A Year of Gifts
That little shiver of anticipation… The excitement we feel while we wait to see what’s going to happen... Most of us welcome the intrigue of suspense. But why?
I think part of it is because it’s fun to get a quick break from our everyday routine. Routine can be a good thing. It’s often how we get things done. Taking steps, every day, even if they are small ones, will get us closer to where we want to go in life. But all that routine can get to be a bit monotonous if we don’t spice things up.
So, if suspense can make life fun and interesting, where can we go to find some?
The world of entertainment is an obvious place to start. One of my favorite nights out is still a movie. Dinner beforehand is optional. A big bucket of popcorn, a bag of M&Ms and a large pop is all I really need to feel like I’ve escaped for a bit.
Have you ever noticed how suspense starts to build at the theater even before the feature presentation begins? Large, flashy posters line the hallways, vying for your attention. Then you take your seat. Now, look around the theater before the previews start. A large percentage of people will probably be immersed in whatever they are looking at on their phones. Something they could have stayed home to do and saved their money! But then the lights dim and the reminders to turn off your phone begins. Most are shamed into putting away their devices for the next couple of hours.
Decades ago, brilliant marketers figured out the value of showing snippets of yet-to-be-released films to their captive audiences. More suspense. If one of the previews intrigues you, you might file it in your memory bank for another date night, but you’ll have to wait. When the main movie starts to roll, most opening scenes will start building your curiosity quickly. What is going to happen to the main character? It doesn’t matter if it’s a scary movie, a chick flick or a crazy wild adventure show. Good entertainment needs to build suspense throughout. It provides us an escape from the reality of our everyday lives. For me, I often leave the theater still deep in thought about what I’ve just watched. The story continues to bounce around in my brain.
A great book will do the same thing. It will take you on an adventure and give you a glimpse behind the curtain of other people’s lives. Whether those people are real or fictional doesn’t matter. Allow yourself to become immersed in the story and enjoy the suspense.
How about within our real lives? Where does the element of suspense add texture to our existence?
Big life events are the obvious place to start. How many of you feel torn at weddings when the music queues the bride’s entrance? As you stand, do you turn to try to catch an early glimpse of the bride or do you face forward, watching the groom’s face as his eyes first fall upon his future spouse? You can’t help but wonder if they can yet appreciate the journey they are about to undertake together.
Weddings are important milestones in life, but for me, pregnancy has always offered the most suspense of all. It goes without saying that we all hope the baby is healthy. But what about the sex of the child? Is it a boy or a girl? We used to have to wait nine months to find out. With medical advancements, parents could begin to find out before the child was born if it was a boy or a girl. It used to be that even if Mom and Dad found out early, they’d often keep it a secret up until the big day. Personally, I feel a tinge of sadness when people chose to find out early. It can be one of the few true surprises left in life. And now the big thing is gender reveal parties. In a world where patience is in short supply, few wait the full nine months to discover whether they will be raising a son or a daughter. This is neither good nor bad but does seem to be a missed opportunity to enjoy the anticipation a bit longer.
Current events can hold the world in a state of suspense, even anticipation. Is it the appeal of the feeling of suspense that keeps people glued to “breaking news”? We experience something scary but it’s far enough removed from our “real life” that we are intrigued but not personally threatened. An example of this would be the world’s fascination this past summer over a group of young boys and their coach, caught deep inside a Thailand cave, their safety threatened as the waters rose, cutting off their only way of escape. People worldwide were pulling for them, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. When we cross the line from entertainment to real life, there is so much more at stake. It's an important distinction that shouldn't be blurred. Technology has made the world a much smaller place and we can see what is happening on the other side of the world with a swipe of a finger.
Games and sports also offer time periods of suspense. Stiff competition ramps up the anticipation. If you haven’t tried one of the escape rooms, where you work as a team to figure out a series of tough clues while the clock mercilessly counts down, you are missing out! What a rush of adrenaline.
As the old saying goes, all good things come to those who wait. The longer you wait for something, the more likely you are to appreciate it when it finally arrives. But real life sometimes means waiting for a very long time. This can be difficult to do. It's often worth it, but practicing patience is tough. Watching a good movie or reading a page turner can give you a little break and help you practice patience in other areas of your life.
So, if you’ve been working hard and need a break, take one! You’ve earned it. I plan to do that very thing this weekend. I love music and since Bradley Cooper isn’t hard to look at, I’m looking forward to a night out at the movies to take in “A Star is Born”. What will you do for fun? If it includes a bit of suspense and anticipation… all the better!
And in the spirit of suspense, I’m playing around with trying something a little different with next week’s blog post. But you’ll have to come back in a week to see if I was able to pull it off! 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!