The list maker has been gone for five days. Thankfully she’s coming back, but who knows when? Her mother surgery’s to correct the faulty pacemaker issue is scheduled for today. Her mother wasn’t dreading the surgery, but she wasn’t looking forward to the recovery process. Consequently, it will be several more days before the General returns home.
Interestingly, I recently gave some thought to how the concept of favorable anticipation in contrast to dreading something impacts the present. Isn’t it true? I’ve got an example of something that transpired recently, but I was only peripherally involved. Since the story isn’t mine to tell, I’ll let it go. But had the scenario played itself out the way I was told to expect, I was dreading my involvement in the process. When the game plan changed to be more favorable, it lightened the emotional stress I was experiencing.
The point I’m attempting to make is that the circumstances that loomed before me, impacted my level of contentment or sense of peace associated to the present. I suspect the same is true for you. You can be on top of the world one minute and something transpires that alters your frame of reference and immediately your focus shifts.
Several years ago, friends were planning their 75th wedding anniversary celebration and the wife told her husband if he died before the party, she’d kill him. Fortunately, the party subsequently fell into place as scheduled and both parties were present. It was a fun time for a host of their family members and friends.
I also had the sense that anticipation of the upcoming event was a catalyst that promoted a lot of satisfaction for both the husband and wife. Seriously, the privilege of celebrating a 75th wedding anniversary doesn’t come around often. It was something they looked forward to celebrating. Their record garnered respect and admiration from many.
In contrast, reportedly a flamboyant, Bible thumping minister from Oklahoma (Correction – I meant California) I don’t know where that came from. The man was from California has the reputation of being the most often married man. They say seven is the perfect number. “No”, in case you’re wondering, seven isn’t the number of times he said, “I do”. Seven years is the length of his longest marriage. I have the sense that his wife must have been a saint. His shortest marriage was nineteen days. Did I mention he was married 29 times?
Can you imagine the difficulty associated to chronicling his family tree? He had 29 wives, 19 children, 40 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. At the time of his death, no one showed up to claim his body. By default, county authorities in San Bernardino County made his final arrangements. Reportedly, they were planning on cremation.
Sorry, I got off track. The concept of looking forward to something adds an extra dimension of joy to one’s life. What about the contrast of dreading an experience that is to take place? Dread of something anticipated has the ability to spoil the present.
Consequently, the ability to keep a positive attitude and live in the present is an antidote to the emotional stress associated to dread. Give yourself a break. If you are living under the umbrella of dread, close the umbrella and walk in the sunshine. The only real task that matters is to enjoy every minute of today. Let the issues associated to tomorrow go undone until tomorrow gets here.
Many years ago I was dealing with some heath issues that were potentially debilitating. Initially, the thought of what could be eradicated the joy of what was my reality for that day. Consequently, I reformatted my concept of long-range planning. I redefined it as giving myself permission not to look beyond one week out.
Call it baby steps if you want to, but it proved to be an avenue that freed me from the sense of dread. Don’t borrow trouble and don’t let anticipated inconveniences of circumstances over which you have no control steal you joy or your ability to take delight in the day.
I figure my little brother in Oklahoma will probably not opt to repost this blog. If he has read this far, he is probably wondering: “What is your point?” I’m not sure I have a good answer. However, in the list maker’s absence, I’m making a list.
My list for the day includes:
- Schedule the General’s car for an oil change at the dealership this week
- Straighten up the closet by grouping my suits together, sports coats together, dress slacks together, etc. [As a side note, before the General left town she said: “You used to be neat. You are no longer neat. Being “not neat” is not acceptable.]
- Change the filter in the fish pond
I could add four or five other things that need to get done to my list, but adding them will simply be overwhelming and fill me with a sense of dread. Dread spoils the day, so I’m going to stick with the baby steps.
All My Best!