My mother used to tell us that anticipation is better than participation. This statement was usually in reference to premarital sex and was one of her ways to encourage us to....wait. I guess she figured our imaginations were much better in the sack than it was going to be in real life. Why ruin all those great fantasies with that awkward first time? Thanks Mom.
If you think about it though, how many big events in your life have you anticipated with great expectations? The first day of school, that first kiss, high school graduation, college, the first day at a new job, your wedding, the birth of your first child, your first grandchild, moving to a new place, visiting some exotic land, my golf game on Tuesdays? How many of these experiences created serious fluttering in your heart and kept you up at night before you actually lived them? How many of them actually lived up to your expectations? How many of them disappointed you? Some of them might have exceeded your wildest dreams! Those are rare and exquisite experiences that need to be treasured.
On the flip side, sometimes we anticipate with dread. Final exams, leaving someplace you have grown to love, breaking up with someone, going to the doctor (or is that just me?), any science class (just me again?), going to confession, surgery. These anticipations can also be greatly over exaggerated in our imaginations and turn out much better than we expected. Sometimes they are just as bad as we thought they would be and then sometimes, and hopefully seldom, they are worse than we thought. Such is life.
I am currently anticipating the month of May. There are so many things to look forward to. I am going to see family I haven't seen in a long time. I am going to travel to places I have never been to before, I will see my youngest child graduate from college and finally, I will be heading to the shore for what might be the longest stay I've ever had there. I anticipate these events with my usual positive spin....everything is going to be great! But am I setting myself up for disappointment? Will the real things live up to my expectations? Will anticipation be better than participation? The thing about anticipation is that it lasts for a long time and as far as participation goes, when it is over, it is over.