My excitement levels over an anticipated birthday have somewhat tempered over the years. I went from an excited kid waiting for that telescope (that never came) to an expectant teenager hoping for something other than clothes (I’ve since outgrown that sentiment). As an adult, birthdays became reasons to go out and celebrate. Today, whether it be mine or other people’s, I still enjoy birthdays. Who doesn’t with all those offerings of cake flying around? The reasons to look forward to a birthday may change over the years, but for most, it is something we look forward to celebrating.
Looking forward to things isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s equally incessant younger brother, “I can’t wait” is not all that bad either. As humans, we look forward to many things throughout our lives – Christmas, graduations, vacations, weddings, summer, and weekends. As time moves on, our anticipatory list seems to expand to include things like retirement, hip replacements, and seniors discounts – none of which I am currently experiencing.
Our entire lives are summed up in that one little phrase, “I can’t wait until…” When we are young, we can’t wait until we become teenagers, after that, we can’t wait until we can legally partake in those vices we wished we’d never started. Once we’ve entered into the adult world, we can’t wait until certain uncomfortable, irritable things are over. Equally, we can’t wait until beautiful, joyful, fun experiences start.
Most often, the anticipation of these things are great fun, but it would seem we spend so much of our lives looking forward to other things, we forget to look at what is right in front of us. Instead of yearning for the end of something that is not enjoyable, we need to re-evaluate what is happening around us in the present.
I for one, have forgotten how to live in the present. Perhaps I never knew. Maybe living in the present would open up a new world of opportunity. Maybe, I would see the forest and the trees. Maybe living in the present would save me from wishing my life away; hoping for the future, yet fearing its propensity to be full of what ifs at the same time. Maybe, at the very least, living in the present would allow me to remember where I parked my car.
My story does not end here. There are many unknowns ahead of me. Although I cannot bring myself to say that I look forward to getting older, I can now look forward to the new unknowns in my life like an old friend coming for a long overdue visit. Then, of course, there is the “careful what you wish for” thing, but that’s an entirely different post.