A Year of Gifts
I love that tiny spark I feel deep inside when I’m looking forward to something special. It may be as simple yet powerful as keeping an eye on the clock during a slow Friday afternoon at work while I look forward to a fun evening out with friends. Or waiting for one of our kids to pull into the driveway, home for a weekend visit.
Whether we are waiting for the arrival of a momentous occasion or we’re holding our breath as we wait for something slithery to peek around the corner in that scary movie we’re watching, the thrill of anticipation gives spice to our days.
Have you noticed how some people don’t like to wait for anything? We’ve all seen the impatient driver speed through a red light or heard the blare of their horn, communicating their frustration when the world isn’t moving fast enough for them. Their bad mood can quickly spread to those around them, and even if their crappy driving doesn’t cause an accident, it's sure to steal the sense of calm you were likely enjoying a moment earlier.
What if we dial things back a click or two, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that there are certain things in life worth waiting for, things that shouldn’t be rushed?
It's rare these days to see a groom’s face light up when he sees his bride for the first time on their wedding day, walking down the aisle toward him at the start of the ceremony. Usually, they’ve already spent hours together, getting wedding photos out of the way beforehand because no one likes to wait to do pictures later. We even caved to this practice thirty years ago, but I fear some of the potential romance of the day is lost.
And what is with this trend for new parents to hold “gender reveal” parties? I may be in the minority on this one, but I think one of the greatest reveals in life is when your own child is born and, after nine long months of waiting, you finally find out whether you will be raising either a daughter or a son. “But Mom, it’s so much more practical to know what you’re having so you can get the right color clothes and set up the nursery in advance,” my kids have argued with me. No, none of them are parents yet, but they already have strong opinions on the topic.
Do you remember when we used to have to wait a week in between episodes of our favorite television shows? There used to be that one night each week when you looked forward to the TV line-up. That’s been replaced by things like Netflix and other streaming devices. Now you can binge-watch your latest and greatest favorites all in one weekend, and the annoyance of commercials is nearly a thing of the past. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but sometimes I wonder if this nearly insatiable desire for more, for bigger, for ever more edgier topics and higher shock value, all in the name of entertainment, is having serious drawbacks.
Hours of binging on episode after episode of easily consumable entertainment will usually leave me feeling depleted, lethargic, and even guilty because I worry it was all a huge waste of my time.
Do you binge on your favorite shows and then regret it later? Is there a better way?
I know I’m not the only one that prefers to read a book before I watch a movie based on the same story. Why is this? I suspect it’s because allowing our imaginations to turn the words on paper into our own personal interpretations of the characters, the dilemmas they face and even their surroundings can be so much more fulfilling than the condensed version the “experts” will create out of the author’s words. Our imaginations are boundless, but the resources of the movie producers—not so much.
I love when I get drawn into a book series, how an author carefully constructs the storylines of each book, pulling me through as she or he builds anticipation. Some questions will be answered as we go, giving us a sense of accomplishment, but we are kept guessing about other open plot lines. I trust that the author has every intention of weaving in the answers eventually, and I enjoy the sweet anticipation as I read my way through the series.
As an author, I enjoy the fun challenge of trying to find this balance. Most readers love the slow build, but a few get impatient and frustrated. They want answers now. What is it they say about writing something everyone will like? You guessed it—if you try to write something that will appeal to everyone, it’ll likely appeal to no one.
We all enjoy different rhythms and tempos in life, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to pop in here to remind us all (me included) that there is value in slowing down a bit, in giving ourselves the gift of something to look forward to as we navigate life.
We lose so much if we rush towards the punch line. In a world where it can feel like all we do is hurry from one thing to the next, we need to make room for a measure of patience.
Have you noticed that the time leading up to a big trip you’ll be taking is often just as much fun as the trip itself? Having something to look forward to can brighten our days well in advance of our departure date.
Some of you may remember the iconic Heinz ketchup commercial: the tilted glass bottle, the thick, red condiment slowly inching its way downward, all to a familiar little ditty about “anticipation” and “making me wait.”
So many things in life are more fun if you give them time to develop:
Even something as simple as a pot of chili, simmering on the stove on a cold autumn day, will be so much tastier if you let it bubble for a while.
Don’t rob yourself of a good thing by demanding all the answers too soon. Let things build. Give yourself the gift of that little thrill. As Alfred Hitchcock once said, "there is no terror in the bang, just in the anticipation of it." Brilliant!
We’d all benefit from slowing down the pace of this insane rush through our own lives. I suspect that when each of us reaches the end of our days, we’ll regret getting there so quickly.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!