Anticipation… or Dread?

Seems like both stress me out

By Jeff Salter

This week’s topic is (basically): Is there an upcoming calendar event that I’m looking forward to… or dreading? As usual, my answers will be all over the place, so bear with me.

For one thing, any adjustment to my post-retirement schedule these days tends to jostle me out of sorts. I like my low-key routine and I prefer staying at home (or very close) — so having to GO or DO or BE somewhere else… tends to stress me. Yes, even if it’s an otherwise (potentially) pleasurable experience awaiting. Part of that is me being a solitary introvert who wants more and more to cocoon as I tack on each additional year. Part of it relates to several health and medical issues, which I don’t care to detail here. Suffice it to say that with my several conditions, it’s far more comfortable for me to be at home in familiar surroundings… than to be gadding about.

But I wasn’t always this way. As a younger, healthier man, I was ready to go and do and be somewhere. I could and would travel… I could and did attend events that required energy, attention, etc. In my work life (and its professional organization), I chaired committees, ran for offices, conducted workshops, worked on conferences, held meetings, scheduled events, etc. I say all that merely to point out that I wasn’t always a boring homebody who didn’t want to be bothered.


Now, to one part of the actual question: Do upcoming events cause me anticipation or dread? Naturally, I dread things like dental appointments, doctor visits, lab work, etc. But even things which would otherwise seem potentially positive – e.g., attending a small party, going out to supper, attending a grandkid’s program at school, etc. – can sometimes stress me out because they’ll place me in unfamiliar surroundings. And with the medical and health issues that tend to dominate my current existence, unfamiliar surroundings are NOT the place to be.

Here’s an example: A few years ago, I made arrangements with my youngest grandchild’s kindergarten teacher to read a story to her class. Not just any story, but a story that I’d write specifically for those kids in that particular class. It was a LOT of work, but I enjoyed writing it. As the weeks rolled by and we got closer to the reading date, of course, I began stressing about it. As each day ticked down, I began to sense more dread. Why? Not because I expected a hostile audience… but simply because of the effort and energy it would require (and that I’d be in those unfamiliar surroundings for those couple of hours). When all was said and done, it turned out very well, I thought. Got terrific response from the teacher, the kids, and even a few parents (who’d received enthusiastic reports from their children). A very successful event — but one which stressed and taxed me considerably… and I was WILDLY glad when it was over.

Upcoming Events

Let me mention one upcoming event that has me both excited and also stressed with dread. For some half dozen years, I’ve participated in our local library’s Author Event, in which each participating author has a table (or shares a table) and is able to greet interested readers and potential buyers. This is a wonderful event and I’m extremely grateful to our library staff for putting it on each year. Terrific opportunity to meet new readers and (hopefully) sell a few books. So I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Yet, at the same time, I dread it… because it involves so much preparation, so much effort to set-up, and requires so much energy to be pleasant and positive for those few hours. Did you laugh just now? Yeah, it takes a lot of effort and energy for me to be “pleasant”. Just saying. Many people are graced with natural sociability and enthusiasm… but some of us have to dig deep… and then spend a day or two afterwards to re-charge those batteries. So that annual author event is one I look forward to, but also dread. I’m extremely grateful to be allowed to participate, but incredibly pleased when it’s over!

No Dread

So what upcoming events do I look forward to without any particular stress or dread? Well, for one: book release days. And I have another one of those coming up in early Spring (if not sooner). There’s a lot of positive energy leading up to release day. Sure, it can be exhausting, particularly if the work on edits and galleys was hot and heavy right up to the release date itself. But a book release doesn’t require me to GO anywhere, or DO anything in particular (except promote it via various media), or BE in any uncomfortable surroundings. Win-Win.

I also have an example of a wonderful date that I spent an entire year looking forward to — and the only stress involved was how slowly those 365 days inched by. This was when I was stationed at Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland, inside the Arctic Circle, a few hundred miles from the North Pole. That remote assignment was for 12 months. On arrival, I took a brand new deck of cards and – each week – mailed one home to my wife. That was our official count-down. By the time I’d gotten through the suits of Spades and Diamonds, I knew I was half way home. It’s an incredible experience being a “short-timer” and watching those final weeks and days S-L-O-W-L-Y creep by… and every military person on an assignment away from home has felt it.


What about YOU? Do any upcoming events excite you, but also stress you out?

[JLS # 470]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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20 Responses to Anticipation… or Dread?

  1. stevevanhorn says:

    Indeed! I have two weddings to attend this summer. Both are 1000 miles from home and quite frankly will put us in a precarious place financially, as well as taking time away from the farm during two peak processing seasons…not to mention the family members that I dread seeing. Events such as these should be a joyous occasion but remind me that there’s a reason we moved 1000 miles away from home – and then again the farm at times seems like a prison which is difficult to escape from. Yes, I often stress over moments which are meant to be enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      you, sir, are a kindred spirit.
      And, yes — family weddings and graduations tend to take on such importance that the world would end if any of the slots were left un-filled.
      I certainly can see where a farm full of horses and other critters, as well as your gardens / crops — would require so much daily attention that it would be quite difficult to pull away for any period of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    My husband has never been one to travel or go to unfamiliar places, so almost every trip I’ve taken (other than our honeymoon) I’ve done with a friend or my daughters. It’s ironic, now that his health issues prevent him from traveling, he’s expressing an interest in going to places he sees on the Travel Channel. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t like to travel when I was younger.I was too much of an introvert and too much of a homebody.I always had peoel depending on me, so it was hard to be comfortable either away from them or with them accompanying me.
    I am sorry that I didn’t go more;I was just lamenting not taking a will-never-now-be-made-trip that I missed just this morning.
    As for now with health problems as well, we are free to take some short trips, (like just to see the Cumberland Falls), but I am not up to trekking through the woods and trails, or even long hauls through museums. Just getting out of the car from a fair-length drive is hard on me any more.
    I literally feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      yes, age and declining health are real bummers.
      It’s a shame to have regrets over a lost opportunity to experience something unique.
      I still kick myself over missing a chance to ride with the Hurricane Hunters, when I was stationed — AF Reserve — with 920th Weather Reconnaissance Group in the middle 1970s. Surely, that would have been a flight of a lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jbrayweber says:

    I get you, Jeff. Every part of what you are saying. I’m not an introvert, but I do dread going and being “on” even when I know I’ll have a good time. It’s exhausting. And over the years, I’m beginning to note that what I give of myself is taken for granted. I’ll be scaling back soon, for my health and happiness.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Definitely important to insist on that down time after an event or experience has consumed all your energy (both the physical and emotional). You MUST have time and circumstances with which to re-charge those batteries.
      BTW, I haven’t seen a museTracks writing prompt in a while. Off for the holidays?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Anticipation… or Dread? – Sharon K. Connell

  6. This topic certainly brought to light the number of introverts who are authors. I really had no idea. It also confirmed to me that I am definitely an extrovert. LOL Travel and being with others, especially discussing books and writing, are two things I love to do. Organizing events and being a big part of them is also thrilling to me, and I look forward to ever minute.

    But, I’m also surprised that you are such an introvert, Jeff. With all the deadlines you’ve been facing lately, which to me would add a ton of stress (so glad I’m an Indie – eyes looking up to God), I would think you could handle the stress well. And I think that you do handle it better than you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      when I was working full time, I managed — somehow — to juggle things (& people & crises) and survive the stress. But in my retirement years, I seem just to be a homebody who craves solitude.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand that, Jeff. Through my years of working for other people, I had deadlines to meet in every job from my first back in 1961 all the way through my last job, which I left in December 2013 to retire from that hectic world. Now, the thought of a deadline is torture to me. That’s why I don’t even impose my own deadlines on myself.

        If solitude is what you crave, you should give yourself all of it that you need. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. That author event sounds like an interesting one. Wish our library did something like that. I can see where it would be stressful. I like people (mostly) but don’t do well in crowds, it just wears me out. I can see how an event like that would be draining.

    What a cute way to countdown your time in the Arctic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      exactly — dealing with large numbers of people just wears me out. I’m much better with one or (at most) two people… with whom I can converse quietly. But noisy places with people bustling about… just over-taxes me.


  8. trishafaye says:

    Wow! Greenland? So close to the North Pole?
    My son and family just got stationed in Alaska. I thought that was so far north, and so cold and snowy. I think your year in Greenland passes that up. At least my son was able to take the family with him. (Not sure how my DIL is faring with their first winter there though LOL)
    Great post! I enjoyed reading it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Having family with me would have made that year much easier. That also means the base itself had quite a few MORE amenities.
      Interestingly, the other USAF base — Sonderstrom — near the SOUTHERN end of Greenland DID allow “accompanied” airmen.

      Liked by 1 person

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