Anticipation: looking forward to the future, for something good to happen, expected or not.
Three years since we all locked down due to COVID and Johns Hopkins has just suspended their collection and reporting of case data. I took that as my signal to stop my collection as well. Yes, I have a spreadsheet of data for more than 160 weeks. Thousands of Americans still die due to COVID every week. It’s hard to hold the candle at this vigil. It feels good to stop collecting the data. It’s hard to care all alone.
I’m still teaching in a mask to protect myself and my vulnerable loved ones. I still test about once a week.
Is dwindling concern over COVID what’s causing my undercurrent of anticipation? I don’t think so. Not just that.
Since 2016 when we were flabbergasted by Donnie’s crude disparaging comments about how he’s allowed to treat women, and then Comey’s last stand, and then election day that year–for the last six and a half years I’ve dreaded hearing from or about that deplorable man. Now. Finally. Maybe as soon as next week. He’ll face his first arrest. Manhattan will start the take down, and there will be more coming. There is handwringing over potential backlash from his goons, but that should not stop the march to justice to take down this career criminal and the worst choice for President in my lifetime, and maybe ever. There’s this warm glimmer of hope that the stain made by Donnie can be rinsed away and we can be rid of him.
Is the pending indictment of Donnie going to cause dancing in the streets and a shortage of champagne? That’s my prediction. My sparkling wine is ready. Bring it on.
But that’s not the only ingredient in this feeling.
There’s finally a push for a world run on sustainable energy. I’ve been waiting for this for decades. I’ve suffered the financial loss of owning an electric (hybrid) car before they were mainstream, before they were serviceable, before they were affordable–simply to do my part and reduce my energy consumption. Electric cars, solar panels, renewable energy, understanding about humanity’s role in warming the planet–the current crop of young adults gets it all and will demand responsibility louder than any of us could in the past.
Is there hope for humanity? Absolutely.
On the other hand, for years Americans refused to wear masks to protect each other. Over a million citizens died. At the same time these me-firsters loudly declared their importance, science brought vaccines. Science.
There is hope for humanity because we have the brain capacity to understand science and all its wonders, all while ignoring the loud misunderstandings of the people who don”t understand, can’t understand, or just don’t want to, and think they know better. Science is the reason there’s hope for humanity.
But even that’s not the only reason I’m feeling a spark of hope.
March Madness is upon us. Such an exciting tournament. I always guess my way through a bracket and actually pay attention to the games, charmed by the feverish devotion of college students to their teams. Right now, Kansas might beat Arkansas.
Is college basketball and the new leaves on the trees causing my bubble of anticipation? Maybe not. But they are greasing the path of the day-to-day struggle to wake up early and drive through the traffic and back again.
After semesters teaching online, and then watching hundreds of awkward unprepared students struggle to readjust to coming to class, now we’re reaching a point where they are ready to learn again. There’s a sense of normalcy in the lecture hall. Participation, interaction, friendships, discussions, collaboration, success–my students are resilient and dedicated, interested and capable.
Is loving my job again what’s giving me this glittery view of a future? Certainly part of it. But there’s more.
This week I lost my keys and found them, ate my breakfast without a fork in the car, dropped my egg under the seat, worked 14-hour days, completed ten hours of homework for the class I take at night, appreciated my team of graduate students, emailed dozens of students, answered dozens of questions, wrote five exams, graded hundreds of exams, slept like the dead, dropped things made of glass that didn’t break, ordered grocery pickup on the wrong date and Angela filled my order early anyway, dodged a crash when a truck pulled in my lane, had two moles removed and only one was bad, pumped gas and it stopped at 10.00 gallons, finished a Whole 30, beat my bloodwork challenge with lowered A1C and lowered cholesterol, wore green, and felt relief to have survived it all.
Relief is like floating, but it’s looking back. Anticipation is looking forward. So surviving a hard week is a bonus, but it isn’t the only reason for my hope bubble.
Summer is coming. The semester is slipping away. Five more weeks of alarm clocks. Final exams. Then a week at the beach to recover. Sunsets on the lake. Purple martins at the island. And may it be so: Grandbabies are coming for another Grammy Camp. Days of giggling and swimming and baking and reading. Plus, my family is waiting for a brand-new human to join us. A tiny new person.
There it is. My heart is full of the next generation of my family, and all the ways these delightfully thoughtful and funny people will conquer the world.