October 15, 2006

Everyone needs something to look forward to. Without it, there's nothing to keep us going. But there is a big drawback. As soon as it has happened, you're back to square one. Even as it's happening, you may begin to feel strange and wonder what that feeling is. I can tell you what it is. It's the void creeping back and reminding you you've got to come up with something else, fast, or you're going to crash.

All of my life I've had to have something to look forward to, and it's a constant struggle to replenish. It's exhausting, like laundry. As soon as it's done, you're already into the next load. It used to be that I could look forward to growing up. I hung onto that for as long as possible.

Even though I had a suspicion it would be a let-down, I didn't really accept it until I was 30. That's when it hit me: 30 more years to fill?

What you have to look forward to depends on your frame of mind. When I'm in a relationship, it's getting dressed up, looking pretty and seeing the person I'm in love with. Or maybe it's having them see me. When I'm not in a relationship, I'll look forward to getting out of my comatose depression.

I may find myself looking forward to a TV show. But whenever that happens I think: that's all I have to look forward to? A TV show? Then I get depressed all over again.
My friend Liza always makes sure she has a date lined up. That gives her something to look forward to. Once she is on the date, it's another story. Then she can look forward to it ending.

Because my father lives so far away, I've had talking to him and seeing him to look forward to. So last week, I called him in Bali. I told him I was looking forward to our trip to Italy. He said he was too. I told him I was looking forward to us having some time together, face to face, to reconnect and talk. "What are you looking forward to?" I asked. He said he was looking forward to getting off the phone.

My friend Heather is in love and all she can talk about is how much she's looking forward to the weekend, looking forward to the evening, looking forward to lunch. Today my lunch was a yoghurt and half a brownie. Sadly, I looked forward to the brownie.

And then it was gone. Which is precisely the problem. Now what do I have? My eyesight is deteriorating, my skin is only going to get blotchier, my metabolism is slowing down and my cholesterol is going up. I suppose I can look forward to my next blood test.
I tried to think of more things today.

I looked forward to there being only a few more hours before I could go to sleep. Oh, and my hair's getting longer. That cheered me up for about 10 seconds. Then I remembered as soon as that happens I'll have to book an appointment to get it cut.

Worst of all, I was working on a story about someone who has just had his leg amputated. He said he was looking forward to getting a prosthetic leg and going horse-riding. You'd think that would put things in perspective - but it didn't. He has something to look forward to and I don't. I felt even worse.

I think that the whole idea of looking forward to something might be the problem. So from now on, I'll look forward to nothing. That way, I won't feel let down.