“The pleasure of expecting enjoyment is often greater than that of obtaining it, and the completion of almost every wish is found a disappointment.”
~ Samuel Johnson
As we were driving home last night, my son raised his eyes to the lottery billboard and whistled when he saw the staggering jackpot amount. “How much money do you think that is, Mom?” he asked with childlike curiosity. “Too much,” I replied. “Yes,” Michael interjected, “after winning a sum like that, one is set for life. His children and grandchildren will be, too. “
When he said that, the first image that popped in my head was that of a group of dysfunctional, unhappy individuals, so I shared that thought with my son. He agreed with me, and said that he doesn’t even enjoy stuff that much, unless he has saved up for it.
Our conversation led me to think back about my childhood years, when the mere thought of surprises on the way was enough to fill me with excitement and expectation. I loved Christmas eve as a child; that magical, thrilling time when one’s head fills with expectations and the heart is ripe with hopeful wishes. As excruciating as it was, waiting for the big day was painfully delicious. I still remember looking in awe at the pretty packages under the tree, and fantasizing about the contents.
Then Christmas Day came. We were happy, the tree was assaulted, the gifts opened, and the house was filled with cheerful thoughts and good wishes; yet, something was also a bit sad—another year had to pass before another Christmas. Though they were usually what we had petitioned for, the joy at seeing the actual gifts paled in comparison to the feeling of absolute wonder from the day before.
We often feel that we should expedite events in our lives, but we sadly forget to notice that the best part of achieving anything is indeed the expectation of receiving the blessing. If we take time to listen within, our energy in those moments is fueled by pure hope; if we could bottle up our excitement, and save it for a rainy day, life would be much simpler and more enjoyable.
When looking ahead, the final destination is only one of the blessings of the journey; the rest of it—including expectations—is the part we must truly cherish and be thankful for. Disappointment can be a crash to the ego, but it can also open the door to creativity and motivate one to reach a lot further.