What delight to turn the calendar page to March! By some measures this is the beginning of spring. I haven’t seen a robin yet, but neighbors have.
When we went into lockdown almost a year ago, someone asked what I missed most. “Making plans,” I said. Normally by March I would be looking forward to family visits from afar, a long weekend in Door County, a day at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. With no idea how long the pandemic would tie us down—maybe two or three months, we feared—planning was impossible. A nebulous “when this is over” was no substitute for a scheduled treat.
Anticipated joy is the pleasure we expect from an experience in the future. Anticipatory joy is the happiness we get right now from planning a future pleasure. Some people get through the winter by pouring over seed catalogues. I used to map out summer vacations, more than I would ever take.
Active engagement in planning a good time can bring nearly as much happiness as when the plans materialize, and sometimes more. It reduces stress and elevates mood. The snow will melt, evenings lengthen, daffodils bloom, vaccinations expand, infections continue to fall. It’s not too soon to plan forest hikes and outdoor gatherings. There is hope.
3/1/2021 07:47:09 am
I so love this message, Sarah. "Joy" is what I contend writers should experience while writing. I believe we writers also experience "anticipatory joy." I do. I love the feeling of a new book or poem idea hatching and I can't wait to write it down. I like looking forward to a writers' conference and going to Door County, too!
3/1/2021 09:15:58 am
Thank you, Christine! I love your observation about the early starting-to-blossom stages of a writing project, where it plays in the head and sets the juices flowing.
3/1/2021 10:37:29 am
When I was in college in lower Michigan, March heralded spring and I always looked forward to going home for Spring Break during that month. However, I lived in the U.P. and when I got home, March was still winter. It was always a shock to my system. Finally, my last year in college, I went south to Florida. It took four years to get smart enough to make reality match my expectations, LOL!
3/1/2021 04:54:04 pm
Peggy, what a difference it makes how far north or south you are! I grew up on West Virginia, and the Appalachian spring definitely began in March - and lasted for months. Until I moved here, I couldn't understand why friends from the upper Midwest (while they loved autumn) were less excited about spring than I was.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.