Thursday, March 29, 2012

That youthful feeling of anticipation

Have you ever wondered what happened to that “feeling” you had when you were young, teenage and twenties? That magical feeling where everything was new, exciting, and an adventure, where sometimes the outcome was good and other times it was bad? The joy and the heartbreak, the celebration and the disappointment? The dreaming, the desires, the unanswered questions?

I have come to the realization that that feeling that we all fondly remember as we grow older was “anticipation.” There were so many things that we all needed to experience before we could move on to the next step. What does it feel like to hold a member of the opposite sex in your arms at your first school dance? To kiss? To smoke a cigarette? To be in a high school play? To be disciplined by your school teacher or principal?

Now that we are older, these feelings are remembered when triggered by songs that we listened to in that era, in dreams, through pensive thought, by seeing a photo of a classmate in the news or on the Internet, through TV commercials, by watching an old TV show rerun or by seeing an old music group perform in a late night commercial to sell you a collection of sounds from your youth.

What ever happened to that magical feeling? Why do we no longer ever feel that way? The answer is because once we have experienced all of these things, there is nothing left to anticipate! We have experienced love and hate, acceptance and rejection, accomplishment and failure, good health and illness. We have experience working at jobs, buying a car or a house, marriage, childbirth, raising a family, travel, hobbies. The only thing that remains a mystery is death. With possible exceptions, all else has been experienced in one form or another and to various extents and results.

Oh, if we were only able to retain that feeling throughout our whole life. Perhaps some people do. Perhaps that is what makes some people exceptional in one way or another – poets, authors, actors, writers, teachers. I can’t imagine how anyone is able to retain this feeling once there is nothing left to anticipate. The memory of this feeling exists within us all. Some call it nostalgia, some call it melancholy. It comes to us often as we think of past events, or is triggered by a postcard announcing a class reunion or an obituary in the newspaper. There is a popular saying, “If you don’t learn from history, then you are bound to repeat it.” Ah, if only we could, but the sad part is that we have learned from our past. Each of these events has molded us into who we are today. Our past has shaped our beliefs, the way we act, the way we think, and the way we respond.

When this feeling comes to you, embrace it. Linger with it. Reminisce and enjoy. And most importantly, do all you can to assist and support others around you that are going through this for the first time – your family, your neighbors, your friends, your students. Become part of their memories, and hopefully, become a positive influence in the shaping of someone’s life and the molding of someone’s success!