The Antithesis of Anticipation

As the emotions which I experience change from one thing to the next, it triggers memories of past experiences and of family stories I have read or heard.  This week, my thoughts and memories are reliving the euphoric feelings of anticipation and of its antithesis, disappointment.  Why do these two extremes always seem to go together?  Is it possible to experience one without the other? 


Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have learned (quite well I think) to mask how I am feeling on the inside.  While the crowd goes wild at the great performance or unbelievable feat, I am quietly taking it all in.  It doesn’t mean that I am any less impressed or excited.  On the contrary, all my senses are absorbing and storing the experience.  Long after the cheers and applauds have quieted, even after the stadium or stage is dark and empty, the experience is still vibrating inside of me like when it happened.  I guess I am more of a storage device than I am a reflector.  


However, it seems to me that this high is inevitably followed by a low in equal proportion.  It breaks my heart (though I don’t show it on the outside) to watch one of my children, bursting with excitement for a new toy, but then discovers that it isn’t as fantastic as was portrayed on TV.  As I watch their body language change, and I see in their eyes, the realization of being deceived, I am thinking that this is a hard but good lesson for them to learn.  But is it really?  Is the low feeling of disappointment really required as an offsetting balance for the high of anticipation?


Back when my Great-grandpa, Christian Haraldsen was a young boy living in Norway, he heard wild tails of how wonderful and easy life would be when they could live in America.  Life was hard in for him in Norway.  His childhood memories include frantically running through the streets of the city looking for an orange, so he could fulfill his sister’s dying wish for a taste.  That was a bitter memory.  There wasn’t an orange to be found.  At the same time, missionaries were telling Christian and his widowed mother how good life was in America, and more specifically in the Zion of the west.  Christian envisioned a life free of the religious persecution which he knew in his home in Risor.  Later in life he related that after listening to the missionaries talk about Zion, he expected to see “a roasted hog with a fork stuck in its back, just walking down the street waiting to be eaten.”


I can only imagine the great anticipation Christian felt when as a 12 year old lad, he and his family boarded the “Monarch of the Seas” with almost a thousand other immigrants.  The reality of life in the American west was a big let down.  Not only was food scarce and hard work plentiful, but persecutions continued.  Apparently, those missionaries forgot to mention that sinners also lived among the Saints.  In the Hyrum, Utah of 1875, lifting your hat to a passing lady in the street was reason for laughter and ridicule.  Christian had to quickly adapt to the less refined ways of the west.  I wonder how long and deep was his disappointment of real life in the American west.  If I were Christian’s father, observing his disappointment of the real American West versus the advertised American West, I know my heart would ache for him.  But then would I think to myself, “That is a hard but good lesson to learn,” like I do when I see my own children go through disappointment? 


While going to college, a friend and I made plans to cross the United States on a bicycle tour.  After talking and researching and planning for several weeks, he said something that really took me back.  “We’ll probably never go on this trip, but it sure is fun planning it.”  Until then, I had totally planned to follow through with the plans.  But it wasn’t long after that, I met a Beautiful Redhead who later became my Beautiful Wife.  Needless to say, my priorities quickly changed and my college friend was completely right in his prediction.  Of course I was too distracted with my new interest to notice the disappointment of not taking the tour.


Guess that I can store up the emotions of disappointment as well as excitement.  This week I wish I were more of a reflective device and less of a storage device.  I guess I need to go find something new to anticipate.

6 thoughts on “The Antithesis of Anticipation”

  1. In the equation….A/E =S… (Actual over Expected results in the level of SATISFACTION….) we can either limit our expectations or increase our reality.   For some the west WAS wonderful, often based on exceedingly good luck, or very realistic expectations.  WE control the Satisfaction, by our recognition of their relationship..not by being defeatists or thinking we need to perform miracles each and every day.   A man who can find JOY in a vine ripened tomato  and who can learn to dance….has the attriibutes to both reflect AND absorb what it takes to dance WELL,  ride cross country with his boys, learn to ski, or grow strawberrries on the sided of a car door(pretty much like growing them in alkalyne soil)  Highs and lows are NOT causitive but only related…one does not PRODUCE the other, they only ALLOW understanding of the other…make it possible to RECOGNIZE the opposite.  (shades of opposition in all things) so we can then CHOOSE that which we prefer….and if men are that we might have JOY…the choice is clear…to gravitate towards those things which produce joy in our selves and in those we love… or to refuse to  based on past expectations and suffer disappointment or lowered satisfaction as a result … As a man (or woman) THINKETH so is he.  We are not biological beings only…struggling thru our existance…but spiritual entities with dreams that mutate for our own psychological well being…change is rarely difficult when its for the better…always hard when its for the worst…and usually based on how dogmatic we are in our EXPECTATIONS…or how much good fortune allows their fulfillment.   I enjoyed the "reflective" nature of this blog…and wanted to say to you….if you WANT it to happen…watch it happen…failure to do so,  is either a result of fear or worse the fear of disappointment. Be bold…be the YOU you want to be…live the life of your dreams…not the life born of your last realiity…all plots, all soils, all climates are NOT equal….all visions of life are not equal…some minds are furtile with plenty of water(confidence) they produce in abundance enough happiness to fill our storehouses.
    reflectors are good…but but recorders are more substantial….and there is NOTHING that prohibits us from being BOTH…its not an either or life…its a spectral existance. It’s NOT, as you know,  either Red or Yellow…but sunset orange that contrasts with the bold purples and grays and whites of life.

  2. Ron I re-read your blog  a few times…you wrote…"Thanks for your comments to my melancholy blog.  I’m surprised anyone would even read it.  nothing uplifting or entertaining to catch attention.  Mostly therapeutic in just expressing myself with words."
    FIRST I belive that the melancholy state of the soul is the most honest as well as one of the most insightful…I also wanted I wanted to say two things to you…One is that often those who meet up with disappointment create ways to deal with it that serve them all thru-out their life in a most positive way..a cousin once got a toy that didnt live up to expectations…he created a game that used it however which exceeded anything portrayed on TV…he made lemon marangue pie out of lemons…and has done that thruout his life…as a father you can often teach that kind of approach…and probably do…
    The second thing I wanted to say to you is that I appreciate your understanding that this exercise is not for others but for US…If you have time,  I have written about this in my blog #40 I like it for not only the man it describes but for the philosophy it advocates…a pup tent philosophy…where the less we are concerned by what others are thinking…the more likely we are to produce something of worth, because it comes from within us…

  3. Oh you should take the little quizzes.. they are fun.. if you don’t like the results.. you just don’t publish them.. hehe…
      So I guess you will have to tell me what "atoy" means… but you can email that.  Vallerie

  4. Building up our expectation is definitely a part of the recipe for a great let down unless we manage to snatch the victory that can change the whole story around. Storing up our lessons can help us deal with the future but letting go and being reflective can be a good way to enjoy the present – live in the present or prepare for the future. Take your pick 🙂 Have a great day and thanks for sharing the insight!

  5. came to your space from Vallerie’s…  I enjoyed seeing your ancestors photos and wondered about the Scandinavian names.  With the sen on the end, I thought possibly they were Danish, however, I see you mentioned Norway.  Most Norkses I have known used the son spelling.  My grandparents came from Denmark, immigrating in the late 1880s also and homesteading ..
    have a pleasant day. lottiemae

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