Posts Tagged ‘anticipation’

Time Stops III

2 September 2009

Dear J-

Heading in to Labor Day weekend (hey, it may only be Wednesday for most of us, but it’s a step closer to Friday and therefore the weekend) I’m reminded of school starting up again.  We’ve got just a third of the year to get through, just as I was getting used to 2009 (heck, just used to writing a 2 at the front of my checks).  This time of year back near Spokane meant going to school with a jacket and taking it off for the afternoons — the crisp bite of fall never really materialized until late September — and the last weekend before classes started was filled with the delicious anticipation, fueled by crisp new stacks of paper and school sundries, clothes, and attitudes.

It used to be similar at work; I’d look forward to getting on my bike and heading off into the dark to challenge the work load to beat me, and I’d generally win that battle.  Now it feels as though every step is filled with the heavy shuffle of dread, wondering what thing I did wrong will come back to haunt me.  It’s small consolation to know that if I did nothing at all, then I’d have done nothing wrong; if you identify yourself in the work you do, which may be a double-edged assumption, then you take these things fartoo personally when they blow up on you.

So, instead of anticipation, dread.  Fear replaces curiosity; it’s interesting to see that as the atmosphere becomes more heavy-handed draconian, we’ve replaced the ladder of accountability (either things happen to you, or because of you — you want to be on the top rungs of action) with the fingers of blame.  I find myself second-guessing every action I take lately; perhaps i’ve regressed to second grade, when it was more important to do the worksheets fast and stylishly, not correctly.  Yet if I couldn’t do it right, wouldn’t the villagers be at my door with pitchforks and torches?  Everything comes full-circle, I tell myself, such is the wheel of life; if life is work then I know I’ve made the wrong choices.



High Anticipation

8 January 2009

Dear J-

I used to watch a lot of science-fiction movies; having any Star Wars or Star Trek come on network television was cause for breathless anticipation for weeks prior, and a near-holiday from homework during.  Now with cable and satellite flooding us with a surfeit of choice, I find myself drawn to human-scale dramas.  Sci-fi almost is a victim of its own success:  the more believable the imagery, the less effort I invest in escaping.  Perhaps it’s me, then; as my imagination contracts, I can’t picture far-off worlds the way I used to.  Yet I find that I have no problems breathing life into words jumping off the page.

The lack of sleep boosts my lack of memorable dreams, perhaps.  When I was younger, I would twist in my bed, haunted by possible closet monsters (one in particular, from a Native American legend of a vengeful spirit who would sneak up and nibble on your stomach night by night as you wasted and died), killer bees (again, why do they provide these reading materials to elementary schools?), and sundry movie monsters.  I forced myself to develop a janitor of the mind, if you will — again, under the influence of TV, Dick Clark and Ed McMahon’s bloopers show — I’d visualize little cartoon custodians sweeping images out of my head.  Now my dreams revolve mostly around the past, it seems.

The future holds no surprises any more; now that, supposedly, all the milestones of growing up are in the past, I’m left staring down a long career and retirement.  But it’s not quite that simple — anticipation shrinks from weeks to hours, and simple joys bring greater highs.  It is enough; we are whole.  Paradise is a state of mind, not a place to be sought.  We find fulfillment within, though the occasional trinket never hurts, and delight when possible.