’cause these are the good old days

BAre feet

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Pooh. Sigh. Such a very wise bear. What would life be like without anticipation? Without the butterflies in your stomach days before you leave for vacation? Heart flip-flops when you see the love of your life roll up the driveway? (God, I love the UPS guy on Birchbox delivery day!)

This summer I want  to recreate the feeling of being 17 again, in Wisconsin, in all its wild, barefoot, firefly, swimming-in-the-lake, carefree glory. This means suspending the natural cynicism we develop after the age of 17, and embracing, full throttle, giddy anticipation.

That moment before you have the first juice-down-your-chin mouthful of ice-cold watermelon is the sweetest. The nanosecond before you launch yourself off the pier sets your molecules buzzing with the promise of a refreshing jolt.

As with everything in our human bodies as we age, we begin, it seems, to lose the ability to anticipate really good cool stuff, and instead we get all practical and common sensey. “You can’t be disappointed if you don’t expect too much.” Oh phooey. If that’s a person’s M.O. then they are missing out on one of the best genuine feelings a human is capable of, and what a dreadful gray boring way to live, even if it does mean you’re rarely disappointed. Disappointment is like rain anyway. You need its sogginess to fully appreciate joy.

I have no idea what the Lucky Days festival in Luck, WI. will actually hold this weekend, but I expect, in this little hamlet of barely 1200, to be reminded of the small town where I grew up—a town which has become gentrified, McMansionized, and strictly forbids anyone to go barefoot within its imported cheese shops and $300-a-bottle olive oil dispensaries.

There are two lakes in Luck, both with piers aplenty. The beer will be cold, the watermelon juicy, and I am told I can go barefoot just about anywhere. I’m already aflutter as I think about what the warm evenings will smell like, and how clammy/terrific it feels to wear a wet bathing suit under your cut-offs and T-shirt, creating a dark damp spot on your butt and boobs that reminds you for the rest of the day that you jumped into a lake and swam like a kid.

Is there a chance I could be disappointed? That my expectations are too high? That the anticipation won’t match the reality? Hell to the no. I’m going in full-metal-jacket take-no-prisoners Notorious RBG prepared for anything they lob my way, because it is in fact summertime, and there really are two lakes with piers, and I am 100% certain my bathing suit will get wet and my shorts and top will show it. And in that little window of time, I will be 17 again.

What makes you giddy with anticipation? Hit me up—I’d love to know! And the 20th person to shoot me an email telling me who belongs to the moniker Notorious RBG will win a Kindle or eBook copy of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale.

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