Recently, I’ve been conflicted. I feel as though I came to Senegal with very few expectations. In fact, I had more concerns about the long flights I would have to endure to get there than the country itself. Ironically, those turned out to be no big deal either. I think, more often than not, we get more upset by anticipation rather than action. For example, many people would start worrying while anticipating a trip to Senegal, but will probably really enjoy themselves while actually there.
This brings me to wonder why we are hardwired to only anticipate all of the bad things that could happen. This is why I didn’t think about Senegal a lot in the weeks leading up to the trip; I knew I would only focus on all of the frightening scenarios my mind would create. In some ways, I think that it would be more human to focus on the bad as a means of accounting for everything that could go wrong. But that begs the question, how do you consider avenues for a future that may or may not exist, good or bad?
This is a recurring question in my life. I understand the value of living in the moment and enjoying life in its present glory, but something about that notion leaves me unsatisfied. Maybe its misguided hope or general stubbornness, but I like to think that I was meant to look towards the future. Not because the present is unfulfilling, but because the future is a blank canvas.
So, when you find yourself worrying about trivial things like an exam mark or a financial report, or not such trivial things like a last minute trip to Africa, just remember that anticipation can go both ways. Live in the moment, but live in a moment where you are working towards an even better future. Anticipate the opportunity that exists within uncertainty.