I once read an article that explained how people who actively devote time looking forward to a vacation enjoy their trip more than those who don't complete this mental exercise. Just a little positive premeditation, it seems, sets you up for success. It's good for us to look forward with expectation.
Lately, I notice that I've been looking forward to many things, but in one particular way: I've been looking forward to things being over. I'm ready to cross obligations off my list and wrap up the final four weeks of the semester, which is a natural desire when you feel stretched thin and confounded by an impossible ratio of how much work you need to
accomplish versus how little uninterrupted time you actually have to
Essentially, I've hit a point when there's simply not enough of me to go around, a point when I feel like I'm drowning without being near water.
I'd like to tell you that I've handled matters maturely during the past few weeks, with grace and faith and good humor and the wise perspective that this is a light and momentary trouble, but that would be a lie. No, even though I'm in the final leg of this endurance race -- not only in terms of finishing this individual semester, but also because my afternoons will be open for the first time in ten years when my youngest starts kindergarten next fall -- I've struggled to believe that I can finish. I've had a few ugly cries, and a short temper, and one incident in the kitchen where I dramatically threw a plastic measuring cup and the handle broke off, which felt liberating for a minute until it didn't, and then I felt worse than before.
It's time to look forward to something. (Besides from reaching the bottom of a stack of papers while grading late into the night, that is.)
I'll start small.
I'm looking forward to spending an hour wandering the aisles of T.J. Maxx or Target without any agenda on a solo shopping trip. I'm looking forward to bringing home a full tote bag of great books from the library. I'm looking forward to scouting out the garage sales that will crop up as the weather breaks. I'm ready to immerse myself in home projects and closet organization, spend entire afternoons playing with the kids, and reconnect with friends. I'm looking forward to being in a position when an unproductive hour doesn't come with the severe cost of falling behind.
I can almost taste it. And I'm pretty sure that looking forward to these pleasures, along with God's grace, will be be exactly what I need to tide me over until they actually come.