When we are in high school and college, most of us are eager to get on with “real life.” Whether our hopes are modest or grandiose, we anticipate, even daydream about the mark we are going to make on the world.
Soon enough, real life arrives and however many roadblocks we encounter over the next few decades, however many adjustments we make to our goals, we generally believe things will get better. Or, at least, I always did.
I don't remember not having an innate sense of expectancy – the feeling that something new, be it large and life-changing or small but delightful – would happen soon. As often as not it did and even when it was not on the delightful side of the ledger, it was never boring.
Then, ten years ago, as over several months I came to understand that I really would not get another job, that no one would hire me again, it faded away.
I didn't feel it happening to me, that loss. I recognize that it died back then only in retrospect and all I can compare it to is a cat named Beau who lived with me for 19 years. Until the last few weeks of his life, he woke every day as if it were the cat equivalent of Christmas morning. His joy at greeting the dawn was limitless.
That's the feeling I lost even if mine was not quite as exuberant as Beau's. The universe regularly surprised me and it was something good often enough that I never stopped looking forward to the next one.
Until I didn't anymore.
I recalled all this when, recently, these words came to mind: “the best is yet to come.” Those exact words, as I stood washing dishes one evening, popped to mind from nowhere and it felt like a homecoming.
My old friend of so many years, that sense of expectation, had returned and until it did – or, until I realized it had – I hadn't noticed how lonely I'd been for it.
Since then, I have thought about how crazy it is at age 73 to feel the same way about the future as I did at 20 and 30, 40 and even 50. But there it is, as comfortable as an old shoe and I trust it as much as I did for the first 60 years I had it.
Or am I delusional?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joyce Benedict: The Amazing X Factor