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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Tuesday
Jan182011

Don’t get too excited

My friend was telling me about this great job she’s being considered for, and while describing how fantastic it sounds, she cut herself off by saying, “I know, I shouldn’t get too excited, it might not happen.” Which prompted me to ask, why couldn't she get excited? What’s “too” excited, anyway? She wasn’t wetting herself (I don’t think). And what’s so dangerous about excitement? She’s not insane; it’s not like she’s going to run out and buy herself engraved business cards with the new position she may or may not have.  If she doesn’t get the job, her disappointment will not be lessened by the knowledge that at least she didn’t let herself get excited. (How unseemly that would have been!)
 
Sort of related: one day when I was around six, I was holding hands with my friend and skipping around like a goof, laughing uproariously, when I tripped and bonked my mouth on the gravel. As my mom mopped up my tears and bandaged my chin, I clearly remember her telling me this: “Laughter always leads to tears.” I told my friends this years later, and it became a running joke whenever we laughed at anything: “We should stop,” one of my friends would solemnly declare, “before the tears come.”
 
Now, I may have misheard my mom; she may have meant “laughter while hopping up and down with your similarly uncoordinated friend will always lead to tears,” but either way I think part of me believed the original statement, and still does, a little.  I’m often concerned that I’ll look foolish being happy and excited, because there’s probably bad news lurking just around the corner. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think many of us suspect that the Universe is going to see us feeling happy and confident and boldly carrying forth and it’s going to be all, “Ah, good, now I know whom to take down a peg.”  And then everyone will laugh when we think we see a bee in the bathroom stall and run out screaming with our skirt hiked up to our waist. For instance.
 
It’s all fantasy, of course. The Universe is busy with other things, like birthing galaxies and expanding. It’s not looking askance at anyone for thinking too much of themselves.  So why not be exactly as excited or pleased or hopeful as we’re feeling? Just let ourselves be, for once? Cut ourselves a huge goddamn break? The disappointments and bad news will come no matter what we do, but meanwhile, keeping yourself in check in anticipation of that moment is just a terrible shame.

Reader Comments (56)

I'm thinking I should craft a similar warning for my daughter, only it would be "too much laughter always leads to you wetting your pants." Because it does, every single time.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

As the self-appointed advocate for Pollyannas everywhere, I must comment. There is never a reason to curb one's enthusiasm or excitement. About anything. Life will hand you plenty of shit on its own...no need to worry about it ahead of time. Anticipate, celebrate and savor the good and happy times. Deal with, minimize, and learn from the bad and sad times.

And jump up and down and make a fool of yourself often. Life is too short to worry about how dumb it looks to everyone else.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAsha {Parent Hacks}

You're absolutely right, we should be able to feel excitement and pride and happiness even if "things" don't pan out or turn out like we had hoped.

January 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Christian Louboutin Shoes Girls's will be found online for fractions off of the retail prices. You can find Christian Louboutin Shoes Women's online brand-new for as little as $60.00.

This is one of my favorite posts of yours, Alice. I have no idea whether you'll even get this comment or if it will be buried in the annuls of comments (hello, this was so January). But I still had to say it. I've thought about it a lot. And today, because I've been trying to "set expectations" for myself (aka: not get too excited about something possibly on the horizon) I decided a visit to this post would do me some good. It did. Thank you. I now feel like I have permission to be excited, and have some hope without stifling it with what ifs. That's so nice.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
September 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlewis

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