Back in the days when my my bed alternately sported Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles, my family, still a cohesive unit at that point, would take yearly trips to Disneyland. Not yearly as in every year, but often enough that I can't readily distinguish between visits.
As these trips would approach, I would become the typical child I rarely was- should I get Chip or Dale's autograph first? Would we swim in the pool every day? And no, I can't clean my plate because how could one think of eating when Peter fuckin' Pan is so close I can practically feel the breeze as we fly over London?
I'm fairly positive I didn't actually say fuck. And my parents never made me clean my plate. But you know. Generalizations.
My dad was consistent in addressing my overwhelming anticipation, much to my elementary dismay.
"This moment is the best of the whole trip. Before you know it, it'll all be over, and it'll be a good time but nothing will get you quite as excited as dreaming about what could happen."
That's not verbatim. I still had a gap in my teeth, and with the understanding that twenty years have passed and me currently being two nightcaps deep, that's the gist. You get the point.
The most brilliant moment in your life still won't make your heart race like it did when you imagined it the day before.
And that's not a bad thing. But as adults we learn that this is a double-edged sword. Anticipation is a magical feeling, but if allowed to manifest without restraint, even great experiences are followed by an asterisk even if you'd never in a million years admit it's there.
It was great, but...
The key is to separate the excitement and the expectation.
Tonight, the longest day of the year, I am signing a non-disclosure agreement. I'm double checking my driving directions, and trying to find matching dress socks without holes in the toes. Not that I anticipate having to take my shoes off, but just in case. I'd die of humiliation if I looked like the bumpkin that couldn't afford decent socks. I don't have a job interview tomorrow. I have the job interview - the one that would validate my degree, the one that doesn't have a downside, the one that would allow me to order an appetizer without thinking twice about whether it was a special enough occasion.
Generalizations, but more true than not.
That kind of a job interview.
And I'm excited. But after a handful of fool-me-once occasions, I'm cautious on the expectations. Tapping the breaks, here's the truth as it stands: I have a job. I have a bed. I have people that love and support me. And after the handshakes are released and the "describe a time when you overcame adversity" situations are addressed, my life will go on. And it's exciting to think about new responsibility, new experiences, and making actual money. But it's just that, a thought. An expectation.
This weekend I'm driving to LA to see a smattering of Best Friends, capitalization intended, and everything will be perfect because I expect nothing and am excited for everything. Maybe we'll embark on the sort of ridiculous booze-fueled adventures that we'll bring up at each others weddings. Or maybe we'll just sit and talk for hours, making the same jokes that continue to prompt laughter no matter how many times they're repeated.
It's about separating the excitement from the expectations.
A lot could change tomorrow. Or nothing could change at all. Generalizations, but either way on this, the longest day of the year, I'm sure as the sun finally sets that it will rise again tomorrow. And regardless of what happens, I don't feel foolish for expecting more good things just over the horizon.