This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Nov 15, 2021
What was the last thing you were excited about? I have been sitting here at my desk for about 10 minutes trying to come up with an answer to that question. I am ashamed to say that I had to open my calendar to look for something. I am as far back as August and a Tough Mudder I did. I think that was the last time I felt like I was excited about something. I was stoked that day, almost 3 months ago. I have never been a guy that has ever been accused of being overly emotional or sentimental, but even by my cold-hearted standards, I should be able to do better than 3 months.
What about you? What was the last thing that you were excited about? A family event, an experience, a trip, a vacation, a gift, a relationship? Can you think of the last time you were excited about something? Maybe I am just turning into a cantankerous old man, but I remember a time earlier in my life when I was able to get excited about things. I can remember looking forward to things and feeling anticipation to the time when they would happen. I used to keep tabs on movies coming out and I would look forward to seeing them. I certainly used to know the countdown to Christmas. All of that seems like a long time ago, but even so, I certainly miss looking forward to things.
I don’t believe I ever chose to be this way. I didn’t set out to be a boring person who is bored with life, but somewhere along the way, that happened. I guess it gets the best of us. But it feels wrong to be so even keel because there are things happening in the world that are worth getting excited about.
I think that there are two reasons people in their late 40s don’t get excited for things anymore. First, it requires a lot of energy to be excited and I just don’t have it. It is funny that I have plenty of energy to complain about Millennials but seem to find no energy to be excited about anything. Maybe it is those baby-faced young people who get on my nerves so much that robs me of my joy. Back in my day, we had to go outside and play. No wonder I am now too tired to be excited. It was from all that running I did as a kid. Kids today don’t know how good they have it!
But there is another reason why we 40 somethings don’t get excited any more. I have been let down too many times by things I thought were going to be awesome. I can remember my first nice car. I bought it back in the early 2000s. It was a Ford Mustang. I had graduated from Seminary and was in my first church full time and I thought I needed a nice car, so I got this Mustang. It immediately broke down, cost me $1400 to repair it. One day soon after that it rained. My driveway had a slight incline and because of the rain (I am serious, rain not ice) that car would not go out of my driveway. When I finally got it out of my garage, I took it directly back to the dealer and traded it in. To say I hated that car would not encapsulate my true feelings.
Any of you who are my age probably have the same line of stories. Stories of let downs, disappointments, frustrations, troubles and difficulties that have led to your default position being pessimism. That is the way we guard against disappointment that excitement opens us up to.
Shame on me for allowing my desire to not experience disappointment prevent me from being excited about things that are going on in my life today. I don’t need to act like a 5-year-old on Christmas Morning, but I do owe it to myself and the people around me to feel some energy when something good is happening. I can’t allow curmudgeon to be my default setting. Some of those emotions are good things and are worth letting out of the box from time to time.
If you are anything like me, it has been way too long since you allowed yourself the pleasure of looking forward to something. Maybe it is time that you look over your opportunities and see if there is something coming up that you might be able to muster some excitement about.