The trap of anticipation

Earlier today I noticed that when getting a massage it’s easy to spend the whole time anticipating the next stage of the massage.

The therapist was massaging my calves and I found myself thinking “I can’t wait until they get to my back, I’m really tight in my back.”

Then they got to my back and I immediately thought “yep, this is going to feel GREAT when they get to my tight shoulders.”

When they got to the shoulders I started thinking about the stiffness in my neck and when they get to the neck I wondered if they’d finish with a head massage.

All of a sudden the massage was over and I realised I spent the entire time anticipating some future event, distracting myself from the present one.

I tricked myself into thinking the next stage of the massage would be the one that finally solves all my muscle tension and in doing so robbed myself of simply enjoying the process of getting a massage.

Of course, this provides a metaphor and an annoying noodley question for the rest of our lives too:

What outcome are you currently anticipating that is preventing you from enjoying the process of getting there?