Anticipation is a worthwhile emotion.

Had we no thoughts of brighter things to come, how might our lives be different?

In April, when the cold winds taunt us, we know the blossoming of daffodils and crocuses portend warmer days where we may lounge in the sun on porches and lawns.

When work days are long and hectic, we’re assured 5:30 p.m. is coming. On Monday, there’s the promise of Friday.

Many years ago, an older colleague three days from vacation said the anticipation of time off is the best part of the week — even better than the vacation itself.

I recall another colleague returning from time off, sitting down at his desk and being asked by a young reporter how his vacation was.

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“Better than this!” he replied, to laughter.

How many of us, shuffling and squirming on hard classroom chairs in June, imagined the joy of being in that scene outside the window?

And, riding home on the school bus, envisioned bolting through the kitchen door to the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and the latest family news?

All of life is about expectation, and when the future holds promise, we are happy souls.

Word of a relative in the military getting leave to come home, announcement of a new baby on the way, an old friend planning a summer visit — these are some of the things that stir excitement.

I laugh when I recall my younger self, at 13, waiting anxiously for my older sister and her husband to return from Europe after having been gone for several months. I was babysitting across town the day they were to arrive and waiting for the hours to click down was excruciating.

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When we were young and our lives were simpler and less technologically oriented, anticipation and impatience seemed to go hand-in-hand.

The day our cousin and her parents from New York were due to arrive in summer, my sisters and I would sit on the lawn for  hours, watching every car that appeared in the distance to see if it had New York plates.

We looked forward to hanging May baskets filled with candy on neighbors’ doors on the first day of the month every year,  frolicked on the Maine coast on the Fourth of July, saved our quarters all year for the arrival of the Skowhegan State Fair in August and couldn’t wait for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Memorial Day holidays.

How dull would life be if we had nothing to look forward to, no expectation of surprise, a dearth of engagements on the calendar?

Absent natural disasters, poverty, illness and war, we are the keepers of our own destinies and as such, have the authority and ability to create the occurrences that generate anticipation and thus, happiness.

We should count ourselves lucky as we reap the rewards of an easy life. Others aren’t so fortunate.

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As I travel my own path, decidedly a blessed one, I can’t help but think of the current victims of war, poverty, illness and natural disasters, and know “There but for the grace …”

Experiencing anticipation, no matter how small or simple the want or wish, should be God-given.

Imagine having no such ability in a world rife with wealth, power and promise.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 34 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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