Death of Anticipation
The Christmas season is over and as I reflect back I see that for all it’s rushing and busyness, there is something to be said for a time of year that forces us to wait for something. Christmas Day is the one day of the year that still has the build of anticipation. That giddy feeling that something you really want is coming. That the promise of what’s ahead is so exciting you can barely sleep. It’s a special feeling, and one we are sorely lacking in today’s highly technological and immediate world.
Years ago I read an article in Cookie Magazine about the Death of Anticipation and it stuck with me. Our modern world leaves less and less room for expectation and excitement and in many ways I think that’s a shame. I’ll take you through the top points heralded in Cookie to better illustrate what I mean:
In 1969 Nathaniel Branden wrote The Psychology of Self Esteem which established a link between healthy self esteem and future success. Though I believe this to be true, that a healthy sense of self worth is essential to future success, I believe we might have gone a bit too far. Every child is important and every effort is worthy of praise but we’ve found ourselves in a world where every child gets a medal. Where simply showing up is considered success. A world where children aren’t to be singled out for bad OR good behavior. Loch got his first medal at his pre-school annual Thanksgiving fundraiser. It’s called the Turkey Trot. The kids run as many laps as they can around the school and then everyone gets a certificate printed with their name and number of laps and a medal. I thought this was terrific. He was proud. I was proud. The kids are all included. Whether you did 50 laps or 5, no one is left out. But they’re in preschool. The oldest kid is 5. I think the problem stems from extending this mentality straight through high school. Why should anyone get excited about winning a race when the people who just put on their shoes get as much fanfare. In 1996 Dr. Jean M. Twenge published a fascinating book called Generation Me. Generation Me is defined as anyone born in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. Though being born in the mid 70’s myself, I’d say I see this phenomenon more in the 80’s and 90’s babies, but for the purpose of the example you can lump us 1970’s kids in there. The Me Generation is the generation that take it for granted that self comes first. We’re also known as the Entitlement Generation. “Generation Me has never known a world that put duty before self, and believes that the needs of the individual should come first. This is not the same thing as being selfish – it is captured, instead, in the phrases we so often hear: “Be yourself,” “Believe in yourself,” “Love yourself before you can love someone else.”* These have become some of our most deeply entrenched beliefs.
“We live in a time when high self-esteem is encouraged from childhood, when young people have more freedom and independence than ever, but also far more depression, anxiety, cynicism, and loneliness. Today’s young people have been raised to aim for the stars at a time when it is more difficult than ever to get into college, find a good job, and afford a house. Our expectations are very high just as the world is becoming more competitive, so there’s a huge clash between expectations and reality. More than any other generation in history, the children of Baby Boomers are disappointed by what they find when they arrive at adulthood.” ** The question becomes are we raising our children, and have we ourselves been raised with, unrealistic hopes, undisciplined self-assertion, and endless, baseless self-congratulation.*** You find examples of this in the school system every day. In Canada you can no longer fail a student. Grade inflation is a big gaff of the United States that runs right into college, and “independent spelling” and self grading has become way more accepted than it should. According to Twenge 30% of students polled believed they should pass a class simply because they showed up. If everything we do is fabulous and worthy then how do we adjust when everything doesn’t go our way?
If just being there earns us a medal, it creates a disconnect in our brain regarding what we are worth and what we deserve with very little effort on our parts. In a world where reality stars make more money than doctors what are we teaching our children? It’s the Teen Mom / Kardashian empire phenomenon. I was recently talking to a 17 year old who was graduating from High School and when I asked her what she wanted to do she said she wanted to be a reality star or, tongue and cheek, a trophy wife. It was depressing. She wasn’t really joking. But why shouldn’t she want that? Lack of talent and shame is now a calling card in our society. It’s as if we’ve been told we’re so great for so long that we buy our own press. Why wouldn’t everyone want to know what I’m eating for dinner? Tweet. Why should I start at the bottom of this company? I’m really smart and special. Quit. Why should I work for a company in the first place? I’ll just start my own business. Fail. It’s tough. Upbringing and celebrity culture are at a real cross roads with reality. Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School and author of a book called Ready or Not, Here Life Comes, says “We’re seeing an epidemic of people who are having a hard time making the transition to work — kids who had too much success early in life and who’ve become accustomed to instant gratification” .
I’m all for going out on your own. For entrepreneurial endeavors. For thinking outside the box. Some say it’ll be the new generation of “Me thinkers” that get America on it’s feet again. They’re referred to as “productive narcissists”. Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissitic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails, argues “that businesses that rely on innovation, new technology, and globalization require far bolder leaders who can take risks, shrug off conventional wisdom, project confidence, formulate hyper-ambitious plans, and charm the pants off investors and underlings alike, so that they, too, will make a leap of faith and believe in the next cold-fusion-powered car or the iPod that pays your bills and runs your household.” It is just my opinion that self esteem can be healthy without being over blown, and that once you get past preschool the best project, runner, swimmer, etc. should be the one who goes home with the ribbon. Why would anyone ever practice, strive or work to uncover their talents if they’re taught that everything they already do is amazing and worthy of praise? Who are these people auditioning for American Idol who can’t sing? Or So You Think You Can Dance who can’t dance? Why are their families there with signs that say they’re the best. Why can’t we believe in our children without blowing smoke up their a*%es. Why can’t we love them and support them within the frame of reality? Egos become very fragile when they aren’t based in truth.
It’s hard to anticipate your future successes if you think by simply existing you will succeed. The only people that works for is trust fund babies and supermodels.
But, I digress. Other things we have ceased to anticipate….
In the 1980’s strawberries became available all year round. This might seem simplistic and not worth mentioning but I think it’s indicative of a culture that has placed value more on quantity over quality. Have
you seen strawberries lately? They used to be my favorite fruit. Juicy, sweet, red all the way through and the size of a quarter. Now, you bite into one and it’s almost always white, flavorless and more often than not, the size of a plum. Strawberries were not meant to get that big. We were supposed to eat apples in the fall and strawberries in the spring and summer. To this day I think there is nothing more delicious than a Ontario grown summer peach. But I don’t want one in the middle of February. Just like I don’t want Turkey in May. I’ll wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In our efforts to give everyone what they want when they want it, we’ve sacrificed the very thing we desire. It’s the waiting that makes it special.
In 1987 the sonogram was perfected to let us know the sex of our baby with almost 100% certainty and without a great aunt twirling a spoon over our belly. Now, I would be a hypocrite to critize this technology as I found out what we were having before Loch was born.Though I was happy to know I’ll readily admit it does take the surprise out of it. Personally, it was a surprise I didn’t want. Not so much so we could do the baby room in the right color or get appropriate non-gender neutral baby gifts, but more because I was favoring a girl and I didn’t want to have even one moment of confusion or disappointment in the delivery room. I wanted to be happy and adjusted and feel nothing but joy. And that was the right choice for me. As I’ve said before, it took me about a month to get over pig tails and party dresses and the fact that most children’s stores are 3/4 girl stuff, till I was psyched to have a boy. When Loch came out, I was thrilled to see him. However, I think it’d be fair to say that the sonogram and it’s subsequent technology has also lead to scheduled C-sections (of which many of my friends are big proponents of), early inductions pre-delivery date to avoid those last pounds, and official birth plans that rarely go as expected and more often than not cause mothers endless extra hours of grief as they try and keep on point. Sometimes you just have to let things unfold as they will.
The 1990’s were probably the biggest blow to the concept of delayed gratification. We saw the birth of the internet, the creation of caller ID, answering machines or services in almost every home and the creation of digital cameras. No more waiting all day for your song to come on the radio. Or for your pictures to be developed. No more trying to time a call just right to make sure someone was home. You can avoid people you don’t want to speak to with caller ID but our kids will never know the joy of hoping that that ring is for you. “Please let it be Jeff. Pleeease let it be Jeff. ” There is an entire generation of kids that don’t realize that you didn’t use to be able to look at a picture right after you took it and quite frankly, it’s just made us all more vain. “Ugh, I look terrible. Delete it. Take it again.”
We don’t get telegrams. We don’t wait for letters. We have email and voice mail and text messaging. Everything is right away. Every new step is faster than the next.
You no longer have to wait for your show to come on TV as you can watch it at your leisure on whatever DVR device you happen to be using now. Personally I often miss the television season altogether and watch the episodes back to back on Netflix or On Demand later. You don’t have to hope that Blockbuster isn’t out of the movie you want, because they’re all available on streaming services in your mailbox, on line or on your TV.
I can remember as a child waiting all week for The Wonderful World of Disney to come on on Sunday nights. It was so exciting to hear those first few cords of When You Wish Upon A Star knowing I had one whole hour of television just for me. Loch has been watching kids shows on demand since he was a baby. He’ll never know the joy of that suspense. And, not that it matters like it used to with all of today’s viewing choices, but 1994 also saw the Olympics switched to an alternating schedule. Instead of waiting 4 years between Olympics we now wait 2 and really are only one trial away from the next one. The Olympics used to be an event. Capital E. It was the only time we ever brought a TV to the cottage. Now you watch the opening ceremonies and TiVo the rest. I’m still glued to it, but will the next generation be? The more available something is the less exciting. Or maybe, we have so much now, very little even registers as exciting at all…
Kids still await summer but with the talk of year round school really becoming a reality – LAUSD is starting mid August now – what summer will they really be awaiting? And, to be a real downer – if you look at the environmental shifts, the Greenhouse effect is making our earth warmer and warmer every year. Without a real change we could be looking at a future of summer all year round. Let’s try to avoid that shall we?
It’s the little things as well as the big ones. It’s being grown up enough to wear high heels. Nope, Suri Cruise, age 3 has them, I want them too. Earning money to buy your first car. No way dude, I’m 16, where’s my ride?! Waiting till you’re in a serious relationship to sleep with someone? Who does that? Trading sex for favors in grade school or jr. high sex parties are becoming the NORM. I’m literally afraid for my kid.
The biggest things we anticipate nowadays is new technology (if you’re my husband) or sequels to films and books (if you’re me). Ah, Deathly Hallows how I loved you. I eagerly awaited you in print and celluloid and you didn’t disappoint. But please, can more people do this? It’s so fun to look forward to something.
That’s the thing, kid’s need to look forward to things. Adults do too. It makes things special. Loch is blessed at Christmas time to have a Gigi that gives us a present for every day (!) of advent. It’s incredibly thoughtful and we love it, but when I watched Loch wake up every morning in December excited to open a present, I wondered how much it was distracting from the excitement of Christmas Day itself. When I was young I did an advent calendar with pictures for every day. Some years I even added a chocolate one. I loved it but I didn’t get any presents till the 25th. I’d certainly never tell my mother-in-law to stop. It’s a lovely tradition that comes from her heart – and I’m sure it’s different for Sean’s brother’s family who have 3 children, so that the majority of the gifts aren’t for just one child – I’m just not crazy about Loch seeing December as one big smorgasbord of gifts. Maybe I should stop letting him unwrap Sean and my gifts. It’s become more about the present itself than the meaning behind it.
I’m hoping to instill some sense of suspense into Loch’s life but it’s hard. Everything in his world is so readily available. So instantaneous. He asked to do something the other day and I said, “We’ll see.” and he said, “Yay!!!”. I realized in that moment that though I don’t give him everything he asks for, I do give him a lot, and a lot right away. If he wasn’t going to get it I would have just said, “No.” My saying “We’ll see.” to him meant “Yes”. It also leads to a “what’s next” mentality. When you get what you want right away, you’re often off to the next thing before you really enjoy the first. Without anticipation. Without waiting. Without having the time to truly want, it’s hard to appreciate and ever really, truly enjoy.
Anticipation in itself is a gift. One I’m going to have to work harder to give.
* Generation Me, Jean M. Twenge, PhD
** Generation Me, Jean M. Twenge, PhD
***Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life, and Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology, Florida State University
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seriously amazing post!
om gee your so right
First off, I’m in love with your header lol, cool! Also, really nice blog.
I shared your excellent post, in which you stated a number of points I’ve been making for years — but you did it with far greater eloquence than I. Thank you so much; it’s nice to know that I’m not the only parent who thinks, and more than occasionally says, “Wait.”
Agree, agree, agree! 🙂
This is a wonderfully written thoughtful essay. I couldn’t agree with you more. “Super Sad Love Story” novel describes in great detail what life is soon becoming in the not too distant future with instant gratification, narcissism, and food supply issues that you describe. I’m looking forward to reading more from you!
This is a fantastic post, and I agree with you 100% Thank you for sharing!
Great topic!!! i’ve been meaning to write something similar about music and entertainment… as compared to the 90’s when i grew up, you almost know everything about a movie/concert/album months before it even comes out. there’s no surprise element anymore because the digital age is so NOW NOW NOW (that was so 27 seconds ago lol!)
i’m gonna read the article in full shortly, but i applaud you for tackling this subject! =)
Brilliant post. As I reflect on it, where I live (Indiana) the weather provides a pretty large proportion of the things we still have to anticipate. People who like snow (of which I am not one) get to anticipate it; we usually get our first significant snows in January. The other side of this is that golfers here have to anticipate the first warm, dry days of spring before they can get out on the links.
I live in OH, and I quite agree. This year has been unusually mild, but the weather in general really sets the tone for what one can do. We look forward to warm weather all year long. Hiking, kayaking, swimming, camping, etc… we relish the spring and summer months for the abundance of outdoor opportunities that they provide.
To be fair, I’m not sure if the excitement of anticipating warmer weather is worth the discomfort of cold and snow. Is anticipation a gift? Is it really better to lack something that you want now just so it will mean more later? I’m not so sure. When I lived in CA, I looked upon every sunny and 70 day as a gift!
A wonderfully insightful post. Thanks for sharing your introspective view about things that are often overlooked.
The premise of this post is so compelling that I will put off reading it until tomorrow. Can’t wait. I was about to push “submit comment” had second thoughts and read the post today. Glad I did. Well worth the read.
PS. I was schooled young to not put off to tomorrow what I could do today. Now that I can do it now it seems wrong to wait. Doing it now of course does not mean to preclude doing your best. That will always be an exercise in anticipation. Doing your best is time sensitive in reverse. Terrific post.
Great post! I will have to read some of your others~ so very true and…I resemble some of it too! (singing: “Anticipation…Carley Simon). Conrats of FP!
This is such a thought-provoking post and so needed in this day and age! Thanks so much for sharing!
Great post – definitely deserved the Freshly Pressed!
I think what you’re saying is right. People want things and they want them now. Although, I’m frankly worried by what you say about ‘sex parties’ or whatever. Never heard of them over here. Oh, I know that people I know are sleeping with each other or whatever but it’s not something we talk about. That might be a UK thing, or it might just be my school. Either way, that sounds awful.
I don’t have on-demand TV. I have iPlayer, but that uses up the broadband and my dad will yell at me if I do that and make me pay for it I’ll wait all week for an episode of Sherlock and when it comes on, I will sit there and watch it for an hour and a half and that will be my TV for the day. (It’s worth it. The BBC’s Sherlock is the most amazing thing ever.) I’m a book person, too, so I have to wait for books. But I don’t like doing it.
Still, I guess little things like that make you more patient with bigger things.
I don’t find the world has really changed.
People have always wanted things – but
no one ever wants what they have – this
is normal – needs merely allow you to live,
wants give you a reason – if every thing
is given to you – then where’s the glory
of overcomming a challenge?
“We do things not because they are
easy but because they are hard”
“Treasures that are easily obtained are
usually not worth having”
I never watched tv ever before Netflix –
It wasen’t having to wait that bothered
me but having to arrange my busy
shedule around the boob tube – TV
wasen’t mandatory like school (something
I hated, as I was praised for my talents but
was never allowed to turn that talent into
In many ways we are given
more opportunites to wait then
before – you don’t have to watch
that regular seculed program
right now – you could rest or study
or go to a friend’s birthday party,
without having to program a VCR.
I have to wait for comments or
feedback on my bolg – and screen
my matieral to make sure it’s good –
I think we should put less emphases
on “Your Special” and more emphases
on “Your Special, Prove it.” That’s all.
I’m not saying this isen’t a great article,
I just like promoting discussion.
I am grateful for the praise I received
as a child, it allowed me to improve my
craft, people got less and less impressed
by my work as time wore on, so I simply
worked harder. Occaisionally total
strangers are blown away.
Often I wish I had been the child of
a publishing giant so my work would
get the attention I feel it deserves –
but then – would it have been as
This is wonderful! I don’t even know where to begin as there are so many items in each paragraph that would involve a conversation: from caller ID to World of Disney to Deathly Hallows…just wow! For me and my oldest son it’s been attending the annual release of a Harry Potter since the Chamber of Secrets. It was with a tinge of sadness that my soon-to-be 16 year old son and I sat at the theater earlier this year and took in the final HP film. We awaited Harry, and the Narnia films, and now await part 1 of The Hobbit in Dec. 2012. I’ve scanned through some of your blog and see that I’ve much catching up to do. It’s very well done and you’re one heck of a writer. I started a similar project for my own children and began to write it last year. I may publish it, I may not. But if something should happen to me I wanted to leave some lessons behind for them.
I decided to take it slow this past Advent, through Christmas and the Epiphany, and wrote or posted a selected “something” each day. I guess it was my own way of creating anticipation of Christmas and avoiding all the crazybusyness of it.
Bravo on a fantastic site, Leigh! I look forward to reading much more.
This is a well written and beautiful post that dares to challenge the idea of not only ‘instant gratification,’ but also ‘equal opportunity.’ Can there really be such a thing without bending the truth? We can’t all be the next…A-list movie star, or entertainer, or scientist, writer or whomever. You, however, have a gift for eloquent, riveting and brilliant writing. The next…?
Thank you for this post.
This is a fantastic and thought-provoking post. I’ve actually discussed a lot of the things you cover with my mom, because I wonder many times what it will be like when I have kids. There are 10 years between myself and my younger brother, and those 10 years make more of a difference than I ever thought they would. He’s grown up with internet, social media, that ‘everything is available right now’ world…Internet only showed up when I was a teenager, so we had very different experiences. It’s a true shame that there is no longer that anticipation, that we expect everything to be ready immediately, to be handed to us on a silver platter. I wonder how the next generations will be…
I really enjoyed reading this, and it was great to see something like this freshly pressed. Congratulations on that, it’s very well deserved!
Your article is wonderfully written and researched quite well. The big “why” will always be the question when it boils down to human beings and the sheer evolution that is inherent in our species. The race to see who gets the most, who owns the most, and who’s the smartest, prettiest, fastest, richest, etc, is due to the fact that this world is over populated and under educated. When people are raised to believe that it’s all about obtaining, and that nothing in life exists or means anything unless you have it all, then there can’t be surprises in life. People get too ahead of themselves. It’s not about the surprise. It’s not about having something to look forward to. The happy has been lost. The inner child has faded away. We, as a world, have lost our roots. We’re not connected to life, to God, to our souls. We believe one thing and that’s going after what we want. Now.
As you say Valentinedee most of the problems in this world comes from the people losing connection with the creation and its Creator. Because so many people do not want to know anything about God and His Law they do not have anything to hold on in this marsh of commercialism. They get caught and receive a placebo instead of the real joy of life God can bring already in this Worldly Time, even when we have to cope with a lot of problems (physically and/or spiritually). Though perhaps handicapped in the views of this world we can be kicking and be alive by the blessings of the Most High.
Wow! Born in 1976 and the father of an 11 year old girl, I really enjoyed this read…it really hit home. I remember waiting for the Wonderful World of Disney, Rudolph and Frosty etc…when I was a child and I agree with you, it was magical! The phone ring, the olympics and your example with the strawberries made me laugh as I will often catch myself complaining about crummy avacados or mush plums during their ‘off’ season. When I was about 5y/o my family had to leave the house while I was watching Sesame Street so I turned off the t.v. planning to watch the rest of the episode when we returned home. I was dissappointed. It does seem that someone smarter than I had that same experience and created technology to remedy it. My daughter started out her t.v. life watching Nic and Disney on cable and would wake me up at miserable hours of the morning to tell about something on t.v. that she thought I would like and she would create her Christmas to reflect the products marketed to her during her shows. My wife and I cancelled cable years ago and have not looked back. This year when we were asking my daughter what she was going to put on her Christmas list she told us (I’m paraphrasing) that she didn’t know because we don’t get commercials anymore and she doesn’t know what is new. Not only did that make me feel good about our no cable decision but reading your post here it made me feel like fast forwarding through commercials or watching shows on Netflix isn’t such a bad thing 🙂 You also mentioned digital photography: I’m sure you remember the wonder of Poloroid from your childhood like I do. It was magical. The one thing I really love about digital photography is the absolute abundence of memory we all have access to in our lives (cheap memory too); therefore I don’t delete bad pics, I take more and more and more…you get the point. I like this but it’s something I have to consciously remind myself to do. When I was younger my family would order a pizza and watch The Dukes of Hazzard on Friday nights during the season. That was something I really looked forward to and think about during the week. I’d like to think that my daughter recieves the joy of anticipation; however you have inspired me to focus on it just a little bit more even if to just make sure it is there. Thanks!
This is something that I think about every Christmas (as well as each and every birthday that I have as well). When I was young, I was up early rushing down the stairs during the holidays, and my anticipation to see what awaited was enough to make my young heart pound and led me to scream in joy as I ran through the house. As the years have gone by though, in many ways Christmas has become just another day, and that realization really troubles me. It is interesting that you brought up talks of summer, as that is something else that people lose as a working adult, the anticipation that warm weather and dreams of vacation used to bring.
I think that you are spot on when you say that you should work to provide the gift of anticipation, because I think that parents do their a children a disservice if they do not. The freedom of youth and eagerness of young hearts is fleeting enough as it is, and we should all strive to give children the gift of prolonged years of anticipation and joy. By providing this gift, I feel that we will likely rediscover the joys that anticipation can bring us as well. Great writing, and thanks for a wonderful read.
well articulated. i am struggling with the same thoughts as we raise our daughters. there also seems to be a lot less saying “no”. my daughter a. will say “emma’s having an ice cream treat after gymnastics (like she does every week) why can’t i?” i enjoy the life learning conversations that come with saying “no” – she may be upset, but like you say – the anticipation that “this week will be the week that dad says yes to the ice cream treat” is far more valuable than a smile and a week to week weakening thank-you as the ice cream treat becomes expected.
thanks for the good read.
Fantastic writeup. In regard to your meeting with the seventeen year old graduating from high school, I find that distressingly common. I hail from the Deep South and one main focus of many southern belles from the area (not all, thankfully) is to marry before graduation from college so one can spend a life of luxury frolicking to a fro with nary a demand or predicament ever set upon them. Many want to be “trophy wives” and they don’t understand that they’re almost promoting the stereotype that trails them around. It’s rather saddening.
The idea of a present a day during Advent concerned me so we used an Advent calendar from Denmark with 24 brass rings to which presents can be tied. Instead of tying 24 presents on and opening one each day up to Christmas we added one present each day. they were just tiny things for example stamps and crayons and notecards so that my son could then write thank you cards after Christmas, little stickers and Post-it notes (some of them with a suggestion for an activity for the post Christmas quiet days). Rather than taking some of the joy of Christmas presents away or diluting the anticipation it actually helped to build it up.
Loved the post. And, current strawberries taste like a cucumber, without the satisfying skin pop, the crunch nor the cool refreshment. It’s the fresh fruit and vege version of lukewarm tea. Blech.
Hmmm… Some food for thought! My daughter just turned 18, and she just got her license to drive, and she still does not have a car to drive yet. On another note a great number of college graduates are now going into business for themselves, because of the number of experienced workers available in the workforce. I do believe though that the days of corporate jobs with awesome benefits packages is going away. The small business is coming back in force now and the younger generation is making it happen and working hard at doing so.
It is an interesting article, and maybe because my kids are the kids of a single mom anticipation really isn’t dying yet. I do realize that they do deal with going to a school that is the equivalent of attending Beverly Hills schools with as many or more rich kids who’s dinning room table can sit 50 and they have their own private bowling alley and ice rink inside their home and even though it is one of the top schools and I sacrifice a lot for them to go there, sometimes it is hard on them because they do not have what everyone else has. On the other hand, they both realize that these kids need to learn what the rest of the world lives like. My daughter had tried to convince a bunch of these rich kids to go down to the park with her and feed the homeless. It never happened!
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
Peace be to you!
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Speaking to the “everybody gets a medal” aspect of your post. I am a career Soldier and former Marine and I see this carrying over into my world in a major way. Like you I was born in the 70’s so I can also be lumped into the “me generation,” but I really believe the 70’s and, I’ll say, early 80’s still hold dear at least some of the values you speak of. The Army gives awards for achievment, service, and valor. In times gone by (not so long ago) it was a major thing for a Soldier to receive an Army Achievment Medal, now you can get them for remembering to breath and during my deployment to Iraq everyone got one and some folks did nothing other than count Soldiers entering the dining facility. I was discussing this with a few other Soldiers today and we all agreed this is a dangerous machine that grows larger and more powerful everyday. As it seems for now, this machine is unstoppable. All we can to is watch it chip away at our society until we are all mindless drones walking around wearing dejected looks on our faces and holding our hands out. By the way, wonderful post, I look forward to reading more.
Thanks for writing this post – so true! I was born in the 80s but I hear you, with some grief, re the way most people now have lost the ability to wait patiently and humbly… and the resultant treasures/strength of character that come from that. May the joys of anticipation be resurrected…
You succinctly encapsulate all that could be ever said about a generation that do not or are unable to experience the pleasure of ‘waiting for it.’ How true that certain attributes of modernity have made us and the younger generation evermore vain and put ontold pressure on all us to out perform. Is it quite possible that society as a whole is in melt down and we are allowing ourselves to be herded like lambs to the slaughter?
Re: ‘I think that parents do their a children a disservice if they do not’ give children the gift of anticipation. So true, and time parents woke up to the fact.
Once again, many thanks for this highly engaging post.
Some interesting points here. The new generation of “me think[ers], the “productive narcissists” are not a new phenomona methinks. Out of all countries, America ranks first in Hofstede’s cultural dimension of individuality. The productive narcissist has featured prominantly in America’s national story (some might argue a country built by such people) but I doubt there is much of a difference between generations in terms of an emerging super-narcissist generation; the real difference lies in the younger generation being more empowered, more educated, more mature, more sophisticated, more serious, and with more options than ever before. Maybe their expectations, their anticipation for the future, may be divergent from ours, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different, and I think being praised is a great way to encourage and include kids than what I experienced as a student in the 80’s and 90’s.
Great observation about students feeling they should pass simply for showing up. I’m a college professor and thus have “adult” students. Even in college, every semester I get at least one student asking (or demanding) that I change their grade because they showed up consistently. Just this past semester, I received an e-mail from a student who admitted to having failed the class numerically, but advised that I pass him anyway because he showed up each week (albeit 30 minutes late on average) and because my class wasn’t in his major and the grade would hurt his GPA. Seriously. This is what happens when you have social promotion in the public school system, as we do here in New York City. Brave new world we’ve entered.
I’m expecting my first child, and these are things that have also occurred to me and come to mind. Great post!
your point is so valid, being born in 1992 i can attest that my generation has grown up in a society where we’re constantly rewarded for doing well, anything. I have at least 50 certificates from my public education. Some well earned, but many are just a piece of paper saying i showed up. WOOO! I wish I had grown up having to work harder to achieve things, and to be rewarded. I admire my Grandparents so muhc, as they are good hard working people, who’ve never stopped working for everything they want and have.
Reblogged this on ellikitty.
You sure did hit the nail on the head with that one. I too remember waiting for the Brady Bunch on a Friday night and Disney on a Sunday. What a treat. Do our kids really know what a treat is these days? Great post. Thanks for sharing.
In my household…the simple act of “waiting” for the main meal of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) without opening/closing the fridge and pantry looking for snacks is like the most horrible torture act known to mankind. I am deeply saddened by this lack of self control.
Thank you for reminding us how far off the path we have traveled from past generations.
Nice post, dude! You are on fire. Regarding the first half, there’s some great material out there on the difference between encouragement and praise. Excessive praise creates ‘praise junkies’ and the consequences you write about. Encouragement focusses on the effort and intention. So, I was taught by the parenting people NOT to say ‘that is the most beautiful drawing ever!’ but instead ‘wow, it looks like you spent a lot of time on this. Tell me about the colors you chose.’ Encouragement is what produces self-esteem, feeling like your effort makes a difference. Praise produces the need for more praise. Every effort does deserve encouragement, which leads to the desire to keep trying.
Ironically, I’ve read a book like that too. It was in my mom’s pile of child rearing books that I took from home. Instead of saying “you’re so strong” or “you’re so smart” you praise the effort. “Thanks for helping me buddy.” “Great job on your letters. You’re working really hard. I’m proud of you.” It’s hard sometimes to not just tell your child their a beautiful genius or whatever, but I always thought that kinda made sense. xo
Wow, you should write a book! About ‘modern life’ though..I’ve got two kids and they’ve pretty much chosen for themselves which parts of modern life they want to be involved in. I’m happy with some of their choices (eg my daughter’s disdain for ‘cool’) and not so happy with others (their obsessive infatuation with their laptops), but in the end what can you really do about it? Do you think it’s possible to ‘stand in the way of progress’?
Provacative! I found myself nodding and debating at the same time. I definitely get the self-entitlement character flaw that has been cultivated in the the previous three generations, myself included. However, I do partake in the wonderful inventions that allow us to choose some of the pleasurable parts of our life at our own pace, ergo–digital cameras, dvrs, internet shopping. I’m a mix of all the positives and negatives of these generations. It is hard not to give our children what they want when we have no great reason other than “you just don’t need everything right now.” Although I believe in the long run they would benefit from a much better balance of “yes and no” than they usually get. I see the results of this with my five-year-old. He was the first grandchild in 16 years and my first born, so naturally he has been terribly over indulged and totally from the standpoint of love and adoration, but consequently he has a short attention span for anything. It’s hard to parent when saying yes is easy, especially if we grew up in a household with tons of anticipation and a lot less “yes”. Loving outloud and a lot of honesty conveyed with grace is about the only salve for the next generation building their own strengths and weaknesses.
Heart wrenching post. R.I.P anticipation.
I grew up in the 90s where most people either competed or chose not to compete because most competitions were a popularity contest. After I joined the working world, I was in for a rude awakening where I could not just do the minimum and get away with it. 18 years of high school had taught me different. Maybe that is one of the issues with the current education system that doing the minimum still gives you hope for the future.
Food for thought. I guess I’m fortunate to have been born in the 1960s when we had to wait for things.
Thank you for your deep and inspirational insights. The world is blessed by your eloquence!
PS Your family photo is absolutely stunning!
Thank you on both counts. Especially the part about the blog.
The photo is lovely as it was taken by the gifted artists at B&G Photography in Los Angeles.
This is fantastic! Very well written.
Couldn’t agree more if I’d have written this myself…you hit the nail on the head for sure!!! Great post!
The sense of entitlement that kids have these days is getting ridiculous. They literally think that the world owes them whatever they want. And If you try to deny a child’s demands or reprimand a child for a wrong doing in this day and age you better be prepared for a law suit! Depending on the race/gender/social status of the child you can expect some civil right group or another to show up at your door with a lawyer and a news crew to demand a public apology and retribution.
I think the purpose behind the “everybody wins” concept didnt really come about for the benefit of the children but the parents. Its the parents that cant handle being told that their child isnt a “winner” every time, that most times their child is going to be just one of many “losers” in a competition, that their child is just ordinary and not special in the grand scheme of things. They want those medals and trophies and certificates to display on the wall to show off to their friends and family as proof that their child is really as awesome as they keep saying he or she is.
I was born in 1973 and there was none of that “be happy, feel good, love yourself, heres a trophy” bull$h*t when I was growing up. I rarely ever won anything. Pretty much all the adults I was forced to deal with outside of my home (teachers, gym coaches, girl scout troop leaders, etc) did nothing but humiliate and ridicule me and remind me of what a defective reject and loser I was, especially in comparison to my more popular and perfect peers. Like when I was five years old and my mother put me in ballet classes. As soon as my mother left the room the teacher told me I was too fat to ever be a ballet dancer so I shouldnt even bother. Aaaah…happy memories, hahahahahaha.
Ha! I can remember, even in college, waiting until The Grinch came on TV. We’d plan the whole evening around it.
I so profoundly agree with everything you just talked about that I’m almost scared to leave a comment because I don’t want to accidentally write a novel.
So I will just say this: “Egos become very fragile when they aren’t based in truth.” is such a great way to put it that it’s now my facebook status. CBC radio did a piece on this exact topic and I’ve listened to it countless times.
I was born in 1991 and I can say from personal experience that it’s hard being a thouroughly bred Generation Me kid. Luckily, I have an amazing mother who taught me really good values and gave me a pretty realistic view on how hard you have to work if you really want to go somewhere in life.
You sound a lot like my mother, so don’t worry about Loch, he’ll turn out great 🙂
I agree wholeheartedly! I am a mother of a soon to be 4 year old. I worry about this day and age he is growing up in. Yet, I feel as though It will be alright if we can all agree to live in anticipation! Than you.
This is such a wonderful post! I just got an iphone and I feel like everything needs to be immediate. Immediate access, everything now, now, now.
Your post has made me rethink this overstimulation of the mind with instant gratification.
Lovely post, congratulations on making freshly pressed.
Leigh, I fell in love with you! I want to see your films. Thanks to FP.
Wow, very wonderfully said. All of it. Some may find it harsh, but it was so refreshingly honest and straightforward. Congratulations on an excellent post being freshly pressed!
What a wonderful post! I’m glad I visited your blog. 🙂
And to let you know, all these things you’ve described about the new generation, are true not just for America, but in India too, where I live, and especially in Delhi.
How I miss the feeling of excitement, over small things!!
This self written blog article is one of the best I have ever read on this subject. The article made me very thankful for my life and where I came from. I was born in Harlem, New Yoirk. I never thought of myself as one who was born of a poor family (which I was). Early in my life I learned the benefit of hard work and common sense. Over the last forty five years of my life, I have never drawn a salary check, unless you count my social security check which helps pay my taxes on my income from and insurance agency my wife and I have now, going on twenty-eight years. I own two beautiful homes paid for, various other real estate (paid for) and I drive a 96 Lexus 400, which I love, and do not want a new one, even if I can write a check for a new one. Every day I meet younger people that are well educated that feel the world ownes them something. The wonderful thing is, it does not. Thank you God, for where I came from.
Oh Wow. I’m going to come back and read this again after thinking about it. You make so many fantastic points… I sit and mope and wonder what the hell is wrong with me? Why does my life seem so monotonous and boring… it’s for this reason… I live in a world of SMS, facebook, twitter, constant immediate gratification and contact… I don’t get excited when someone calls me, as I did when I was a kid, because I have so much else to do. I can’t “sleep on it” or “draft” it or even wait. It has to be now! And you’ve opened my eyes up… the anxiety I feel over not getting a response from someone, or trying to plan something… is because I expect it all to happen RIGHT NOW! I even give presents before christmas rolls around, if I’m feeling something I don’t let it process, I shout it to the world that I’m feeling it and often I find I regret it later on. Thankyou for your view on this.. I’m sharing!!
Awesome, awesome post. I’m tweeting this!
What a thoughtfully and beautifully written post. How well I remember the anticipation of so many things of my childhood…big things like Christmas and little things like buying ice cream at school, during lunch, on Fridays. (We could have afforded for me to buy ice cream more frequently but my mom said I could only buy ice cream on Fridays.)
I never had children of my own but I taught elementary school for over 30 years before I retired. I saw third graders get picked up, after school – in limos, as part of a celebration as they graduated to a higher level of Girl Scouts. I observed the majority of our eighth grade girls taken out of school early to get their nails and hair done in time for the eighth grade dance. I always wondered if I would have been an out-of-touch parent because I couldn’t see myself wanting my child to participate in those activities.
I , too, believe that anticipation is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, in our haste for immediate joy,we cheat ourselves out of a deeper level of happiness.
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
It is something else with how easily we can get things and how we don’t have to wait for anything anymore. I think that this is a great blog post and I remember when we didn’t have caller I.D. and it was a surprise every time you picked up the phone to see who was calling. It’s just a push of a button and we can access or have anything.
You know, you can actually submit this as a journal article in a psychology journal. Great writing. Great topic. I enjoyed reading it. Congratulations for being Freshly Pressed too. 🙂
Awesome post! So many great points I enjoyed reading this 🙂
Great Blog! You are an inspiration, and have come up with a brilliant idea for helping your children in the future. Good luck to you and your family.
this is so true. Anticipation gives us hope, makes us build up faith. When things are readily available and instant, people lose to practice their patience. Life back then is simple.. and we can really savor each moment. You really have a nice post!
“Without anticipation. Without waiting. Without having the time to truly want, it’s hard to appreciate and ever really, truly enjoy.”
As a self-employed writer, I’ve always had to sing for my supper and drive my ambition not merely on the hope but the belief that things will only get better….(that is rock-solid anticipation we can all build into our individual lives – regardless of what generation one is born into – I’ve also begun to notice more people in their 20s reading paper books and quitting facebook while alot of ninny 40-sometihings fall for every gizmo to stay hip…but I rapidly digress) The main point is that, my optimism for my own life hardly makes me a socialist, yet if you examine all those ephemeral yet genuine losses of anticipation, each one can be traced to “progress” – meaning the wheels of capitalism promising to deliver something faster and better…so buy the best smartphone and get the new radishes at Whole Foods….and then stare at the credit card bill for it and realize the cost for the ephemeral immediacy of satisfaction is corporate profits….Being anti-corporate isn’t the answer either (some paper company and ink company which provided the materials for protest signs and bullhorn company for shouted slogans to be heard all had some bumps in sales during Occupy Wall Street, you know). The answer is that good old Eisenhower Era solution….self-moderation, striving for balance…banks and corporations have taught us to consider 10 percent profit as failure…compared to 20 percent….or 30 percent….So alas, A Charlie Brown Christmas can be watched on a July beach vacation, ten times a day and the power of remembering it all year as we once waited to see it again, is truly gone. The Internet is twenty steps forward, eighteen steps backward…a Pandora’s box, the effect of which we have not yet even begun to be able to assess…Only each individual can return the sense of meaning and anticipation…its as simple as sending out Christmas cards instead of e-cards and consider the time spent doing so to be a far more valuable form of profit that cash or iCrap.
I really love what he said here: “I’ve also begun to notice more people in their 20s reading paper books and quitting facebook while alot of ninny 40-sometihings fall for every gizmo to stay hip.”
As a twenty-something, it amazes me when someone twice my age teaches me how to do something on Facebook. The more I ponder Facebook, the more I dislike it and the more I wish there was an easy, guiltless way to disconnect from it.
And paper books are all the rage. You won’t find me with an e-reader anytime soon – they don’t have that book smell. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
I have to say, I agree with what you have written. I’m 22 and grew up in this generation, I AM this generation, and I fully agree. I try my best to be patient though, I try. Thank you for this post though, I think it’s great. And your header is beautiful
Thank you. Thanks for letting us know that we are not alone in this fight against “everything right here, right now”.
The best things in life are free, but you have to look for them, wait for them, be patient.
You cannot see the sunset at 10 AM just because you’re bored at work. You cannot have butterflies in your stomach every day, even if you would love to.
I want to think that there’s a lot of parents around the world who, like us, will try to teach their kids to wait for Christmas and show them how speciall it can be if you’ve been waiting for it, if you’re patient enough.
I loved the post. Also greatly written!
So we can all now enjoy anticipating your replies to all our comments! Well done.
Great post! Lots of what you wrote I have thought about and talked about before too. Especially when teenagers not having any real goals when they graduate from high school. Though its not like we as teenagers KNEW where we was going but at least we had some idea of working hard to get where we want to go. These kids just think reality stars are so cool.
oh how we are out of a simple world! exemplary, your mindset 🙂
wow… its like you’re reading my mind! Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂 (You are a fantastic writer, by the way!) *Kudos
Wow, I love this post. The header got me very interested, and it was worth the read. I am a Kenyan, born in the late ’80’s, and I couldn’t help but note the differences in culture and upbringing between Americans and Kenyans. As a country, we have come a long way and have even farther to go- I think as far as technology is concerned we are just as excited when something new comes along…thing is though-we are yet to get to that fast paced kind of lifestyle. For instance, few women have access to good health care, so you can imagine trying to foot the cost of a sonogram, when getting that basic medical care is a luxury few can afford. There are still numwerous cases of women who deliver at home and even more are the maternal deaths related to this.
Most kids here have been brought up with a ‘tough love’ approach, so much so that the most recent item in the news right now is a story on teen suicide over failed exams. The pressure to perform is so high, that two pupils who failed their KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) exams opted to commit suicide.
(http://somalilandpress.com/teenage-tragedy-two-kenyan-pupils-commit-suicide-over-failed-exams-25789). I wouldn’t say that our parents have failed, if anything I believe they give their best by us. What has failed is the system. There is no balance between encouragement to succeed and instilling a sense of worth in children. I remember my days in primary school, where we used to get caned for failing to achieve the 100% mark on exams. In a country where kids are forced to study all the subjects in a wide curriculum without the opportunity to specialize, many young adults (I’ve been there), find themselves in a crisis with certificates and no clue whatsoever on what to do with their lives. Rather than get inspired to discover one’s talents at a young age and materialise on them, all the kids are shoved into classrooms for about 12 years of general education. By the time one gets to college(if you make it that far), you are faced with another four years of trying to find self; graduation comes too early for many who find themselves in an overcrowded job market, with no jobs in the first place.
It is not a lost cause however…In Kenya, even in the advent of new forms of technology from the West, every single day is full of anticipation-we anticipate better days, a better education system, better healthcare…
I love your response and your insight on the difference between Americans and Kenyans. American kids could use more tough love I think, though I’d hate to think of them killing themselves over failed exams or being corporally punished for bad grades. I do think we need to adjust our level of expectations though and know that hard work deserves the merit not simply existence. I anticipate better days for you as well. Just don’t let Kenya mirror America once things get to where you want them. Respect the technology, the education, the health care. We’ve become quite complacent over here. Thank you for your response. xo leigh
Wonderful response Marion. I too, having grown up in Los Angeles but in a Chinese household which moved to the States when I was 5 years old, find that the US/Western neurosis is particular to the west… but slowly spreading around the globe. I laughed at the american coddling of children when compared to the hard expectations to perform in Asia -now popularized by the name Dragon Mom- and was startled to read that kids in Kenya feel the same pressures to attempt suicide over entrance examinations as well.
Both are problems. Neither is in balance.
Great post, I completely agree with you, despite the fact that in most cases anticipation is non-existent in the modern world, Christmas still manages to keep it going! It’s not called the most wonderful time of the year for nothing!
my friend this good page…..!!!
I love reading my FP blogs. There is such huge variety. Thanks for yours, Personally I’m very glad christmas is well and truly over. It’s become overly commercialised. I buy very few gifts nor send cards any more. i spread the love throughout the year.
A great blog I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
What stood out for me was that no matter where in the world you grew up as a kid, the anticipation was the same and life was slow and good, kids played in the streets. I grew up in Africa and I remember my childhood with many fond memories. We didn’t have TV until 1979! Yes, that is the truth but we had radio and we would rush home from school so that we could follow the next episode on the radio – there we no repeats if you missed it. We climbed trees, ate dirt and counted cars. Our pets were grasshoppers and king crickets which lived in our suburban backyard. If it is true what the experts say; our lives were lived about 10 years behind the rest of the world so in essence, does that mean we were able to experience anticipation for about 10 years longer?
Move forward to present, having grown up in such a way I am very conscious to give my own daughter something to look forward to and try to avoid the instant gratification which is so prevalent in our lives now.
Yes, you probably did enjoy it for longer. The more advanced a country the fewer things we have to wait for and the more expectant we become. To be honest, your childhood sounds quite lovely. Thanks for sharing.
oh the joys of anticipation! your post is great, i love every bit of it!
for the first time, i have really seen a problem in my life and other generation-mates that seriously needs to be edited hope am not anxious to solve it
Very well said. Everything is readily available, and sometimes, even predictable. That joy, that thrill… the whole adventure of anticipation and excitement is almost negligible nowadays. If it’s there, it’s usually for the not so important things anymore. It’s like, by default, we already know that we’re going to get a present, we’re going to have this and that. No more surprises, because we know, one way or another, things would work out the way it is. In some cases, it’s good. But what if it doesn’t go our way? And if it does, it’s not like we were to excited for it anyway. We already know by default what’s gonna happen. Thus, we overlook its value as well as the journey behind it.
Amazing post, very well said.
Sweet sad and fantastic, the way we live and learn how not to…. you nailed this !:)
What an excellent post, I had to read the whole thing despite being pressed for time. I agree with so much you’ve written here. Thanks for writing this!
Amazing article. Such fine psichological analysis and consciousness deserves to be followed. I added you.
Greetings, from a ’89 child 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this — how you brought that feeling of dread I have about our culture into very sharp focus, showing evidence of the death of anticipation in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. I say I enjoyed it. Actually, I really only enjoyed it because I agreed with you and it resonated so poignantly with my own feelings on the topic.
After graduating from college and realizing that I’d not really thought through my own plans for so-called success (I have a bachelor of oboe performance), I spent the next several years pondering what success really meant and whether or not the EASE of the path toward it meant it was the success I was truly destined for.
In sum, however, I pretty well agreed with you on all points — from Christmas to careers to produce! Brava! for your wonderful blog and for being selected for Freshly Pressed. I look forward to reading more.
A brilliant, thought-provoking post. I’ve read lots of indifferent stuff on wordpress but your blog is top class. I agree that the idea of delayed gratification is sadly dying out. My wife and I are in our early 60’s and still look forward to a new TV series such as Madmen or The Killing. When the series is being shown, we then lick our lips in anticipation of the next episode which we are really looking forward to. However, when we recommend a TV programme to my wife’s daughter who is in her 30’s, she invariably tells us that she has already downloaded ( illegally) the whole series and watched it all — even before it’s been shown on TV in the UK. Just one example of the demand for instant gratification that we see now days. ” I want it and I want it NOW!” Anyway, I’ll shut up. Well done and thanks!
No need to shut up. I really appreciate the comments, especially your reference to my blog being the opposite of indifferent. That’s how I feel but it’s nice to know others share my sentiments. And you aren’t alone. I still can’t call my parents during Mad Men or Revenge. It’s like Dallas back in the day… they are COMMITTED and watch it “old school” on the TV with commercials and everything. xo Leigh
This article really reached me. I learned a lot that was sitting at the surface but I never dug deep enough to fully understand. I anticipate most life occurrences even simple things like a bike ride because I’m a excitable person. However, I am truely from the ‘me generation’ born in 1986 and I now see how that has shaped my life. I am now going to be aware of this as I continue through my life. Thanks for sharing!
I don’t believe I’ve ever read as in-depth and thoughtful an analysis of this problem. I could not agree with you more. As a high school teacher, I have to deal with the fallout from this epidemic on a daily basis. It saddens and frightens me, both for what the world will look like in twenty years, and for my own children. Bravo to you for your efforts with Loch (what an awesome name!). Let’s hope that society wakes up & reverses course before we end up like the inhabitants of the mega-spaceship in Wall-E.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I’m glad to have found your blog and I will eagerly anticipate (!) your upcoming posts. (See? You’re doing your part!)
It’s just uncanny that this post shows so much insight. Danger to future generations definitely lurks in the “death of anticipation.” Still, at my venerable age, I am still eagerly awakening each day with the excitement of a teenager. The first thing I do is head for the computer to write and to understand the new, widening reach of my words. It is so exciting that I can hardly find time to dress in the morning. So, even those of us who have lost the taste for strawberries, are not quite sure that anticipation is really dead.
Have you heard of the marshmallow test? Gail Vaz-Oxlade is a big proponent on her show ‘Til Debt Do Us Part – about couples who can’t wait – money-wise – and get into huge debt. Great post.
This essay is spot on! Our kids were products of the 1980`s, and we saw this mentality all too often in the schools. Loch is one lucky, wee man to have such a wise Mama! 🙂
Excellent! The point you have made about self-esteem and success is interesting. I would like to tell you that in handwriting analysis, there is a way to discover the self-esteem of a writer and often it becomes a barometer of his success as well.
I am not leaving any link here. In case you think I am spamming. In case you like to know the link is embedded in my gravatar.
Excellent! The point you have made about self-esteem and success is interesting. I would like to tell you that in handwriting analysis, there is a way to discover the self-esteem of a writer and often it becomes a barometer of his success as well.
I am not leaving any link here. In case you think I am spamming. In case you like to know the link is embedded in my gravatar.
What a beautiful blog you have…
So much of life today is about instant gratification. Thank you for perpetuating the gift of anticipation.
Great post. Coldn’t have said it better myself. Christmas isn’t what it used to be 🙂
I absolutely loved this post and agree with your excellent and articulately-expressed points! Your thinking is in a similar vein as a couple of my own posts (“Go Right Ahead — You Deserve It!” and “At Your Convenience”). I was so happy to see that I am not the only person noticing these things. My husband and I, by the way, have complained about the tasteless, year-round fruit phenomenon for the past several years. I am convinced that we value those things that are truly rare, special, or limited. That way we actually enjoy them more….
Thanks for your insightful article! May you write many more!
Learning to delay gratification also has important life benefits too e.g. helps you focus on things like planning ahead, studying, saving, etc, etc. The loss of forethought associated with instant gratification is probably more treacherous than the loss of anticipation itself.
Loved your post about anticipation! My dear old Mum used to say “It’s always better to travel then to arrive.” and I think she had something there. If you have a moment, take a look at my post:
with a similar theme. Thanks, Anne Corke, Peterborough, Ontario
it is amazing post.
Excellent post, thank you! You said all the things those of us in my social circle have been ruminating over for years.
This was an amazing read. And I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve actually spent a lot of time recently thinking about this topic, in large part thanks to my Digital SLR camera. I remember when I bought it a handful of years back. I would go take photos whenever I could, 4 or 5 attempts at the same photo until it looked good. Knowing that I could see the picture and erase bad ones made it less about the art of using a camera. And more about the attempts. I learned in high school how to use a standard film SLR. How to work the shutter speeds, and aperature settings. Taking upward of 5 to 10 minutes to make sure I got the one shot right. Lately, I miss that feeling more and more. Never sure how the shot would look until I finished the rest of the film roll and developed them. Missing this experience, has made me push my Digital camera away, and being to search for a film camera. Where waiting is half the fun.
Again this was a truly great post.
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Love this post! It is along the lines of one I have in the works right now. About how social media is so popular because it is like living in our own reality show. And I do know kids who are not on the networks…b/c they don’t have to be. They are connected by the instant phone, which can always find you, almost anywhere on the globe.
I love waiting also and I thnk that those of us born from the mid-sixites through 1980 are a different generation than the X-er’s or Me-er’s. We are Generation Flux. Always at the end of something eloved and at the start of something never before seen.
Congrats on FP! I am looking forward to reading more of your work….it is wonderful! AmberLena
What a great post! Like another comment-maker, I’ll have to read some more of your posts. Thanks.
I agree about the strawberries. But I’m a teacher and no one in my district is talking about year-round schooling. Kids still anticipate summer as fervently as they always have. And I feel like they still have plenty of things to anticipate. That first dance. First kiss. First car. College. Just because we can watch a show instantly these days or send someone a text doesn’t mean that this generation of kids doesn’t know what anticipation feels like. I’m a full believer that there are pros and cons to living in every era, and we really need to weigh all the good stuff that happens because of that phone call you didn’t miss because you have a mobile and can carry it around with you – as well as the truths of the killing off of some of the joy of anticipation. The good and the bad, hand in hand, are a reality that will continue to persist throughout time.
I usually don’t read things this long, but really enjoyed your article. Growing up in the immediate gratification generation makes it difficult whenever we have unanswered prayer that we must wait for an answer for. We waited nearly a decade…with anticipation rising along the way.
Yes, we may have to find a way to do as you said in order to raise children with a sense of anticipation and a sense of appreciation during the wait –“Anticipation in itself is a gift. One I’m going to have to work harder to give.”
In movie “Before The Music Dies”, Branford Marsalis is asked “What have you learned from your students?” His answer is very on point to part of your entry:
“What I have learned from my students is that students today are completely full of shit. That is what I have learned from my students… is that, much like the generation before them, the only thing they are really interested in is you telling them how right they are and how good they are. That is the same mentality that basically forces Harvard to give out Bs to people that don’t deserve them, out the fear that they will go to other schools that will give them Bs and those schools will make the money. We live in a country that seems to be just in this massive state of delusion, where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that. And it actually works as long as everybody is winking at the same time… My students just uh, all they want to hear is how good they are, and how talented they are. They’re not really… most of them aren’t willing to work to the degree to live up to that.”
Could not agree more. How do we pull back and wait for things when instant is the norm? What are some little ways we can incorporate anticipation in our daily lives? You’ve got me thinking now. 🙂
Great, thought provoking post. Very well written, too.
I think, though, that the now labeled “Me generation” folks exist in other generations. Personally, I know some born in the 50’s and 60’s who believe it’s all about them, they are the most important and as along as they are gratified the rest, fallout included, is unimportant.
they are probably the ones who promoted the idea of pushing self-esteem to the unhealthy (dark) side!
Thanks for posting. Looking forward to reading some others.
Thank you. I am a college professor and work mainly with incoming fresmen. Over the last 5 years, I have been at a loss as to how to work with students who were told they could do and be anything they wanted to be whether they had talent or not, whether they had persistence or not, who assume that patience and willingness to practice is not required.
I’m sad for them – anticipation and willingness to work toward something has always been the backbone to a great payoff.
Congrats on being freshly pressed. Love it. I wrote about a small cross section of this a little bit ago as I observed my little family…
Thanks for sharing!
I will anticipate your next post, very insightful.
“Or maybe, we have so much now, very little even registers as exciting at all…”
This. I find myself feeling this way more and more often. I think back to when I was a child and even a teenager. How I would get really excited and amped up for something. Now, I feel less and less excited about more and more things. Often wondering if I’m borderline depressed. However, this actually sheds a little light for me. Maybe it isn’t just me, but the changing culture as well. Regardless, this is a nicely written entry.
Anticipation in itself is a gift. I agree totally. I always hated when they would give my duaghter an award as you said – for simply showing up. I was born 1970 and I don’t think we were the me generation, but this generation, my little girl who is now 14 – yes. And sadly enough I think it does effect them. I worked very hard to teach my children that the world does not owe you anything. if you want something you work for it. If you win enjoy the win, if you lose, work harder.
This was so amazingly true. I’m an 80s child but was never spoon fed unrealistic dreams without the idea of working hard for what you’ve got. This was so thought provoking and insightful. I really enjoyed reading this for your writing was excellent. Freshly Pressed was more than right for picking this one :)!!
Leigh, thank you so much for this post. The scope of your examples are stellar, and all of it is original and thought-provoking.
I was born in 1980, but I particularly like the example about strawberries– I agree, they’re just not the same. Some things are better when savored,
This is the perfect sentiment for me right now, as I am deleting my facebook. A lot of people have questioned me about it, and only a few have been truly accepting and supportive. The rest are begrudging, some openly critical.
But your post helps me to realize a big part of why I have this underlying desire to disconnect, in a time where everyone is relentlessly connected. Because with facebook, there is no anticipation. I want to work a little harder to reach people. I want to drive and visit them.
I’m a blogger and columnist, and part of the reason I’m disconnecting is also to fuel my writing life. Social networking sites work because people are addicted to impulsive sharing and crave validation for the most mundane choices and activities. My hope is that without that endless stream of superficial validation, I will trust myself more– and write, rather than status.
Your post reminds me of the reasons that foregoing the conveniences of social networking will be worth it. I’m excited to cultivate anticipation in a meaningful way, to connect deliberately and not arbitrarily with those who most want to be in my life.
I can’t wait to read more of your posts, I’ll definitely be back.
This post actually made me cry. I was a teenage in the 2000’s but I remember anticipation. I remember not being able to date until 16 but being so ready for it at 13. I remember waiting for Dawson’s Creek to come on every Thursday evening. I remember counting down the days until I left for college – and then counting down the days until graduation 4 years later. But now that I’m a twenty-something in the working world, the only thing I countdown to is the weekend. And even that anticipation is tainted because I know on Saturday morning that Monday is all too close.
Without really knowing you, I assert that you are an amazing mother – and Loch will be all the more blessed to hear “no” from you every once in awhile. Thanks for this.
You are so right! May I add two more things that have lead to the death of anticipation? Kindle and the Amazon wish lists. I lused to have to browse the bookstore, select the book, buy it, go home and then, only then, settle down to read, if I didn’t have more shopping to do before going home. Now I can spend five minutes on Amazon, click on a title recommended because it’s similar to what I’ve bought in the past, download in a minute and start reading.
And while the wish lists eliminated the dread of getting a gift you don’t like, it’s killed some of the joy of opening gifts under that sparkling tree. After all, if you already picked out the earrings you want, how excited can you be to actually unwrap them?
As for the next generation entering the work place — I know several people with college grads that keep passing up entry-level jobs (in this economy!) because they want a higher position, or to work in the big firm rather than start out in a smaller one, or they’re holding out for that dream job overseas. Not that there’s anything wrong with dream jobs, but you need something to attract them (called ‘experience’), and these grads don’t have it!
You’re right everything is too instant: hands confidently out and waiting while they look over there, eyeing up the next thing they want. I tried to recall what it is I really look forward to – bed!
really interesting article (as far as I have read it so far, since it’s nearly 12am in Germany now, and I am sick and tired (literally)) which reminded me of a book by Roy Baumeister, published in 2011: “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” (sorry, I don’t feel up to MLA style right now – my head hurts…:-( ). It was an interesting read, especially because of the thesis he was presenting with regard to today’s instant gratification slash everbody gets a medal phenomenon. But his other explanations were definitely also worth considering, if a bit redundant at times. Just thought you might want to look it up. 🙂
All the best, bis dahin,
Seriously, you’ve been sat in my car when my wife and I are driving around and I am spouting off about the world. I loved this, paragraph after paragraph – there aint enough of it. I once joined the Lego Builder Club and it took ages for my starter kit to arrive by mail. What a thrill. I remember gathering round the TV to watch Star Wars on Christmas Day – the one and only time it would be outside of the Cinema. Maybe 3 years later it was Empire Strikes Back. I so desperately want my kids (2 and 1) to experience excitement and anticipation that doesnt come ‘on-demand’.
Nice Job! I think many will wait to read your post!
Amazing post, thank you!
As a christian minister,i whole heartedly agree with all you’ve pointed out here as being true.
I’ve frequently,in the past 20 years(ie,several times daily),wandered through those points in thought and many times in conversation with my parents and close friends.It’s interesting to note however,that the only relatives or friends who didn’t understand and who didn’t agree,were either in their 20’s or younger./They were and still are,totally clueless.they’re so clueless in fact that most of them seem to believe that my attitude is coming from a religious standpoint…I’ve tried to explain that it’s otherwise and all but as i said…clueless.While my parents and my sister and i (i have no children)have always loved the Christmas season ,much because of the anticipation involved,those younger relatives treat Christmas day as though it’s any other.There’s no excitation in their actions or displayed on their faces on Christmas day..they sit around with rather blank faces and open their gifts with just a smile here or there.afterward,they turn on the TV to watch their favorite programs.That’s their Christmas day in detail//imo,very bizarre./I’m glad that others agree so wholly regarding the things you pointed out in this blog and see clearly the same things you see and understand./These days,i find it difficult sometimes to find anyone who sees and understands these things to any vast degree./I thoroughly enjoyed the blog and look forward to reading future blogs that you publish./you’ve gained a fan/
I really enjoyed your post, you are so right about the lack of anticipation and the overall lack of patience shown by “Generation Me”. There is no understanding of delayed gratification or paying ones dues first.
Just as importantly, I think you are dead on in your comments about the overvaluation of self-esteem. We seem to give prizes to everyone for everything, and through Facebook and Twitter people trumpet every petty activity in their lives as if they were a Nobel Prize announcement. We seem to think that self-esteem isn’t about real accomplishment, but celebrating mediocrity. And somehow we don’t see how that takes away the joy of a victory or achievement and discourages the hard work that goes into making them. It makes me think of Syndrome’s line in The Incredibles, ” I’ll sell my inventions so everyone can be superheroes! Everyone can be super! And when everyone’s super, no-one will be.”
I love that you just quoted Syndrome. But he’s right.
I really, really enjoyed this post. And I think that you would really like the book In Praise of Slowness.
Reblogged this on Commonplace.
I was born in 1981. I experienced a lot of what you detail, but at least our t ball teams kept score. That loss came a little later. I look at how I used to view awards, even those for celebrities. Now all I feel is cynicism. I thought it was just due to growing up, but I have been slowly coming to the same conclusions you detail, why do we glorify every little thing to the point where everything is devalued? But it’s not just things. It can be people too.
I am reminded of the bread and circuses of ancient Rome in thoughts like this. Are we merely to be entertained, and not to seek something more?
Food for thoughts! Great post
You’ve given me something to think about… and frankly that’s the most wonderful gift of all.
This is such a beautifully written post that really makes you think. I mean, it sure made me think! Immediacy isn’t that all that it’s cracked up to be, like you said, and anticipation, the waiting, the guessing, the hoping, the fantasizing is what makes everything that much more special and sweet. Really loved this and will definitely be passing it on to all whom I know! 🙂
So true.. There is nothing much left to anticipate on a daily basis.
Amazing blog. I know it’s nothing to do with your blog itself but I love your header. Those boots and cardigan are gorgeous.:)
Fashion props! Thank you!! Those boots have taken me far. xo leigh
You are so right. Here in the UK supermarkets stock out of season fruit and veg flown in from all over the globe. We need to eat what is in season here now and enjoy other stuff at the right time.
impressive blog and great post….
good and great article thanks very much …
You’re singing my song, but so much better!
Awesome, thank you! So tired of my 50-ish friends still managing their
adult kids’ lives.
This post is packed with richness – it will take a few reads to get it all.
Hi, I’m Jenny, the writer of the original Death of Anticipation story in Cookie. I’m so glad to see that it has stayed with you this long and even more glad that you are spreading the word about it.
Anyway, I reposted it on my blog during Christmas last year, if you want to take a look at the awesome Brian Rea illustrations accompanying it. In the three years since it was published I feel like I can add about a hundred more panels. Sadly.
Oh my goodness, Jenny! So awesome!! Honestly, I loved that article. It was so well articulated. I really connected to it. Thank you. I actually felt terrible that I couldn’t find it. (I keep articles I love) I actually did see the brian Rea illustrations on line. It really is such a terrific observation on our life and times. Thank you for being such a smartie and letting me wax poetic about your core ideas. I’m sure you do have 100 more things to add!! All the best, Leigh
The boy in the header is so cute bless him
Thank you. I love him too. xo
Great post. I hope it gets widely disseminated and read. Your comments about the “me generation” are spot on. I do have to submit that the way of thinking of this generation is the fault of their parents (of which I am one). We did, however, raise our children with biblically base morals and standards. They know that there are winners and loosers. They were taught that you must be willing to work for what you want, including ditch digging and field/crop work.
Keep writing and God bless
Spot-on assessment of our modern sensibilities. Nicely done!
Thank you for this! You have articulated everything I have been saying lately.
On Christmas Day, I told my husband I love the anticipation of Christmas, not the stuff!
We’re guilty, too: once our daughter finally gets the one thing she’s been asking for, it’s on to the next thing without even enjoying the one thing she just received.
I will join you in trying harder to give the gift of anticipation!
This was an awesome post… Thanks!
I think I may have to print this out and paste it into my journal!
Great post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
This is a treasure for all. Keep writing. A book. xxx
Spectacular post!! actually i felt there are quite many of your points that really resonated my soul, especilally when talking about the endurance of a certain happiness that 90’s could have. and it’s quite pitiful that the kids are bond to the emerging techologies while overlooking the power of some old yet effective traditions( like reading books). truth is they are more receptive than ever, and seem to capitulate to self-interests, though it looks like a cynical rhetoric.
“Today’s young people have been raised to aim for the stars at a time when it is more difficult than ever to get into college, find a good job, and afford a house. Our expectations are very high just as the world is becoming more competitive, so there’s a huge clash between expectations and reality.” True that!!
This is an amazing and wonderful post. So true and somewhat unfortunate. You write with authority. Thank you!
I completely agree!!! Thank you for posting this.
wow ! beautifully written
one of the best post i have ever read !
congrats for getting freshly pressed ! you deserve it 🙂
as you said our generation is just getting used to instant gratification
everything is available at the click of the button
true we are missing surprises in life …
however it is a bit difficult to change although not impossible
It does seem that it might be pretty difficult to change. It’s almost like we need to find a new way to function and appreciate from within rather than change the inevitable.
Thanks for the compliment on the blog. I really appreciate it. xo
I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing. Like a commenter above, it reminds me of that Marshmallow Study that the New Yorker wrote about. Where they studied the kids who were told they could either eat one marshmallow right away or, if they waited four minutes they could get two marshmallows. And then there was a correlation between the kids who knew how to delay gratification and later success in life. Interesting stuff!
“It’s hard to anticipate your future successes if you think by simply existing you will succeed. The only people that works for is trust fund babies and supermodels.”
LOVE this quote from you!
Thanks! It’s true though, no?
Another thought as I read the last part again, the “ME” Generation people who are becoming parents need to learn how to say “no” and mean it. This will cause tears and fits and possible broken plates, but it will be worth it later when that toddler is a teenager and they will have a shred of respect for the word and your use of it. I see the gimme-gimme attitude in other kids, it’s bad, and I don’t want my kids to be like that. This Christmas was a bit over the top with a bunch of smaller gifts from us, but the kids loved it, they don’t get gifts all year long; I usually say no 95% of the time. By the time you get in the car and drive away, they’ve forgotten about the thing they would not leave the store with. This is another reason I don’t shop at Wal-Mart.
I’ll admit to falling into the instant gratification trap using credit cards, I was 24 and thought I could buy what ever suited my fancy. Until my credit cards were maxed and my score dropped like a rock… Try getting a car loan with a 621 score! This was a great post and I hope more people read this and bring back the good ‘ol days of anticipation.
Hi, enjoyed your blog about anticipation.I have been married to my wife for nearly twenty years so waiting in anticipation is a big part of my life.
We have found it difficult over the years with our two children and the instant gratification society we live in. It is very much a progressive issue. There is no single reason but a cumulative selection. When I was at school in the 70’s we were promised that when we burst onto the job market in the 80’s, we would be working a four day week. Possibly leading to a three day week in the 90’s. This was guaranteed by the surging force of technology. Computers and robots would take over many of our tasks and we would be enjoying long weekends with friends and family. Quality of life would improve dramatically and all would be well in the world.
What happened in reality was that employers utilised technology and then expected us to continue working long hours and simply up production. The pace of life exploded into this manic race against time that we now endure. We no longer take our time over the more mundane chores like washing up, scrubbing floors or polishing cars which allowed us to ponder for a while. To gather our thoughts and daydream. We simply don’t have the time or the patience. We have machines do it for us or a person that comes in. Pace of life is so intense that road rage, lack of manners and the use of mobile phones in cars (illegal over here except hands free) are commonplace. We simply cannot consider the concept of anticipation because it is just too damn slow.
Another aspect of anticipation is the issue of others. In that I mean the over indulgence of other parents. Our children have always had to wait for presents til their birthdays and Christmas. They get a small amount of pocket money and if they save up for some time they can buy something they really want, if it is not too much of a waste. So if they want to play the new Xbox game that just came out, they would have to mention it and wait til one of the big two days a year. Unfortunately they have friends who’s parents rush out the day after the child mentions it and buys it for them. So by the time it gets to my child’s birthday or Christmas they have been playing the game for months. So I cleverly get them to pick another game. They mention it to their friends in eager excited anticipation and low and behold that child has that game by the following day. This goes for most things, not just games. So even if you want to give your child the experience of anticipation it is sabotaged by over indulgent parents of their friends.
Society won’t let you enjoy anticipation any more. I went to the cinema the other day to watch the deathly hallows with my kids. It was great. The film that I was really looking forward to was the second Sherlock Holmes film. Before the deathly Hallows film there was a preview of the Sherlock Holmes film which I watched excitedly as I was shown just about all the action sequences of the whole film and enough to give the story pretty much away. I did go to see the film a while later but the strength of my anticipation had been diluted. I now sit through the previews with my eyes shut and my fingers in my ears. Not all my fingers of course, just the usual two.
One thing I have found is that often the anticipation of a holiday is better and more exciting than the actual holiday itself. I’m not sure if that’s because I have a vivid imagination and hopeful nature or just have rubbish holidays. I certainly anticipate better behaviour from my kids than I get.
I have noticed that children in general appear to be a bit self obsessed. They don’t think of others as much as I would like. The consideration doesn’t seem to be there. There is however a caveat to this statement and that is that for many of us, except teenage parents, it has been a substantial time since we were kids and therefore may not have a clear picture of how we thought and felt about others. Perhaps we were as self obsessed as the kids appear to be today. Maybe we are only remembering the odd occasion when we helped an old lady to her feet after she had fallen in the street or visited an old relation without being forced to or bribed with cash. We do try to instill a sense of consideration for others in our children and not always with beatings and starvation. But it is a dog eat dog world out there and I guess it is important to be able to look after number one. I think it is a fine line between guiding your child towards good self confidence and trust in their abilities, and giving them the idea that the world revolves around them and owes them whatever they desire.
We love Christmas and the whole sense of anticipation involved. Not just the presents or the food but the experience of being together on the day and sharing the joy and the laughter. The world is desperately short of joy and laughter for many people, so we are blessed and thankful for that. Here’s to next Christmas, I’m looking forward to it already.
Wow. Thank you for your response. It’s like you did your own post on anticipation! I agree that children in general appear to be a bit self obsessed. Sadly I’d say it isn’t limited to children…
You said it! This is exactly how I have been feeling lately, and just didn’t know how to put it into words. Thank you for this inspiring and challenging post.
I’m 30 and have felt the degrading effects of people not enjoying delayed gratification in their lives. Its sad, actually. Its a difficult thing to master in ourselves. The greatest Generation that ever lived is passing away right before our eyes. They all understood what it meant to WORK hard for something and earn those special things. We’ve all got to work hard to get that mentality back. My 3 year old is getting the idea and actually will save her lollipop for an entire week! I think thats a start, eh?!
Thanks for this!
Great topic, very thought-provoking, especially for a child of the 80’s (and thanks for bringing me back to the nostalgia of anticipating The Wonderful World of Walt Disney each week, I had really forgotten that!!!! LOL!). My Aunt homeschools her 14 year old daughter and she thoughtfully did the same thing you want to do with Loch, not letting her be an adult while she was a kid, giving her things to anticipate like getting her ears pierced, wearing make-up etc. I thought it was torture as a child when my Mom did it to me, but I think you have a great point and I know because once I asked my cousin what she thought of what her Mom was doing and she said, “Mommy really wants me to enjoy being a kid, and I’m glad!” She treasured being able to wear blush and foundation because she couldn’t wear eyeshadow and mascara yet, know what I mean? I could sit and comment on so many things you said instead I’ll just say brava on all of it! Great post!
I had to wait till age 10 to get my ears pierced. I asked every month from when I was 7. I’m so impressed with my mother for standing her ground. And so grateful to her for having her’s pierced before me because, once I got there, I was too scared to get it done without watching her go first. First earrings, white life savers. Super cool in 1985.
Amazing post! All the things you said and many more are completely true. Teenagers have the most choice but at the same time find themselves so trapped by it all. Hand written mail is something truly special when it arrives, anything hand written is actually. There is so much choice out there, so many things to do and so many people who do not get paid enough for doing what I deem ‘important’ jobs rather than the world of celebrity. Why should football players, sports stars or movie stars get paid more than Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Researchers and Academics?
Some of the most important people inside the most important industries end up short changed all over the world and they are the ones who, in turn, end up shaping the next generations into who they become. This post is fantastic and the sources you used were wonderful too. Really well done, thank you so much for sharing this food for thought. I really hope that anticipation doesn’t die out completely otherwise with nothing to look forward to, it can make the present a little meaningless.
All so true. Very well written.
These lines definitly make sense.
Sometimes nothing is better than just stopping and staring.
It was a real pleasure reading your lines.
If you have some time, visit my page ! http://anthropocity.wordpress.com/
Good post, keep it boiling
This post is amazing. I actually did not read the Harry Potter series as they came out, but now I really wish I would’ve been more into the books when I was younger. I hate that I missed out on growing up with Harry. I had this idea, though, that if I ever have a kid, I’d give him or her the books as they grew up from year one when they’re 11 to year 7 when they’re 17. If they enjoy the books, I want them to have what I didn’t.
That’s a great idea. I was kinda hoping to start early and read them to him myself for a while. I’d love to relive it. Maybe someone will write another fantastic book series that we all can get jazzed about again…Here’s to encouraging the next JK Rowling. xo leigh
You have great points that I completely agree with, but you sound like a hypocrite.
You still have control over how Loch is raised. It’s up to you and Sean both to set the boundaries of his instant gratification. In your post you spoke of how Loch watches these kids shows all the time and there’s no anticipation.There’s nothing wrong with recreating your youth and setting aside Sunday nights at 7 pm for The Wonderful World of Disney even though it’s available On Demand.
You also spoke of how during Christmas his Gigi gave him an advent gift daily, thus limiting his Christmas Day joy. Again, it’s up to you and Sean to set limits and boundaries. YOU are in control of your son’s experiences and how he’s raised, no one else. And you are allowing him to become apart of the Entitled Generation all the while complaining about it.
I can certainly agree and understand your frustration as I share it 100%, but at the same time, every single one of us must take responsibility for our actions and it’s our actions (or lack there of) that are ALLOWING future generations to behave as entitled kids with little or no work ethics.
If you and I want to change the outcome of our future then we need to start in our own homes and our own families rather than simply complain and boast of how your child is encouraged to act like an Entitled.
He’s part of the Entitled generation whether I limit his television viewing or not. (I do.) His world is filled with technology and innovation that perpetrate the feeling of instant gratification and I can’t avoid that. My post is simply an observation of a lost time that was in many ways simpler and left room for more build. More excitement. When I said that “anticipation itself is a gift, one I’d have to work harder to give” I meant it. I will do my best to fill in that lost feeling of hopefulness where I can. Perhaps you would be interested in reading my post on technology to see that I am, in fact, taking ownership of how my son interacts in this new world. All the best, Leigh
Shoot – I just got chills remembering the anticipation I’d feel waiting for the Wonderful World of Disney – or Marlin Perkins’ Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. . .
There’s still one sacred thing to anticipate in TV Land – the Super Bowl. But, that’s not really aimed at little kids. They get squat these days. . .
Excellent, well written post. It is So true about what you have written and how these changes have affected us and will effect our children. Keep thinking, writing, and sharing.
What a beautiful and awesome blog you have! I think it’s absolutely beautiful what you’re doing for your son and family with this blog, as well as educating others about this disease. WHile doctors are professionals and here for our good, they can only make the best guess possible based on science and our conditions. Only God knows the exact date any of us will leave this earth. Sometimes, what doctors say can affect people in such a way that they believe it is the final say. You’ve lived longer than they had given you. Keep living! Here’s to many more years!
Thank you so much. I plan to be around for a good long while. Here’s hoping God is on the same page! xo leigh
I used to love “waiting” for my next “scholastic reader” when I was in grade school. It would come –once a week–in the mail. (I loved to read and to write). I am looking to discover the next great American author. Perhaps you’d like to write about my project. View details at: http://rkthb.co/5083
I really like your blog! Would love for us to follow each other in our journeys! I am chronicling 2012 with a photo a day and insight to follow.
My first visit to your blog and I thoroughly enjoyed!! I’ll be back!
Recently I became inordinately excited over an advertised Murder She Wrote marathon. Friends may ridicule, but watching reminds me of my grandmother. I was disappointed to learn soon after, that it would be airing on a channel we don’t have..we don’t have many. This really shouldn’t have been an issue, because I have the ENTIRE series on an external hard drive and can watch any episode I want, whenever I want to. But It illustrates your thesis. I wanted to wait for it. I wanted the anticipation of not knowing what episode would come next, and the joy of finding out it was one of my favorites. Thank you so much for your post. It’s nice to know there are others that celebrate the joy of the Wait.
Your response made me laugh out loud. Murder She Wrote reminds me of my Granny too! xo leigh
Wow, what a post 🙂 Thoughtful, with good points, and detailed. I agree with you.
It’s the waiting that makes it special. <– Exactly. It's the anticipation that is special, not so much the dream itself.
I love getting hand-written letters, and dislike e-cards as they seem so impersonal to me. But, they are an easy and fast solution. And many things are about easy and fast today.
It's saddening… I also fear for my (future) child(ren). I hope to be able to control some things of life but I cannot control what happens when I am not around.
Your post hits home for me. I’m a teacher at an alternative school, and it is very difficult to help my students see beyond themselves. While this is part of adolescents, this “me-ness” is excesive. They believe they are owed everything, from Christmas presents from teachers to positive notes and pieces of candy. When I thank or praise my students, it is genuine and real. What is interesting is how many or my students who ask me to praise them or thank them, even when they have not earned it.
Fresh Pressed can be a lot of pressure! But congrats.
Another excellent writer, an American living on PEI, was Fresh Pressed and found it a stressful experience. So keep a coolie, my Canadian sister, and keep your good health! Here’s how he handled it: http://mostlybrightideas.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/pressed-for-time/
He was freshly pressed in late October and is now down to approx. 100 comments each post – which is not frequent.
Your wise counsel displays a beautiful soul and solid sensibilities. It is a pleasure seeing you live with such vitality and enthusiastic engagement. Your letter to your son ought to be part of our Middle School curriculum in Canada (and in the States)! If you did send it off to Ministries of Education, tell them to pay you lots! 😀
It’s a bit overwhelming I’ll give you that. But I am thrilled to get incaseimgone out there. It has pleased me immensely, even with the zany inbox. I will read your link. Thank you. And if the Ministries of Education want to pay me lots, I’ll take it! All the best, xo leigh
Great post! I agree with so much of it, but wanted to try and make one point. It’s a bit easy to throw today’s students under the bus for expecting to be rewarded without earning it. As a teacher myself, what I see is a horrible lack of patience coming from parents and schools in regards to dealing with young people. I really believe that given time and support, our students are capable of a lot…but it doesn’t seem like many others think that too. Today’s students have it so ingrained in them that failure is not acceptable…Screw up a test? It’s the end of the world. Don’t know what to write your paper on? Copy what someone else did. Not a great athlete or writer or whatever right now, in the current moment? Give up. That mentality doesn’t come from the kids. The people who want the instant gratification are the parents, who allow no room for personal growth and seem to have no conception of the idea that their own kids can figure things out or develop their skill sets.
Anyways, that’s my little take right there…thanks for getting me thinking, and congrats on the Freshly Pressed!
It’s a well made point and one I agree with. The problem with children, most often, can be traced back to the parents. My point was only to illuminate a problem that only increases to grow and one that I think does us and our children a disservice, even as it appears to make our lives “easier”. Getting people thinking is the first step. xo leigh
What an amazing gift you are giving your son. In this post, in your blogging, in your thoughts. Twenty years from now I am hoping a fella just like him, loved by a mama like, you runs into my fiery red-headed five year old and sweeps her off her feet. Now that’s something to anticipate:)
Amen to that. xo leigh
Saying firstly that I really enjoyed your post and evidently lots of people have. Though I think I have a different perspective on this issue. Especially as I am strongly part of the instant gratification culture being only 18.
Though it’s bad to say, I think instant gratification is something we as a society or globe have to come to terms with and accept. As the world globalizes and everything is at our fingertips the technological direction (at least) is pointing to getting what you want when you want it.
Though that said, I think we must change our focus in our age of fast advancing life styles. What I really agreed with not only as a statement but also as a problem is once people have something they want the next new thing. I think the world will find redemption in appreciation, in dwelling, thinking and allowing themselves to be effected by things and not just brushing them aside as a new flashy cool thing. Personally I have a note book which when I see or hear something I like, I write about it, reflect on it and sketch it. The real reason I do this is not simply as a reminder, but that it creates the feeling that this something has effected me, I know I have learnt from it, I know I have grown as a person. I think the world is now filled with people that just have fleeting memories, the ‘old school’ anticipation not only made stuff fun, but also made it memorable. This constant and instant gratification focuses on having numerous experiences and not appreciating single moments on their own (as you said its now ‘quantity over quality’). So without anticipation what do we do? What is there to fill that void?
Personally I believe it is the active teaching and self will to not take things for granted, whether it be the newest piece of technology or an emotional gathering. Stepping away from materialism its not how new a piece of technology is, it’s how it positively effects your life, its not how many friends you have on facebook, it’s what they mean to you.
p.s. sorry for the long and hard to follow reply.
Not long or hard to follow. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the thoughtful way you’ve articulated yourself and your thoughts. I hope their are many more 18 year olds like you.
You might want to check out The Artist’s Way if you’re into recording how the world affects you. It’s something I did in Theatre School but you might really enjoy it being a “notebook” person. Food for thought.
All the best, xo Leigh
Good posting, really enjoyed reading it. I raised my children in the era of mid 70’s to early 80’s so know exactly what you are talking about. I limited my children in many areas where they wanted everything ‘right now’so to speak. I instilled in my children, that if they wanted the newest, coolest, everybody has one, thing, then they would have to start saving their pocket money they received each week, for doing their chores, or hope that maybe it would be a birthday or Christmas gift, but not to count on it. Also that what was new today, was going to be old in a very short time, and they would not die, because they did not have it. It was hard trying to get them to realise the difference between want versus need. Sounds to me that your child has a very special mum, who is thinking of the best way to raise her child, in a society of instant gratification. Thanks for the privilege of being able to read your post.
Excellent article. I agree about what you said about anticipation lacking.Also about how self-absorbed this younger generation is. I was born in 1972 but I remember growing up in a household to be considerate of others and you get what’s within your means and you like it. This no-apologies self-centeredness of the Generation Me she’s talking about, I agree withwhat she’s talking about.
this post is an amazing eye opener, especially for us, the me generation.
anticipation is a happy feeling, and we barely have it.
I guess we kids are busy with ourselves most of the time. reading books is a good way to improve my patience.
Loved this post, well done
I didn’t have the time to read all the comments. So, I don’t know if a scientist or researcher made a comment on the anticipation we are commited to. In doing a proper scientific research, every step needs care and some wait. We have to wait. For analyses of so many types, for the interpretation of results, for scientific meetings, for the evaluation of grant proposals, for analyses of scientific papers. Although these steps have improved thanks to the internet and new technologies, they are still necessary. As a consequence, good scientific research needs to be carefully done, and we have to wait many times.
Your post is not important for current life, but also for education and scientific purposes. Actually, I think this is the most important aspect of your considerations. Thank you for sharing them.
Thank you – love so much of your thinking. The strawberry example – so simple and so true – the sad thing is if we let life go on like this it won’t be long before we won’t remember the way they are supposed to taste – we’ll just accept it and collude with someone else’s standards….
wonderful post, thanks for sharing!
Great post!! i belong to ‘generation me’, Kenyan, born in early 80’s. A lot has just changed and am doing a piece on work on the same. I started the work when i just imagined if i could write a letter to my late grandma ( whom i loved so much) who died in early 90’s( off course a lot had changed by the time she died), but the current state would just leave her in great shock, if at all i would manage to d that…and off course my 4 months son would read the same and hope he will try to compare the new world and the old world.
I agree with you, this “everybody get a medal mentality” encourages participation but kills effort. Effort and delay of gratification are foundations of a meaningful life. One solution, for your kids could be: practicing virtue. Virtue is something difficult at the beginning, but once the person has developed a virtuous behavior, the person enjoys possessing that virtue. (Have a look at Aristoteles!)
Virtues are lovely and we are doing one a month at his co-op and trying to reinforce it at home. They are currently on Respect. Thank you for the suggestion. xo leigh
Not long ago I was refreshing my knowledge about Aristotle and I enjoyed a lot his teachings about values… maybe you will enjoy the post I wrote at that time: http://livewithlight.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/aristotle’s-reflections-about-a-good-life/
Was passing by and found this to be an incredible post. I would like to specifically acknowledge you for bringing up the concept of ” instant gratification”. To my mind, much of the ills of today’s woeld can be traced back to this aspect. An aspect, unfortunately on which much of media revenues rest.
I often think I’m too young to be so nostalgic for the era I grew up in (1970s), but this post showed that it really was a different time, with different charms beyond the fact that I was a kid with no responsibilities. Thanks!
Could it have been put any more better than this? what an excellent essay…..I must share some of my insights into this generation me situation….I also was born in the 70’s,1971 to be exact,I do agree with you that our decade isn’t necessarily tied to the entitlement generation…..when I got anything my Father made sure I worked extremely hard for it….I believe that something went wrong in our decade that started this whole ball rolling…I believe that our politicians and those who make the rules at the top have a lot to do with it… there were those leaders who walked through difficult lives within their family whether it was abuse or covered up secrets of any kind,we wanted to start making it right and talking about those things that we never talked about….this was all good,however, when we dwell on our past and look for revenge or some kind of retribution we begin to look more and more inward if were not careful……
If we look to the past to learn from it and move on that is great,the problem is many of us cannot simply look into our past and it’s horrible stories and move on…..we in fact become paralyzed and begin to live in fear not only of being a victim again but also our fears begin to live out in our childen’s lives…hence we begin to doom them to the “bubble child syndrome”…do not get me wrong I believe some of our society’s ideals and habits had to change but we almost suffocate our children today and we then brag to each other over a coffee at Starbucks that we are the best parents and we have over come our parents generation faulty parenting skills…we encourage each others disabling behavior to our children…..how many have their children on FB because their kid came home and told you that their classmate was on FB???? I was challenged not long ago,my answer was simply NO way!….some may say,I don’t want my child to have rejection issues,o.k. but you will expose them to far worst dangers than that by allowing them on the internet at all..sorry but i am one of those parents that believe in full supervision with children while on the internet…..or what about all the kids under 10 who have iPods???? what the heck???? …call me old fashioned but that’s just wrong,I know many disagree with me, I want to raise sociable children,I’m not sure why they call it :the Social Network”…..it’s not social at all….think of it,if all i use is a key pad for interaction with other people,how will my social skills develop..this why it is so hard for young people to get jobs today..they can’t even do an interview without their parents holding their hands..not long ago I heard that young people are taking their parents to their interviews with them because it is sooo overwhelming for them…
I really do not blame the generation me, in fact ,I feel bad for them,however,we as parents have the opportunity to change the tide a little with our children….let’s stop putting them in bubbles, let them fall,let them catch a cold,let them get dirty,let them make a tree house,let them be rejected at school,let them work out sibling rivalry don;t be so quick to fix the problem,let them fall off the bike,don’t give them everything they ask for…..make them work and win the game honestly!!!!!
Spoken eloquently and truthfully. I am curious what will happen to the generation after this.
Interesting Post. I could not agree more, nothing seems to be special anymore. And the value of things seems non-existant.
Just before the holidays I watched Kathie Lee and Hoda on their morning show and Hoda was showing a tiny little jar of cream, waxing lyrical about it and then casually mentiones :” it is only about $30 – a lovely stocking stuffer:”? I ask you – can we all really be that much out of touch? That a stocking stufferer is now $30 a piece? Better have a small stocking! Talk about being not in sync with their audience.
I am going to blog about my opinion on WHY this is. I have a very clear point of view about this and I have done quite a bit of research on this issue and I think I have discovered the root of this nonsense. And it is only going to get worse, if that is at all possible.
If you miss waiting, you can always visit your doctor, dentist, or the DMV. 🙂
I think waiting and anticipating are a biiiiiit different…:)
We do live in anticipation….if allow ourselves: We cannot predict the future to the best of our abilities. We just can’t, especially the things most important to us.
We just have to be open to those who know the best of us, to love.
Honestly amazing 🙂
Wonderful and thoughtful post!
I was born in the late 70’s and am feeling really nostalgic about all that waiting in anticipation. My favourite examples: listening to the radio, eagerly waiting for a song I liked so that I could hit record and make myself a mixed tape, waiting until six o’clock on Sundays to take in Disney, the excitement on Christmas Eve that was almost unbearable but in an awesome way. I don’t miss hearing the phone ring and wondering if it was a call from my high school principal’s office….
All in all, I think you are right. Kids (and adults) today are truly missing out on the value of anticipation.
I absolutely loved this post!
It brings up another question i’ve been wondering about for a while: Does this mentality contribute to “teaching” our generation ADHD?
A recent study was done between Japanese kids and American kids. They wanted to see how long it was before the kids gave up? Or if the Japanese kids were smarter. So they gave them a Puzzle (Both had the same puzzle) They found that American Kids gave up after nine minutes. The Japanese kids gave up after 14 minutes. So the conclusion was that Japanese kids were not smarter just more persistant. I think taking away anticipation has caused this type of attitude with our children. They are not as willing to work for something that they feel should be given to them. We have created a “I want the world and I want it now” attitude with our children and unfortunately we have given it to them. Its seems like I have to pull teeth to get my daughter to go out and play. She would rather stay on the computer or play video games. Fortunately sometimes she just wants to read a book. I hated coming in when I was a kid.
I am still a very young individual born in the 80’s but your post still makes me think about a lot. Your style of writing is also very appealing and I am looking forward to reading other things by you. Take care.
Hello..Just working from the title..it seems a death of anticipation would be dreary. A death of expectation from others..on either side of that particular quandry..on the other hand..is a blessing :-)..On to the old blog..Peace Tony
Awesome post. I grew up in the 90s, so technology hit me smack dab in the face. To be honest, I feel a lot of times I was born in the wrong generation. I really wish I could have grown up in the 70s or 80s. I feel technology has robbed us of a lot of things, which includes anticipation. I really hope out culture can eventually slow down and realize what was lost and how to gain it back.
I am Edward new to blogging. I stumbled past your post and loved it. I started blogging because I love writing and I know I can never get publishef so I just wanted people to read my stories. Can you give me advice on blogging
I’m no expert. I’m new to this forum too. All I would say is, find a topic that really means something to you and write from the heart. Proofread a lot and take the time to really craft your point. I think people appreciate the effort. I’m always astounded at how many typos I still find even after I’ve read it 100 times. Good luck! xo leigh
Xo Leigh is right: Write from your heart, brains, interests and values! Welcome to the club!
This is an excellent post as others have said. The only thing I disagree with is digital pictures; it pained me in the past to spend nearly $10 on film and developing, and wait a week (when I was a kid it was a week, no 1 hour photo till I was an adult) only to discover only about 5 or 10 of the 36 exposures were any good, lol.
I remember waiting for Christmas specials on TV. This is why I hide our Charlie Brown and Frosty Christmas DVDs and will not let the kids watch them before Thanksgiving.
I’m all for digital pictures too. So much less waste. So much more fun to experiment. I just think it’s funny that there is an entire generation that doesn’t realize you didn’t used to be able to see it right away. Thanks for reading! xo leigh
hahaha, waiting for santa’ picture 🙂
Title was greate and attracting.. nice choise.. and the content as well was nice
i agree with you on the strawberry concept. 🙂 love the research. x
Love! As a parent, I simply say thanks.
Bravo! I’m glad to see I’m not the last of a dying breed. I guess I was feeling the same way this Christmas and I literally blogged (almost) everyday from Nov 1 – thru New Year’s, in my blog “Lost Art of Socializing, just building up my own anticipation for the holidays.
My Travel blog “All Roads Lead to . . .” talks of the same things. The planning of a trip is just as exciting as the actual trip.
You just keep trying with your son, building anticipation is easy and fun. On those “We’ll sees” let him ask a second time, that will make him wonder – plus it’s a good way to see if he really wants it or if it was something that I just saw and had to have.
All change starts within – You control the life you make for your son. Patience will make him a better person, and those fun things that you showed him how to anticipate, will be the stuff he tells his children around the Christmas Tree.
Just an excellent post! Just wanted to let you know that I posted a link over to your post on my blog. You are a terrific writer.
I agree and appreciate the post and the effort put into writing it. I wrote a similiar article like this 3 years ago, focusing around the total annihilation of anticipation with Christmas. In my mind the specialness to that season has to do mostly with the feelings generated by anticipation. If your just going to shop to a prescribed list by others its nothing special. You took this issue and broadened it, I pray that people would not only think about it, but take the effort to make some changes in their lives whether they have kids or not, it’ll will definitely be worth it. Great article!
Thoughtful post. I’d just want to say, people are different. I don’t want ‘to want’ to enjoy what I have. There is intrinsic value in lots of activities. Anticipation can lead to enjoyment but also disappointment. I do also believe in being captivated by the moment.
I found out I was having a girl but towards the end of my pregnancy, a couple people told me they thought it was a boy because I was “so big.” I’d also heard many stories of sonograms that got it wrong. I had to ask after she was born, “is it still a girl?” Like you, I appreciated knowing so I could have time to adjust but I think it would have been more fun not knowing.
It would of right?! If I could have more, I think I’d wait. xo leigh
Wow…I’m not sure I could love this post any more than I do right now! And, regarding the strawberries, yes! You are so right!!
Fantastic post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂
Hi there – you have had so much feedback, so this is probably redundant – But i just wanted to say how much I love this post as you have put into words, ideas I have been trying to articulate…Thank you! I look forward to reading more of you work 🙂
Positive feedback never feels redundant. I appreciate it every time. Thank you. xo leigh
Mine are 20 and 17 now. Iv’e tried to give them a gift I never had-a moral imperative to find something they are good at. All psycho-babble aside being good at something is the best way to raise your self esteem. It took me until age 58 to figure that out.
Great post. I too, am a child of the Me Generation. Although I was born in 1971, I too remember waiting all year for strawberry season, tomato season, cherry season, all the seasons. I also remember when Christmas season started the day after Thanksgiving, not the day after the 4th of July! I think by taking away that anticipation we have removed the significance and joy of the season. I appreciate your post and makes me yearn for the years gone by, before I boycotted all things Christmas and loved the lights and music. I miss those times.
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
It is a good post, sound perspective and just in approach. I guess life’s a little too volatile to hold and appreciate for long in the present scenario, and its fair to drift off to what’s next. A planned or whimsical approach to the matters of future, in many ways works as is human nature, a parody of past experience, present capabilities and anticipated future. I do believe that things have changed, availability has become more widespread, and there are things kids nowadays take for granted, but I don’t believe anticipation has died. If we were to talk of kids, of kings and queens, it is agreeable that they took some things for granted, similar to what has now become of the present generation, but then again it does not mean that there exists no excitement to what’s ahead, it could very well mean, what excites now is different to what did earlier. Although its sorrowful indeed, that life of this excitement to newer things has shortened, but excitement still remains.
As is, our surrounding changes fast these days, its hard to appreciate since somehow we have already been assured that change they will, so don’t be so amazed every new minute kiddo! The way of life has changed, its no mystery that we are more self centered now, competition is a bitch, but holding onto those ideas of past and reinforcing them onto present generation will never suffice. When things go wrong altogether, people will learn, adore, adjust and revert back to past values or mixture of sorts, but if it does not go wrong, believe me it never was a problem, might just have been resistance to change or guilt of acceptance.
Thank you for your thoughtful exploration into a subject that has obviously touched a nerve many people’s consciousness, including my own. Clearly you’ve given this subject a lot of consideration before deciding to sit down and write. Your insight from parenthood is also fascinating. My wife and I apparently cannot have children.
I am also just a step away from you in age, being a child of the 60’s by a whopping 18 days. And yet because I grew up as an Asian immigrant in Los Angeles, the perspective of the Outsider without a Home has always afforded me another view on just about everything here in the States.
So I don’t go as far as katemadison365 to accuse you of anything but rather congratulate you for identifying the “rabbit hole” of sorts, and encourage you to dive in with me!
Our society has been changing since before our own childhood and we can still remember a time when things were more in balance in relation to what our children are being. Sidthemouse got closest to it in his wonderful exploration in answer to your post. And yet everyone seems to think that something has gone wrong inside each one of us, whether it is lack of self-moderation or our inability to manage our own or our children’s time or attention. Even you say it is up to you to “work harder” at instilling the sense of joy of anticipation or receiving something after hard work and delayed gratification.
I humbly suggest that there is something larger at work than just ourselves. It is as hard for us to see as water is to fish.
BBC did a 4 part series way back in 2002 that was called “Century of Self” which is still available for free viewing on Youtube. In this long documentary, it traced Consumerism as a political tool that started at the end of WWII because of our government’s fear of civil disobedience. Governments were right to be afraid because organizations naturally strive for structured stability while democracy is all about creative growth and evolution. Yet Government unleashed a plan that became a Frankenstein’s Monster beyond anyone’s imagination.
With the tools of WWII Propaganda birthed into Public Relations, the work of Sigmund Freud was actively used in the hands of his nephew who was very influential in the top levels of government. Consumerism the experimental tool to redirect the average American creative potential to working in dull jobs for money to buy things.
It was fantastically successful in that within a few decades it replaced manufacturing as the main basis of our economy. Most everyone bought into it until it became the norm. In a sense, we didn’t just drink the cool-aide… it was poured into the tank and we are all swimming in it!
But something as imbalanced as Consumerism is unsustainable for the earth nor ourselves. It is not in our human nature to live outside of the joy of creativity in the lie of “delayed gratification” through buying. Such is the feeling you touched on in your article. There is a disconnect from our Being which is fueled by the incessant wanting of things Outside. It is not the lack of anticipation for fulfillment that is the problem so much as no lasting fulfillment is gained by any amount of doing or buying!
And yet Advertising always promises to fulfill all your dreams if you just buy that next thing, get the newest model. Ironically all the instant gratification we see now, of which bemoan in your article, actually represents the endgame of this Consumerist way of life since most of us are wealthy enough to buy most all that Advertisers offers. Though we still believe it when Advertising tells us that ethereal satisfaction is still out there, doubt is building because with experience we suspect it isn’t really isn’t because none of it has ever been lasting.
So “on-demand” is fundamentally no different than “waiting” in this paradigm. They both are carrots on the stick dangling closer and closer every time we are just about to turn away from it until one day we realize… it’s just a goddamn carrot! -why am I working so hard to pull this cart?!?
So if I look back on the lifeless look on my nephews’ eyes after the immediate high of a mountain of unwrapped X-mas presents as sidthemouse described I can see the purity and directness of children’s emptiness. In a sense, they can’t fake it if its all we offer them as adults, even if they can’t identify what is truly missing.
Nor can we.
My thoughts here are merely describing one facet of the jewel we are collectively polishing. Clarity is what we seek. The imbalance we feel in the world is up to us to identify and redress. We are not merely rats in an experiment called Consumerism. All of us have the responsibility of participating in a new and higher game because ultimately, the Captains of Consumerism are blind and we are headlong going toward a waterfall.
The stakes are high… I feel especially poignant for you, Leigh, and other parents of our future generations.
Wow. Is this ever a thought provoking response. I’ll have to find those BBC documentaries. It’s fascinating to think of consumerism as a political tool for manipulation that we, in North America, took and ran with. I love your analogy of not just drinking the cool-aid but swimming in it. I’m also particularly dismayed at the idea of your nephew’s lifeless looks after the immediate high of unwrapped gifts wore off. I can see glimmers of that in Loch’s life and it’s alarming. The fact that our collective culture is heading towards a big fall is not a new one, but it’s an alarming one, and one you’ve clearly illustrated in your letter. What’s to be done if we are already submerged? Consumerism in itself can’t be the only problem. It seems that it’s consumerism super-sized that’s the issue. Just as we don’t need that many fries or that large a soda. We shouldn’t need that many things.
How do we find, as you say, the balance?
Leigh, do spend some time on the BBC documentaries. In particular, the first two episodes on the importance of Freud’s work in transforming Propaganda into PR and the beginnings of Consumerism.
The last two episodes seem to describe the effects of Consumerism on our views of Self in relation to those around us decades into the experiment.
I honestly look forward to reading YOUR views on “balance”. You certainly have the writer’s skill and critical mind to further polish this gem.
Century of Self:
Great post, I hope you will share some more with us!
I read your blog post ‘Death of Anticipation’ and topic itself caught my attention, but the content was as interesting as as the topic. Though i an not very used to read lengthy texts(and don’t even advocate writing lengthy stuff to myself at least) still i kept on reading till the end, n still was expecting more.
I am very new to blogging and following regular bloggers to Learn some writing lessons, still if u can visit my Blog and give some comments, it will be highly appreciated.
Reblogged this on abhijatyatewari and commented:
I read your blog post ‘Death of Anticipation’ and topic itself caught my attention, but the content was as interesting as as the topic. Though i an not very used to read lengthy texts(and don’t even advocate writing lengthy stuff to myself at least) still i kept on reading till the end, n still was expecting more.
I am very new to blogging and following regular bloggers to Learn some writing lessons, still if u can visit my Blog and give some comments, it will be highly appreciated.
Reblogged this on theconfusednurse.
It is not by giving your child the material things which try to tempt it. It is giving ‘Love’ which is the most important thing to have it develop in a world which becomes harder and merciless. Giving it spiritual backing so that it can stand up straight in this ever changing world of selfishness.
Ok…first of all, congratulations. This is a fantastic (funny) and really important post that CLEARLY resonated with a lot of people. I’m so proud of you.
Second, it goes without saying, I couldn’t agree with you more.
One quick example and then I’ll get out of your comment box.
When we first found out Michael would have to tour for a year, everyone felt so sad for us. We didn’t have the heart to say out loud…’Actually, we think it’s going to be great.’
And it is great. Michael gets to concentrate on being at his best. I get time to myself after the baby’s asleep, which is precious. We travel to where he is once a month and the anticipation is fantastic. Getting on the plane is so exciting. Even the little man gets excited…you can hear it in his tiny man giggles.
OK…that being said…as far as the 70s are concerned, when you have a moment, take a peek at this book. It’s really incredible. It’s a psych book, so it’s thick, chewy reading. It was written in the 70s (if I remember correctly) and I believe the author died well before the internet grew into the beast it is now. He essentially predicted everything that is happening today, simply from the invention of human beings being able to see themselves in photos. That was the beginning of the end as far as he was concerned.
The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch
What stood out in this book was the concept that life used to be lived to the fullest by respecting the people who came before you (who essentially got you where you are). Then you worked to preserve it and make it better for the children coming after you. That was your legacy, that’s it. It never had anything to do with you, and ultimately still doesn’t. But we think it does, which, according to Mr. Lasch, is a root cause of much unhappiness. He also thought it could lead to our own demise (in the sense that we don’t seem to care that we’re trashing the planet) since we can’t see outside of ourselves. ‘So what if it’s hot? I won’t be here.’
So if Mr. Lasch were alive today Leigh, he would probably say you are right on track by using technology to lead the way for your son. Maybe that’s partially why your work here feels so good and comes so naturally to you.
So proud of you.
Wonderful comment Elizabeth, I will have a look to that Mr Lasch you mention!… Egocentricity is much more pernicious than egoism… as you say… it disables us to grasp the infinite value of our world and our life.
Love love love this post, you’ve totally hit the nail on the head and I’m more than pleased to be able to finally link to this post. I’ve sat on it this whole time meaning to link, and now it is going to happen. Thank you for your thoughts. Bill.
I came here via your link in the HuffPo comments about taking the holidays down a notch. Thank you! Thank you for writing a wonderful entry about what my husband and I have been trying to pinpoint that is making us so uneasy with this consumer culture. How do we expect our kids to be excited about anything or not continually seek better “highs” if they’re always celebrating something? So, thank you. Let’s take it down a notch and learn to wait for the good things.
Thanks for looking me up Susan. I really appreciate it. Yes, I’d love to take it down a notch. Unfortunately I just have to make some baskets, color some eggs and go hide some jelly beans first! xo leigh
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