In fact, scholars have found that anticipation increases happiness. Considering buying an iPad? You might want to think about it as long as possible before taking one home. Likewise about a Caribbean escape: you’ll get more pleasure if you book a flight in advance than if you book it at the last minute.
I go back and forth on this all the time. Sometimes I think that the amount of time that I spend anticipating something (ski season, vacation, the weekend) would be better spent elsewhere. I feel like I build things up so much, when they actually occur, I feel let down that they weren’t as awesome as I anticipated. If I decide, 4 months in advance, that the upcoming ski season will be the best ever, I will inevitably be disappointed when the snowfall amounts are down, my favorite runs aren’t open, and work obligations are preventing me from skiing anywhere new. You hear this all the time around Late December/Early January. People ask why the mountain isn’t opening quicker. Why does Okemo have so many more trails open? Why hasn’t there been any natural snow? I don’t know if it’s the fast food culture, internet shopping, or just the hectic pace of daily life, but everything has to be perfect, and it has to be perfect now.
But there’s also another side, the one that loves to plan. Sometimes the best part of a vacation is the time I spend before the vacation finding out about where I’m going. I search the internet for trip reports, talk to people who’ve gone, and develop all sorts of options in my head. And travel isn’t the only time I do this. Earlier this year, it wasn’t enough for me to walk into a bike store and buy a mountain bike. I poured over mtbr.com. I talked with anyone remotely connected to mountain bikes. I read all sorts of buyer’s guides. In fact, I buy lottery tickets not because I think I’ll win the lottery, but because I like to spend the days before the drawing planning what I would do if I won. The happiness I get from planning is easily equal to the $1 that the ticket cost me.
So, really, I’m in agreement with the article, and I’m not going to feel bad about getting my hopes up. So what if there might be disappointment along the way? A little bump in the trail never forced me to give up skiing (in fact, eventually, it made skiing more fun). This ski season is going to be the best ever. We’re going to get a ton of snow, everything will be open by early January, and we’ll be loving life in the Tannery, raising beers to sick lines, deep pow, and good friends.
And I’m going to win the lottery.