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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Anticipation -- Is It Worth the Wait?

"If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble." --Elbert Hubbard Anticipation is something I do not usually enjoy. Although anticipation certainly has its value in certain circumstances, I find effective waiting to be a skill not easily obtained. Tom Petty wrote, "The Waiting is the hardest part/Every day you see one more card/You take it on faith/You take it to the heart." I believe Petty is speaking of the often slow march of anticipation. The best-laid plans usually involve much anticipation to be successful while spur of the moment actions can be disastrous. Some people manage anticipation through thorough planning and patient grace. I wish, at times, I was better with constructing positive anticipation strategies. I think many women are often better at handling anticipation than men. Consider a prom. Men usually suffer worrisome anticipation throughout the planning and the actual event. They worry about asking for a date. They worry about being rejected. They worry about securing their clothes. They worry about ordering flowers. They worry about the vehicle they will use. They worry about the meal. They worry about looking like dorks in the Grand March. They worry about dancing. About behaving. About the after-prom. About a good night kiss, etc. In fact, I say most of the tremendous anticipation men have concerning a prom is full of fear, fear based on the assumption that their dates expect an evening of perfection. On the other hand, woman seem to revel in anticipation of the same prom. They begin preparing months, even years ahead to climb the "staircase of their dreams." By the time they reach high school, they have already played out their perfect prom over and over. Mentally prepared, they know the proper social games to play to find their best date and subtly intrigue their choices. They enjoy shopping for that one dress that will most flatter them and impress other guests. They enjoy getting their nails done, their hair done, their tans perfected. Their Grand March is a lavish fashion show. Their prom is a debutante ball. They have already planned and know how their date will end. The anticipation of the prom and all its preliminaries, though stressful to women, shows a command of, even a joy in their anticipation. Maybe part of the difference between sexes and their means of handling anticipation is physiological. I believe most men could not handle nine months of pregnancy until delivery. Men with swelling bellies and morning sickness might consider becoming monks after having a single child. Think about the great anticipation anxiety felt by men as they wait to have sex. Consider the baseball analogy of reaching first base, second base, etc. Most men love to run the bases while women often prefer to walk from first to home plate. The men seek to score, while the women most enjoy the tour of the infield. The run may count either way, but the anticipation of the score is usually different for men and women. I guess we all must find our best solutions to handling anticipation. Good or bad, the waiting is part of living. Whether we like it or not, we all must do our human share of this waiting. Anticipation has a magical way of disappearing once the anticipated event occurs. So, at its worst, anticipation is temporary; then, we are free to anticipate the next course of action.
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