Boss monster: anticipatory anxiety

I was listening to the newest episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin this morning — in particular, episode 85, “Ever Been Annoyed by a Gift?” One of the topics they discussed is giving yourself something to look forward to on the calendar. To paraphrase Gretchen, if there’s nothing on your calendar to look forward to, maybe reconsider your life and your choices.

There is very little for me to look forward to on my calendar.

Honestly, the things I look forward to the most are activities that mostly involve me being lazy, like my monthly massage. Or plonking down on the couch with a stack of books on a rainy day and just reading — which I almost never do.

To what extent is this a product of my personality and my hobbies, though?

As I’ve mentioned before, I feel a lot of anticipatory don’t-wannas about basically everything I ultimately enjoy. There is a part of Lise that really enjoys going out in the woods in silly costumes and hitting people with foam swords — and I’m often energized for weeks afterward — but there is another part of Lise that is really, really attached to creature comforts. These parts of me are constantly at war.

So, last week, for example. I knew I had 5G coming up. I knew there were some costuming and other prep tasks I needed to take care of. I dreaded them. Even convincing myself to make my character’s death mitigation tokens — which literally involves writing on a ribbon with a silver pen, then hot-gluing the ends together to form a moebius strip — was torture.

(Also guess which genius FORGOT these tokens at home and had to make them out of paper, on the fly?)

But around lunchtime on Friday, when I was writing in Ianthe’s character journal while waiting for the glue gun to warm, I realized I was actually doing okay. In fact, I was annoyed that I hadn’t started earlier, so that I could have done more.

I wish I could bottle this feeling, so I could sell it to future Lise.

The weekend itself was invigorating. I slogged around in the drizzling rain and slept in a stuffy cabin and I still felt great. I kept being annoyed I hadn’t done more costuming stuff, though. I keep meaning to put more symbols on my garb, for example. (The equivalent of “put some gears on it” for the Arcane Circle, I guess). I keep meaning to order ink cartridges so I can use my cartridge pen for writing in my IC journal. I want to make earrings for Ianthe, and decorate curtains for her bed, and make a dress for the winter ball, and and and…

I’m pretty sure the feeling will fade in about two weeks. And the next event isn’t until December January.

Now I have to get ready for Cafe Casablanca, and it’s the same thing. Worse, in some ways, because the prep involves flying to Chicago, and all that entails. I want to do pin curls for the event itself, and I keep telling myself I need to practice them ahead of time. Can I ever convince myself to do this? Of course not. Hell, I didn’t even read my whole character sheet until yesterday.

I like these things. I almost never feel bad while actually doing them. Why is it so hard to get myself to anticipate them positively?

Author: Lise

Hi, I'm Lise Fracalossi, a web developer, writer, and time-lost noblethem. I live in Central Massachusetts with my husband, too many cats, and a collection of ridiculous hats that I rarely wear.