He sat across the desk from me, staring at me flatly, as if I had said something so absurd that it didn’t even warrant a response. After a long pause, he answered. “I don’t get excited about things anymore. I used to get excited, but it would just make me disappointed, so I stopped getting excited about things.”
A lot of things that my clients say will hit me particularly hard, but this one broke my heart wide open. I pushed my feelings aside, but alone in my office, I thought back. When was the last time I was openly and ridiculously excited for something? I thought back in my memory and couldn’t recall a time in recent years when I was excited. I’ve been happy, but I haven’t had that ‘can’t stop smiling and laughing’ excitement. At what point did it become cool or acceptable not to get excited about things? Why can’t we show excitement or happiness for something as an adult? Why is this strictly reserved for children?
I realized three things. I miss the carefree excitement of the little things. I am tired of pretending not to be excited. Excitement is hard because it takes a tremendous amount of vulnerability.
If I dig deep, deep through the uncomfortable feelings and memories, I can pinpoint, almost to the day, when I stopped being excited. In late 2017, after five pregnancies and five miscarriages, I lost the ability to be excited. With each pregnancy, I got so excited and then so disappointed as each ended the same as the one before. After five miscarriages, I didn’t just lose my excitement. I lost hope. I lost faith. Getting excited scared me because I knew what was waiting around the corner. I saw how quickly something could fill me with joy and excitement, and then I saw, time after time, this amazing something being torn away. Excitement only led to pain, so I stopped being excited as a way to prevent pain. The small, cruel voice inside my head would say, “Don’t get excited. This isn’t going to last.”
When I stopped feeling excited, I stopped feeling anything. The repeated miscarriages had broken me open, and I felt like an exposed nerve. Everything hurt, and I was so tired of thinking about everything. I didn’t think, and I didn’t feel. Slowly, I have healed and become a truer version of myself. I will never get over the heartbreak I experienced, but I realized that I would rather feel excitement and heartbreak than nothing at all.
“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start getting excited about what could go right.” - Tony Robbins
I allowed myself to get excited, and I allowed myself to feel heartbroken and disappointed. As much as I didn’t like feeling all of these uncomfortable feelings, I hated the nothingness even more. Not feeling was no longer an option, so I started to feel. Feeling things and expressing my reaction to these feelings required me to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is at the very heart of being excited. We have to be vulnerable enough to tell the world how excited we are and not care what their reaction will be. I used to think, “What if people think I am a dork because I am ridiculously excited about something silly?” Now, I don’t care what people think. I released the power and judgment of strangers. Now, I get excited about everything because I realized that if I can’t get excited about living my life, I am not living. Every day I look for something to be excited about and share that excitement with other people. I live for the moments when butterflies are fluttering in my belly, I have a huge smile on my face, and I cannot help but squeal, “I am so excited!”