Anticipation is savoring the future, but there are two other ways to savor that will make creating something to look forward to all the more worthwhile: Savoring the moment and then reminiscing about it. Once you’ve spent time anticipating the experience, make sure you actually enjoy the experience. In our text-happy, social-media saturated culture, there is a temptation that didn’t used to exist: The temptation to tell everybody what you’re up to while you’re up to it! Resist the urge. Fully engage in your moment once it arrives. Cherish it. Feel it. Taste it. Savor it. This very moment will never come again.
When I was a little girl in Panama City, Florida, I looked forward with great anticipation to getting to play in the backyard. It wasn’t just any backyard. Somehow, we lucked out. We lived on an Air Force base and our house just happened to be on the side of the street that backed up to the Gulf of Mexico. The view was spectacular. So at 5 or 6 years old, one of my favorite pastimes was sitting on my swing set in the middle of the backyard and watching the dolphins jump and play around three large poles about 100 yards from the water’s edge. I’d count the number of dolphins and number of jumps. I’d get excited when they jumped completely over a poll rather than just bobbing out of the water. It was a real treat for me when the dolphins decided to play.
Just a few months before I turned seven years old, my parents brought me into the kitchen to explain that we were moving. I didn’t really comprehend the concept at first – it had never occurred to me that we’d live anywhere other than where we were. And we weren’t just moving down the street or even to another city. We were moving to another country: West Germany. As the time neared for us to move, my six-year old mind decidedly wanted to forever remember what it felt like to sit in the blissfulness of that backyard ritual. Somehow, even at that young age, I knew how special it was. I recall sitting on my swing, telling myself the year and the place and taking a mental snapshot of the beautiful view in front of me. Even now – decades later – I can close my eyes and feel transported to that joyful moment in time.
Savoring is a powerful to induce positive emotion. There are three ways we savor – the past, present and future. Although anticipation is about savoring the future, it is worthy to note that you can also generate positive emotion by savoring the moments you once anticipated. Whether it is a mental snapshot, a photographic snapshot or a conversation reminiscing about a special moment, savoring the past is one way to extend the joy beyond the moment. Think back to a vivid, specific moment in your life when you were filled with joy. What happened? How did you feel? Who were you with? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!