My anticipation for future events has dimmed a little over the years. I used to be bursting with enthusiasm for school trips to the beach (a mile away), but now can’t muster that same level of excitement for long-haul holidays. I do still look forward to things though, and believe that part of the fun of something is the build up to it. Sometimes if your life isn’t a bed or roses you need to make little plans. Plans can spark enthusiasm for the future. That said, it’s been scientifically proven that anticipation is usually better than reality or retrospection – but it’s still good for you. Here are a few examples when reality didn’t live up to my anticipation:
- Summer holidays – Relaxing quality time with the family and/or friends. Swimming, sunbathing, reading and eating – bliss.
- Reality: Airport fights; near drowning incidents; more fights; wondering where all your money is going; disgust at the amount you’re eating and drinking; being bored by the pool. Looking forward to getting home. No money left.
- Halloween – The creative costumes! Cute children popping in to trick or treat. An entertaining evening of fun!
- Reality: One
childteenager comes to the door. Costume is a McDonalds Uniform. You give him money and eat all the trick or treat food. Feel guilty at gluttony.
- Reality: One
- Black Friday Mega Bargains. I can buy all of my Christmas gifts! I’ll be on there at midnight (adrenalin pumping)!
- Reality: None of the stuff you want is ever reduced. You buy a three month tv subscription that you let run on and pay for a year. You never watch it.
- Christmas – the decorations, the warm fuzzy family closeness, It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD, smiling faces unwrapping treasured new gifts and the fun parties.
- Reality: The tree takes five hours to build; resentment you feel for family members who never visit their parents; Supermarket Christmas tunes in November; feeling like a stuffed turkey. Fake smiles as you open another unexpected gift choice and wonder if people know you at all. Majority of time spent taking twisty wires out of the back of the child’s toy boxes and frantically looking for batteries. In 2015, those who lived alone sat crying as they watched the John Lewis Christmas advert. *I do love most of Christmas though.
- The festive holiday period – rest, relaxation and special times with the family.
- Reality: Skint. Bored. Disgusted with own greed. Cabin fever due to being stuck inside in miserable weather with a child and a lethargic husband. Being unable to fit into any of your ‘going out clothes’ when meeting friends.
- New Years Eve. Let’s party like it’s 1999! Friends and booze and singing and dancing and general all-round merriment.
- Reality: Flu/cold. In the house with nothing on the telly. You begin to question what you’ve achieved this year as a feeling of inadequacy and apprehension engulf you. Around this time Carol Smillie (tv host) raises a glass for all those sitting at home. She has a patronizing glint in her eye. You switch over to Jools Holland to watch the 80 year olds being wheeled out to sing. Toast in the New Year and go to bed at 12.10am (earlier than usual). You feel down.
- Burns Night – your child has practised his Scottish poem for weeks. You’ll be so proud when he recites it! You’ll have a wonderful Scottish dinner and read some poems to the children.
- Reality: Your son loses the contest and throws away the (losers) certificate shouting “this is rubbish!” You forget about the food and rush to Sainsbury’s at 6pm for a pre-packaged Haggis meal. It’s not very nice. Forget about the poems and watch a Box Set.
- Chinese New Year – Perfect night for a great Chinese meal from your favourite takeaway. Looking forward to it!
- Reality: The Chinese takeaway is closed because it’s Chinese New Year.
- Valentines Day – The romance, the gifts, the special meal.
- Reality: Restaurants are fully booked and you can’t get a babysitter anyway. The three of you sit in the house with a fish supper. Your gift is underwear 2 sizes too small. You go to bed with a headache.
- St. Patricks Day – You’ll all go to that Irish pub and have a rare time listening to the Irish music and singing! You’ll drink Guinness!
- Reality: You can’t get into the Irish pub, so go to Weatherspoon’s. There is no music in Weatherspoon’s or any atmosphere. You can get a bottle of wine for £7.50 though. You wonder why every Scottish person knows when St. Paddy’s day is but can never remember St. Andrews day (30th November).
- Easter – We’ll have an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden, eat chocolate for breakfast then decorate boiled eggs and roll down a hill. It’ll be idyllic!
- Reality: Torrential rain, so you have an Easter Egg hunt in the house. Your son finds them in 5 seconds. Nobody wants to leave the house. You have egg sandwiches for lunch. Overwhelming feeling of guilt because you eat your sons chocolate when he’s not looking. You feel more guilt for not talking about Jesus once.
- Camping Trips – The great outdoors! Walks through rugged terrain, children playing outdoors, family bonding, laugher and campfire songs.
- Reality: You can’t work out how to put up the humongous tent. Argue with husband. Can’t sleep for the cold and strangers snoring. When you’re finally not an ice-block (in the middle of the night), you have to leave the tent to walk half a mile for the toilet. Not allowed camp fires. Take tent down in the pouring rain. Argue with husband. Vow never to camp again.
- A night away as a couple – Romantic meal, deep and meaningful conversation, lots of sex.
- Reality: Talk about children. Argue about housework/money. Eat too much. Tired due to too much food and drink. In bed asleep for 9pm. No sex.
The wonderful thing about life is that things can work out better than anticipated. I’ve lost count of the events I didn’t want to go to that ended up being a joy!
Lesa is an average person, living an average life and is moderately happy with her lot. There are peaks of bountiful happiness and pleasure and dips of turmoil and flatness. Lesa doesn't let life's set-backs knock her down or think she's invincible when she achieves greatness. She's finally realised that nobody is perfect and the purpose of life is to embrace it with all she's got and to give what she can to others. Oh, and try to have a lot of fun along the way.
Lesa has no idea why she's writing in the third person; she never does that.