I was introduced to a new word the other day: anticipointment. Without even going into the definition, I bet all of you know what I’m talking about. But just for kicks, I found this definition on urbandictionary.com:
“A gut wrenching emotion felt deep in the belly of a person unrealistically looking forward to an upcoming event immediately after the reality of extreme disappointment has replaced the anticipated happiness.”
Yep. We’ve all been there. Although I think this definition is a little on the dramatic side. The emotion may not be that gut wrenching; the looking forward to might not be that unrealistic; and the disappointment might not be that extreme. Yet we’ve all felt its sting.
One theory on the term’s origin is that it was coined by a 1960’s ad agency as a holiday card punchline. It was the answer to the question: “At this time of year, just one word sums up the feeling in all our hearts.”
Ain’t that the truth. So much hype, so little actualization. And not just with holidays. Birthdays, movies, restaurants, sporting events. All risk not living up to expectations. Maybe the answer is to not get our expectations up in the first place, but as I think about that solution, it seems so… well… boring.
What would life be like if we had nothing to look forward to? Yes, lowering our expectations may be the answer, but we risk robbing ourselves of the giddiness that comes from so looking forward to something. Like Janet raising her eyebrows as she waits for Tim Curry to finish delivering his line in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show:” “I see you shiver with antici… [wait for it] … pation.”
We’ll probably never get rid of anticipointment entirely but I suppose we can try to temper our expectations. Like most things, balance is the key. With this super-hyped, consumer-driven, plastic world, we should know better than to get our hopes up too high.
Being Human connection: Anticipation is good; necessary even. But keep it real.