Updated: Jan 14, 2019
“When I (fill in the blank), everything will be ok!” I’m sure most of us have said this to ourselves at some point. We all go through times in our lives when we look to our dreams and goals to create a better life. For some of us that (Fill in the blank) could be more money, true love, a better job, a new home, etc. The list can really go on and on. This is what I call Living in Anticipation.
Living in Anticipation is not a bad thing, unless you allow it become so. Anticipation is often the driving force to reach our goals and move along the journey of life. The danger arises when we become so accustomed to Living in Anticipation, that we miss the Here and Now.
I find this a common experience for many in the LGBTQ community. If you are not LGBTQ, imagine the experience of living life with a sense of longing that someday you can have a life fulfilled when you step out of the closet. For some, this process takes years, even decades. Over time, living in the shadows, not being one’s true self, and anticipating a better time when you can step into the light becomes internalized. In a way, Living in Anticipation becomes the norm. For some, after “coming out” it is hard to shake that feeling of anticipation. The excitement over what may be has for so long overshadowed what is, that what is can feel strange and lackluster.
This is not unique to the LGBTQ community in any way. I see many couples struggling with the same internalized sense of anticipation. “When I get that promotion, I’ll have more money and time for my family.” “When we have more sex, we will feel closer.” “When we feel closer, we will have more sex.” In the meantime, the relationship is suffering by one or both members not being present fully in the Here and Now. The drive for the job could lead to missed dinners, conversations, time for intimacy, etc. The drive for improved intimacy could distract from the ways it is being offered that go unseen. The joy of the Here and Now is missed because of Living in Anticipation of something better.
Again, anticipation is not a bad thing in and of itself. It is a driving force in our lives. But, when it takes control and becomes our norm, we fail to flourish. When this happens, we often see people move from place to place, change jobs over and over, become dissatisfied with relationships (intimate and peer). Living in Anticipation leads one to feel unsettled and out of balance. It leads to a constant search for something better and no appreciation for what is.
I encourage you to take a moment for a self-check-in. How satisfied are you with your current relationships and your journey? Do you look down the road or see what is right in front of you? Are you Living in Anticipation or in the Here and Now?