Posts Tagged ‘anticipation’

I love Disneyland.

I have not been to Disneyland since 2011 (which I think is tragic), but I’m confident I still love Disneyland. I love the surge of excitement that comes to a peak when I pass through the gates and pass under the tunnel into Main Street. I love mapping out my plan of action. I love riding the same rides I have been riding since I was a baby, or seven, or ten. I love riding the same rides over and over again.

I love how the entire park is like a gigantic show. I love the secret nooks. I love the churros. I love how light I feel, and I love how even when I’m soaking wet from Splash Mountain and I’m kind of cold and uncomfortable, I’m still happy because I am HERE, in this magical place. I love the continuity of history; I love the old rides and I love the new rides and I love remembering the rides that used to be here.

I can't find a photo of me at Disneyland, but here, have a photo of me at Disneyland Paris instead.

I can’t find a photo of me at Disneyland, but here, have a photo of me at Disneyland Paris instead.

I’ve created a Disneyland in my mind, with help from the actual one in existence, that reminds me how joy feels. The uncomplicated, pure joy that I felt when I was six years old pretending to steer a car next to my mom.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for growing up and being an adult. I like being able to make my own decisions. I like being able to protect myself. I like making my own priorities and choosing how I am going to create meaning.

But I also like that childhood joy and wonder, and it is something I strive to hold onto. Retaining a connection with that spark of magic makes my life…well, flat-out better. Looking forward to things is fun. Cultivating enthusiasm makes the same experiences more exciting. And all of this encourages gratitude.

And if you look at many of the things I feel most strongly about today, many of them are markers for that joy. They are reminders of that wonder. They are evolutions of things I have loved for a very long time. We’d play pretend Disneyland in the backyard as kids, we loved it so much. There’s a video of me, maybe four years old, “dancing” to music by walking around in a circle. I sang as soon as I could talk. I wrote as soon as I could read fluently. Once I could read, I inhaled twelve books every two weeks from the library, and then I’d start in on the Reader’s Digest condensed books that lined our bookshelves. Christmas was the most magical time of year. Getting a puppy when I was six was like a dream come true. I climbed Vernal Falls in Yosemite every year of my childhood starting when I was, what, age four? Age five? The Mist Trail, with its rainbows and delicate barriers of condensation, was as close as I could get to the fairyland of the fairy tales I read in bulk.

I’m glad I grew up, but part of the reason I feel glad is because I didn’t have to give up the essence of what mattered to me back then. I didn’t have to give up the excitement of what the next day might bring. I didn’t have to give up the wholehearted love I felt for the world around me. I didn’t have to give up the feeling that we live in a world of wonders.

Instead, I got to learn that I get to choose. It’s not that I don’t see the hard realities of the world. It’s not that I don’t see suffering, or feel it for myself. It’s not that I’m not afraid of disasters and warfare and hatred, of sickness and pain and death. It’s not that I turn a blind eye to the problems and injustices that surround us all.

I see the difficulties, the pain, the ugliness, where we fall short. But even so, I can also tap into that joy. I can remember the parts of the world, and humanity, that make improvement worth fighting for.

I can feel the hush of the evening the night before Christmas, when the tree lights shine and my heart is full and the anticipation of tomorrow hangs over me like a mantle. I can feel the love well up inside of me when I look down at the little dog, who is once more lying completely upside down with her legs sticking straight up. I can feel the full rightness of moving my body to music or singing the notes to a favorite song.

And I can visit the wishing well outside the Disneyland castle, and I can believe that magic, of a kind, can still be found all around us.

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On Waiting, Part II

“Life is largely a matter of expectation.” –Horace

Today’s entry is the sundae and the cherry all in one because I get to talk about the things that I love so much that I’m happy to wait for them.  My husband tells me that I live in the future a lot, and I suppose I do, partly because I’m a bit of a worrier and a bit of a planner, and partly because I love looking forward to things.  So here is my list of *six* (yes, I couldn’t quite limit myself to five) things I wait for with sincere pleasure.

6. Food: Enjoying the aromas filling the house as dinner stews in the crockpot or cookies bake in the oven is part of the fun.  And I was looking forward to our anniversary dinner at Chez TJ for several weeks before the fact.  My sweet tooth doesn’t help matters either.  Does this make me a foodie?

5. Friends: I look forward to seeing people or hearing from people so much.  When I make plans with you for next week, you can bet that it makes me smile whenever I think about it.  Getting a long e-mail or, heaven forbid, a real physical letter, is good in the same way.  Granted, there’s not as much waiting involved, but I still get a frisson of anticipation when my eye scans down the page or I see a promising sender in my inbox (I save the exciting e-mails for last).  This also includes looking forward to seeing my dog (I’ll be driving home and get excited about this, which goes to show how extremely dorky I can be) and wondering when my husband will get home from work.

4. New Book Releases (and movie, album, theater, etc.): Sometimes this crosses the borders into painful (GRRM, I’m looking at you), but in general I enjoy looking forward to the release date of a book I want to devour.   Here are the books I’m currently waiting for with baited breath: Monsters of Men, by Patrick Ness; Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins; Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis (I’m waiting for the second half to come out before reading any of it); Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold; and many, many more.

3. Holiday/Special Occasion: It has been known to happen that I will create a special occasion in order to look forward to it.  I love all birthdays, and particularly my birthday, for this reason.  The wedding anniversary is a good new occasion in my life, and I also celebrate the anniversary of when I met my husband, which is in October.  My favorite holiday by far, however, is Christmas, and I’ll make a confession: I’m already getting excited about Christmas right now, and it’s only August.  So apparently I get about five months a year of wonderful anticipatory glow from a one-day holiday.  How awesome is that?

2. Completion of a project: Who doesn’t love the twin feeling of satisfaction and relief when you type “The End” at the end of the novel you’ve been working on for the past x months?  Sometimes it’s only the fact that I know how pleased I’m going to be at the end that keeps me going during the murky middle.  Short stories are great because you get to experience this thrill of completion more often.  The same sort of thing happens after a concert or a run of shows or a big project at work.  Of course, the anticipation of completion can be better than the actual finishing, which tends to be bittersweet, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

1. Travel: I love to travel; it is one of my enduring hobbies.  People who know me well but don’t often see me will ask me where I’ve been in the last year because it’s a question almost guaranteed to act as a conversation starter with me.  I structure my life around travel instead of the other way around, and now that I’m traveling to attend various conventions, conferences, and workshops, this has only gotten worse.  When I’m feeling particularly down or stressed, I plan a trip – it doesn’t matter if the trip won’t happen for six months or even more because just looking forward to it will begin to make me feel better.  The closer the trip gets, the more excited I get.  So for instance, I’m traveling to the UK in a little over a week, and I’m internally bouncing just thinking about it.  The difficulty of waiting just adds to the general aura of excitement.

Well, writing this post has put me in a fantastic mood.  Here’s your personal invitation to add to it by telling me about things you like anticipating.

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