Age of Anticipation

Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out this week. I’m seeing it on Wednesday evening. I bought my tickets a few weeks ago, keen to see it as early as possible. I’ve waited 3 years for this movie. I’m not having it spoiled at the last by some over-eager reviewer on Facebook.

It’s just a movie, but I’m excited. I love stories, and the universe Marvel has created has become one of my favourites. I’ve looked forward to each new instalment, snatched up advance screening tickets to see it first and marked the days til my friends and I see Iron Man blast bad guys again.

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It does, however, make me realise that we so often live in a world of anticipation. When work is slow or my weekends quiet, I rely on the future to stay motivated. Looking forward to things – holidays, birthdays, Christmases or new movies – often gets me through life’s duller moments. We look to the future, sometimes excited, sometimes fearful, when perhaps we’d be better served focusing our energies on the present.

While looking forward to things can be an useful motivator, an effective way to cope with stress, I worry about living in constant anticipation. I remember eagerly awaiting my First Communion as a child, only to find the event underwheming and over with faster than thought. When you spend your days in waiting and commit such energy and excitement, you are sure, sooner or later, to be let down. When you focus your thoughts so heavily on what is to come, surely you miss some of what is.

I am excited to see the new Avengers movie. I’m excited to see Les Mis next months, and for my birthday in August, and Taylor Swift in November and Christmas ahead of that. I mark my time in milestones and look forward to the ones ahead. But as I look to the future, I am trying to keep my head in the present and appreciate what each day has to offer, to live my time rather than bide it.

Not every moment we live will be remarkable. Some, if not many, will be rather ordinary and occasionally boring. Moments of calm, of routine and comfort. The in-between moments that make the highlights possible.

I am seeing the Avengers on Wednesday evening, but first I have Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon slump and Wednesday lunch orders and making dessert for my dad’s birthday. I’ve got trains to catch and laundry to fold and friends to call and a lot to do before Wednesday evening, and I don’t want to wish it away waiting.

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