By Anita GarnerChristmas Eve is the end of one of my favorite seasons. It’s not the holidays I’ll miss, it’s the looking-forward-to part.
People have asked many times through the years, don’t you think it’s too early to start talking about that trip, house, project, job, visit, etc.? No. It’s never too early. The best part about anticipation is that I can begin whenever I please.
Here’s why I love it so much. Anticipation is the only part of an experience I can control, so when I think of an upcoming event, it’s the leading-up-to I concentrate on.
Here I sit surrounded by gift-wrapped packages and lights and provisions for a bountiful dinner tomorrow, and my thought is, I only have one more night before the Season of Anticipation ends. So, yeah, a little bit sad, but I’ll snap out of it. There’s a whole year full of new anticipations waiting.
Thursday’s my favorite day of the week. A Thursday’s as good as a Friday, in terms of anticipation, and anticipation is the key. Looking forward to something is often more fun than the “something” when it actually arrives. The one thing we can decide all by ourselves is what and how much we’re anticipating.
On Thursday, whether or not there are weekend plans, I look forward to the weekend. This was true even when I worked weekends, and it’s true today when I am more or less in charge of my own work schedule. There’s no accounting for this little fizz of joy that bubbles up around afternoon coffee time on a Thursday. It’s the feeling that something good might happen.
When I was a kid and a brand new member of the workforce, I bought the “hump day” reasoning. Everyone talked about how great Wednesday would be, because it’s the halfway point in the week. But that didn’t last long. It never did carry the anticipation of a Thursday.
On the opposite side of this falls the least favorite day of the week. Sunday seems to be the letdown point for lots of us. Some say it goes back to childhood when, by Sunday afternoon, fun was done and a new school week loomed.
I’m thinking maybe it’s the letdown from all that Thursday anticipation. But I’m not giving up the Thursday feeling just to alleviate the Sunday afternoon blues. Anticipation is still the only part of the week I can control.
People often pick Sunday night as the worst part of the week. Not the daytime, but the late afternoon into evening part. It’s the time when we realize the weekend is over. Even if it’s been a lousy weekend and we should be glad it’s over, still we dread Monday.
I’m surprised how many people I know who, all through their adult lives, confess to a vague sense of dread as Sunday comes to a close. Is it the memory of having to give up our free time and go back to school Monday morning? Even mature adults who love their work and don’t mind at all showing up on Monday, say they deal with feelings of melancholy on Sunday night.
My favorite day of the week is Thursday, because on Thursday, we’re already through half of the week and headed into the part where we’re looking forward to a weekend. Though I work at home and don’t have to show up anywhere most Monday mornings, I still get that looking-forward-to rush every Thursday.
The one thing in life I feel I can control is anticipation. People say “Don’t get your hopes up.” I like getting them up. So I like Thursdays the way I enjoy most of the nights-before: The night before a birthday, for instance, and the ultimate night-before – Christmas Eve.
In fact, I like Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day. It doesn’t have to do with presents expected, but more to do with having everything waiting and yet to unfold. Christmas Day requires special maneuvering to keep it from feeling a bit like Sunday night.
So Thursdays are like Christmas Eve, when hopes are high and all things are still possible.
Ó Anita Garner 2008