Anticipation is the purest form of pleasure. And the most reliable. And that while the things that actually happened to you would invariably disappoint you, the things that never happened to you would never dim, never fade. They'd always be engraved on your heart with sort of a sweet sadness to them. ~ Flaubert
I stumbled upon this quote from Flaubert’s Sentimental Education the other night as I was having a rather enticingly thought provoking conversation about the expectation that often comes with anticipation. The premise being that what we anticipate in terms of an encounter, an occurrence or even a relationship, inevitably falls short of the expectation. How often do we build up in our minds what we think will happen simply based on a past experience, happenstance or worse, our own fantasy?
The mind is a complex and intangible thing. Like air, we know it exists because we need it everyday to live. It is our consciousness, our thought process, our self. The quandary is that it is not always aligned with the reality of the world that surrounds us. This is where the anticipation comes to play and the expectation plays with us. Like puppets on a stage, we spin an elaborate story based on our past, rooted in our present and often betting on what we hope to be our future. Flaubert may seem a bit cynical in saying that the things that actually happen inevitably disappoint, but the truth is, our mind always remembers what we had hoped would happen and our heart is catastrophically disappointed when it doesn’t.