On Saturday we will leave the Indian summer in our nation's capital to join my husband's family for a week in even sunnier Florida. It will be our second such trip in as many years - a sweet tradition of cousins playing together on the beach, preparing and enjoying meals as a family, and soaking up the sunshine.
As the day of departure nears, my daughter is positively beside herself. Swimming! Cousins! Airplanes (the hassle of modern air travel has yet to outweigh her excitement...)! Each morning begins with the same question, "How many days until we go to Florida?" and most days end with her informing us of all the fun things she plans to do with the cousins.
Her father and I are - at this point - somewhat less exuberant. It isn't that we aren't looking forward to it (we are!). Nor is it that we don't want to go (we do!). But where the babe sees only fun in the sun with some of her favorite people, my husband and I see all that needs to be done between now and then: the meetings that need to be cancelled or converted to conference calls, the clients who need to be rescheduled, the packing and preparations, putting in the mail hold, and coordinating with the cat sitter, among other things.
As adults, many of us have lost the ability to embrace the excitement inherent within anticipation. We see the practicalities and inconveniences rather than the joy they portend.
You may not be heading off for a week at the beach, but chances are there is something on the horizon you can look forward to, whether dinner with a good friend, a visit to or from a favorite family member, or the upcoming holidays. Any future event can - and perhaps should - be a source of enthusiasm. As you look ahead on your calendar, can you turn off your inner curmudgeon and let yourself be exuberant? Can you embrace the radiance that lies around the corner?