witness this just a few short weeks ago.  It is in the Polaroid flash, when the church doors open and you see a woman in a milky white gown waltzing slowly down the aisle.  It is her wedding day.

These, my friend, are the pieces of life that take your breath away.  It was strange, because I had seen her all morning with hair appointments and the like. She is my best friend, but when the doors opened that day she was way more than that.  She stood for everything I have believed in since I was a little girl.  To most she looked like the same beautiful woman, but to me she looked different. I saw true love, genuine friendship, pure honesty and the beauty of old-school romance.  This is that magical moment I spoke of earlier.

It is the moment right before your anticipation is gratified by the overwhelming feeling of excitement, happiness, compassion or love.  I cried like a baby.  My tears washed away the hard exterior that the dating world requires you to build, and exposed the vulnerability I had been trying so hard to hide.  I think about that millisecond of time everyday now.  It restores my faith in the human race and gives me hope for the future.  Most of all it proves to me that it is not the expected that counts in life.  It is the unexpected that is changes lives everyday.  We just need to slow down, take a deep breath and capture these moments in our hearts.

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