Anticipation can be just as fun as the event

Remember when you were a kid and you looked forward to a vacation for what seemed like an eternity? It was like you were in some sort of time-warped holding pattern. You thought about it and dreamed about it and obsessed about it until you were sure you were going to die before the day finally came. I remember feeling like I was about to burst out of my skin the eve of my family vacation every year.

I still look forward to trips and such, but I’ve learned some patience as I’ve gotten older. I usually don’t get really excited until right before I leave on vacation because if I did then I would never be able to concentrate on my daily life for weeks before getting on the plane. And then, quick as a wink, it’s over, and you wonder how you could put so much energy into something that lasted for such a short time.

Our wedding was a similar event. After it was over, I had a deflated feeling. I was happy to be married, but a part of me missed all the anticipation of the big day. But there were other things to look forward to – opening our gifts was one. Then we got to go on a beach honeymoon. Then we just enjoyed the newness of being married.

And then, as they say, life went on. We went back to our regular life of working, paying bills, taking care of our animals, spending time with family, and household chores. And now we are in the time-warped holding pattern – only the things we are looking forward to are buying a house and starting a family. We want to get to the next stage of our life but we have some kinks to work out first.

Awesome’s work shift changed to an overnight, weekend schedule, making it nearly impossible for us to spend any sort of quality time together. I’m budgeting so we can make extremely large payments on our credit card bill and auto/school loans so that we can buy a house next year with a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. We are mentally ready to become homeowners and — gulp — parents, but we need to figure a few things out first.

Through all of this we have tried to remain positive and see the good part of the “holding pattern.” We don’t have a mortgage to pay for, and our bills aren’t outrageous, so paying down our debt is relatively easy for us.

Awesome’s new shift is not so great for our quality time, but at least someone is always home to take the dog out, or throw in a load of laundry. I might have a car payment but when I walk outside every morning to go to work I know that my automobile is going to start. We can still enjoy our life now while also dreaming about our life in the future.

So I guess in a way, the fun part of the anticipation is never really over at all, just changed to the next thing you want to accomplish.