surprise and anticipation

caveauEarlier this month, I turned 50.

Thank you very much. As my brother said “You know the drill, a straight bat, eye on the ball and start again to turn it into a ton”.

I had expressly and adamantly refused to have a big deal birthday dinner and most especially, definitely NOT a surprise. I quite probably tipped myself over into curmudgeon territory with my insistence that there be no surprise dinner.

So Hazel organised an absolutely fantastic surprise dinner with three other couples at my far-and-away favourite Wollongong restaurant Caveau.

And yes, it was a total surprise. I really thought it was just going to be me and Hazel. I’m still a bit stunned that four friends came from Sydney and stayed overnight.

It truly was brilliant. Great company, superb food and wine, waited on hand and foot in a private room. Suffice to say, we closed the place.

Then the next morning we all went to Lee and Me for a late, luscious, lavish breakfast. Heaven.

So, given this, should I stop protesting my dislike of surprises?

Hell, no!

Having spent a week in Sydney engaging in professional self-reflection at Web Directions, I have given this a bit of thought.

The thing is not that I hate surprises, it’s just that I just prefer the anticipation.

I love looking forward to something, thinking on it, dreaming of what it might be like, imagining scenarios, experiencing it in advance.

Sure, there’s always a risk of anticipating something so much that the actual experience can’t live up to it, but come on – dinner for eight cooked by Peter Sheppard is not going to disappoint. Bin, Johnny, Meli, Tim, Abbie, Jules, Hazel and me is not going to disappoint.

I spent months anticipating Web Directions and it totally lived up to my hyper-expectations. I order books and watch the mailbox for their arrival. I spot a recipe and ponder it until I get the chance to give it a go. I bake a cake and am genuinely excited about how it might come out. I buy music online and make myself wait until I can listen to it “properly”.

I like looking forward to things.

Knowing what’s coming – or thinking I do – enhances the experience for me.

Inevitably, I still get to be taken by surprise in lots of ways and to my frequent delight, but I would oh so much prefer to salivate (literally, metaphorically – it all depends) in sweet anticipation.

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