The importance of looking forward to things

There was a time in my life where I felt like I was looking into a black hole of nothingness. I wasn’t depressed (at least, I don’t think I was) and I certainly wasn’t suicidal. It was a time where my anxiety was at it’s absolute worst. Not too long after it started, when I didn’t know what it was or how to cope with it. Besides, before October 2011, I didn’t even know what a panic attack was. I didn’t know what anxiety was, let alone what it felt like. I was a girl who pranced through life, going out as much as she possibly could, meeting people and literally – literally – didn’t have a care in the world. 

This isn’t a post about my anxiety journey (but if you are interested in that for some more background info, I wrote about it here  and here) I want to talk about the importance of looking forward to things. Because during my time of black hole nothingness, I didn’t look forward to anything. I had nothing in my life to keep me above water. Every day, hour, minute felt pointless, knowing that the next day was going to be the same. And all the days after that. I had absolutely nothing to look forward to and it was hard. Really bloody hard.

Since developing my complex anxiety issues, I’ve learnt a lot. Make the most of what you’ve got is one of them. And look forward to things is another. Lavish holidays 3 times a year just aren’t feasible for a lot of us but finding something to look forward to doesn’t always have to mean something big. And that was one of the most important lessons I possibly could have learnt at this extremely difficult time in my life. If you’re only looking forward to the “big things” then you’re going to go through life very disappointed.

At the time of writing this post (2nd March), I’m looking forward to watching James Bond tonight with my boyfriend, doing Yoga in the morning, the new Formula 1 season starting, our weekend trip away to the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire and going out for tea and cake with my mum for Mother’s Day. Oh and giving her her Mother’s Day presents which I’ve worked hard to get together. None of these things are particularly life-changing or note worthy. Especially in the eyes of people who can afford to look forward to things all year round. But they’re important to me. They keep me ticking over. (I can confirm that I had a lovely trip on the Severn Valley Railway and my Mum liked her Mother’s Day gifts!)

So my homework to you is tell me one thing you’re looking forward to this month or even sometime in the entire year. Just one thing – big or small – as I’d love to hear them. If you suffer with mental health conditions (or even if you don’t, actually) it can be incredible easy to just float through life, not thinking about the things that are happening to you, just rolling with it. But joy can be found in the tiniest of things and the easiest of activities and you certainly don’t need big parties, lavish meals or expensive holidays in order to look forward to things in your life.

So go on, tell me one thing you’re looking forward to!

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87 thoughts on “The importance of looking forward to things

  1. This post is great and I can relate to it so much! I’ve gone through phases in the past of feeling like I’m stuck in a black hole with nothing to look forward to.
    Now I really try to focus on the small things and find things to look forward to ☺️
    I’m looking forward to starting my new job which I found out about yesterday and I’m also looking forward to going to the football with my dad on Saturday xx

  2. You’re totally right about looking forward to things. I love to travel so i try and have a few trips and holidays planned. At the moment i have trips to London, Edinburgh, and Cornwall planned and hopefully a big trip to the US aswell.

  3. I’m mostly just looking forward to summer vacation in a few weeks because even though I can’t afford to do anything cool at least I can just sit and do absolutely nothing and take a break from life for a couple of months 😂 so that’s something

  4. Hey Jenny. I can completely relate to that. My big motivation to do my bucket list is to not feel stuck in the here and now….and to have things in the diary where I think ‘ooh, can’t wait for that’. My next big thing on my bucket list? I’ll be having breakfast with monkeys at Trentham Monkey Forest and am so excited!!! I’ve paid to do this experience before the place opens up to the public so pretty cool! x

  5. Being positive and looking forward to all the good in life is the best way to live!!! I am totally excited today and looking forward to tonight when I will be hearing Karin Slaughter and Alafair Burke speak about their latest books and have them sign my books afterwards. I’m also looking forward to my baby boy coming home from university for the summer. He makes me laugh all the time :).

  6. Lately I’ve learned that I fell into the comparison trap, comparing my life against my peers. I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough things, hanging out enough, traveling enough, etc. However, I will never be satisfied by only doing things to “impress” others. So I’m going to live my life and do things that are important to me. I enjoy the small things like spending time with my family and cooking something new. I am also looking forward to two trips I’ve been saving up for…and my half marathon??? (I’m still semi-training for that lol)

    • I love this comment! I think so many of us – especially now everyone is on social media, sharing their lives for everyone to see – falls into the comparison trap. It’s too easy to do it. I certainly do it, I’m always seeing bloggers going on trips, holidays, days out – whatever and it makes me feel awful.
      But we also have to remember that they have insecurities too. I think they’re great things to look forward to 🙂

      • I’ve never thought of that last point you made…everyone has insecurities. The reason we try to portray a certain lifestyle on social media is because we’re trying to hide our insecurities or we feel so insecure about ourselves that we try to keep up with the Jones’.

  7. I’m looking forward to a nice warm summer after the winter we’ve had! I’m also looking forward to a mini break to Legoland for my son’s bithday. But most of all I’m looking forwad to seeing where my blog will take me along with other small business ventures I have planned for the rest of 2018 (and beyond)

  8. I really love this post and the positivity it encourages. I think you’re spot on that looking forward to something, anything is critical for everyone but especially anyone dealing with struggles.

    As for me, I’m looking forward to my lunch this afternoon with balsamic chicken and broccoli!

  9. I’ve rediscovered the power of looking forward to things since I’ve been dealing with my anxiety. I only have to be careful not to build pressure with it and set small goals. Well, at the moment, I am looking forward to going back to London in 52 days!

  10. Honestly looking forward to my bf’s birthday. No party or any activity in particular, being with him and the family is more than enough to look forward to.

  11. Jenny,

    I believe that everyone whether they talk about it or not goes through a time in their lives like this. It may not be anxiety, it could be less or more severe. In any case your not alone and to focus on the positives no matter how big or small is a step in the right direction. As you stated, it keeps you going. I applaud you for speaking out about this because it lets people though they aren’t alone and starts a dialogue of a topic that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about. Hang in there and keep doing you 🙂 Now to answer your question, I am very much looking forward to starting my own blog in the near future(if I can ever figure out WordPress 😂)

  12. This is one of the biggest things my therapist tells me! To always have something to look forward to, even if it is as simple as my morning cup of coffee! This was such a great post to share, since I feel like many people don’t put as much into the importance of having something to look forward to.

  13. This is such a good message to share! After trying and failing conventional therapies and having it confirmed by medical professionals that they weren’t going to work for me, I felt SO lost. I kept looking towards the future and thinking about how bad life was going to be because I’d never feel better than I did at the time. If anything, it only made my mental illnesses worse. In the last couple of years, however, I’ve exercised looking forwards to the little things in life as well as the big ones, and it’s really helped.
    At the moment, I’m looking forward to finishing college (three years is too long; I’m SO over it!), going full-time with my freelance/self-employment venture, re-doing my bedroom in late May and going to a festival with my best friend in June. Not necessarily big things, but they mean so much to me and I can’t wait for them to happen!

  14. I think you’ve really hit on something here. As an anxiety sufferer myself it can be so easy to paraphrase your life as hopeless, which is where depression can move in, but if you really don’t have anything to hold onto &anchor you, as you write here, it isn’t a good thing. I actually was surprised as I read this, because I’m not sure I can say I’m looking forward to anything, so I’m off to create something to look forward to!

  15. Im looking forward for my sister’s birthday on 17th May …Will buy a present and whole idea of making a big package of colorful stationary (she loves new stationary , I love too ) and chocolates …So I think this is the best I can do and I’m very positive about her happy expressions after receiving them .

  16. This is exactly how my first panic attack felt like. To make it worse, I was driving home from work and just struggled breathing – pretty convinced at that point that I was having a heart attack. I know there are rough days every now and then, but looking forward to better things is definitely one way to get over them. Sending you lots of positive vibes your way, Jenny!

    cabin twenty-four

  17. I’m looking forward to my niece being born (any day now!) Although that’s a “big thing”, I love the idea of looking forward to more little things, no matter how small. Great post!!☺️

  18. I think you have made a great point- looking forward need not be only looking forward to big things! This is extemely crucial today as we become more and more career obsesses, our measures of success change & we want everything fast & now! Looking forward to even small things like an early sunrise with your partner or sharing a cookie with your kids- these are the small moments which always make your day!

  19. You are absolutely right! Looking forward to and appreciating the little things is just as important. I’m starting to realise that life is not all about big events and that is helping me feel a lot more satisfied in life. I do have some big things to look forward to: going to Athens in May, going home for a long weekend in June, seeing Beyoncé and Jay Z perform and seeing My Dad Wrote A Porno Live. However, I’m equally looking forward too hugging my dogs when I see them and the egg mayonnaise I made for lunch.

  20. You’re absolutely right, joy can be found in the tiniest of things, it’s so important to have things to look forward to. Flora brings me joy every day in one way or another, as does Alan most days (!). Sappy I know, but true, my family is the most important thing for me. And on that note, I’m looking forward to our holiday to Lanzarote next month. Going abroad is lovely but spending two weeks together is lovelier still! x

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  21. Thank you so much this post is just what I needed to read right now. I know this may seem silly but I am really looking for a few hours tomorrow that I already have carved out to sit down and read. I don’t usually do this but I find reading relaxing and I really need that right now.

  22. I suffer from anxiety too, sometimes holding on for something nice, something that will lift the spirits, can make everything seem worthwhile. I agree it doesn’t have to be lavish like a holiday – as, like you said, many of us can’t afford such privileges – sometimes it’s just getting to see an old friend or seeing a film. I am looking forward to going on long walks again, I need to gear myself up for this but I am working towards it x x x

    • Absolutely. And I hate seeing articles which are like “how to improve your mental health – go on holiday!” Like yeah… we can’t all do that. Maybe try short walks first and just go that little bit further each time?

  23. I really relate to this. I feel like I need to have something to look forward to, and when I don’t my mood is definitely affected. It makes life a little easier knowing that something good is on its way, even if it’s something tiny. At the moment I’m most looking forward to meeting a blogging friend who is coming up to Edinburgh next month. Just thinking about that is keeping me going!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  24. It’s so nice to look forward to things, as it gives you something to get excited about. Like you I’ve had mental health problems and felt like there’s nothing good in this world. But then an opportunity or occasion comes along and makes you believe in happiness again.

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

  25. Ever morning I like to read positive words that will get my mind in the right place: either a personal development book, a bit from the Bible, maybe some positive affirmations… I usually can only squeeze in 10-20 minutes, but I truly look forward for that bit of bliss before the demands of my day begin.

  26. Such a great post! Having things to look forward to is really important, even if they are small things. I’m looking forward to seeing my grandparents this week, and to celebrating my first wedding anniversary with my husband!

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