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Edouard Manet: Le ballon [The Balloon] 1862

"Who's to say my Anticipations don't create my future?"

Success must surely be at least ninety percent Anticipations. We more often see what we believe than believe what we see. We might be incapable of moving cleanly into any future, each future first manifesting in Anticipations of what might be seen. It might be most common for one to anticipate worse rather than better. I know I usually first feel a foreboding when considering what's coming. That seems to be my default setting. It requires great concentration for me to warmly anticipate any future. I'm more apt to consider its potential shortcomings than in any way expect blessings. I suppose that I might most often manifest something worse than I would have otherwise conjured had I merely anticipated better.

Leading up to a meeting I've been invited to facilitate, I anticipate disaster.
The preconditions for a disastrous result probably always exist within any anticipation field, but then I suppose I could say precisely the same about the ones for Success. Even if the preconditions for great Success wildly outnumbered the ones for failure, I seem most capable of zeroing in on the few that could preface disaster. In precisely this manner, I seem primed for failure in ways that I'm never, ever primed for Success. This condition might explain why Success so often surprises me, and failure rarely disappoints. Failure arrives like an old acquaintance while Success always seems the perfect stranger.

I arrive at my future poised for recovery, expecting the ceiling to crumble, anticipating a tumble. I often find exactly what I'd expected to find there, though this twisted succession of successful Anticipations does not necessarily render me a wizard. I suspect anyone could mirror my magic by merely projecting negative Anticipation into their future. I might call this weird superpower The Law Of Distraction, for it seems to reliably draw my eye away from positive potential and toward disaster. I reassure myself that at least I arrive more prepared than I would have otherwise been. But then, I couldn't know if I strange-attracted the disaster for which I found myself so well prepared by projecting my negative Anticipations forward. The opposite of paying forward, I might be betraying forward instead, undermining my own potential.

These last few weeks, I have been ferrying our granddaughter, The GrandOther, to school each morning. At thirteen, she, of course, just naturally knows better than anyone around her. She displays the most confounding Anticipations each morning as she repeats almost precisely the same defense. She's definitely not a morning person. Her first suggestion always includes, "Hey, let's not go to school this morning. I'm too tired!!" She employs this defense just as if tired should work as a universal Get Out Of Everything Card. I've taken to coaxing her with the promise of maple bars and even threatened to deposit her at school in her pajamas if she'd rather. I have not seen her warmly anticipate a single day before her, for each seems to feature at least one looming disaster. Yet, when I fetch her at the end of her day, she's so far somehow survived and often has a reassuring story. Monday was the start of a new semester, and the printer was broken the Friday before, so she didn't have her new schedule, so she didn't know where she was supposed to go for first period, so she proposed just not going as the solution to her anticipation problem. By the end of the day, she reported that she absolutely hated her new schedule but was working to improve it, our little problem creator/solver. A chip off older blocks!

I recognize that I'm fully capable of playing precisely this absurd of a game. I make my own brilliant lame excuses and thereby collect my futures just as I've imagined them, another slight disappointment after another, if not another outright failure, with only the very occasional rare successes. I might be the exclusive author of my future, a self-fulfilling prophet dedicated to disappointing himself. If I'm so smart, why am I not happy? It might be that I'm not happy when I'm not happy because I've been so damned busy quietly anticipating disaster that I cannot quite see the many blessings frantically trying to find me. I can sometimes go missing, unable even distantly to anticipate Success. Who's to say my Anticipations don't create my future? Who's to say they do?

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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