The Guilt of Excitement

I’ve found – when working with people going through big transitions that aren’t necessarily positive, like divorce or bereavement – that a strong fear of the unknown is totally expected.

But for some of the people we work with, there’s also – beneath the fear and uncertainty – a frisson of excitement.

Which often comes laden with guilt, because they wonder “who feels excited about their divorce…” or “I’m supposed to still be grieving”.

And I can empathise with the conflict these different emotions must trigger. I mean, these are ‘bad’ things, that you’re supposed to feel ‘bad’ about. You’re not supposed to get excited about the future now.

So I try to remember to encourage people to accept that it is completely normal to feel a tinge of excitement about a brand new future.

It won’t be the one you had planned, so it’s normal to grieve the loss of that future (as well as the loss of your loved present).

But you’re still here. Your future is still ahead of you. And now – through events that you won’t have planned – you’re now responsible for how that future is going to look.

That can be utterly terrifying.

And also just a little bit exciting.

What Kind of Person…

Plus, let’s face it – guilt is thrown on anybody that sees the world a little differently, so sometimes it should just be dismissed.

Because here’re some people who might feel excited:

  • People that have felt trapped in a relationship that passed it’s expiry date long ago.

  • Someone caught in a relationship with a toxic personality.

  • Somebody with plans for their future.

  • A person that’s confident in themselves, their finances and their future*.

  • Somebody who’s lost a loved one after a long, unforgiving, consuming illness.

  • A person who, in the face of loss and grief, has reexamined their life and what they want from it.

This is the ‘kind of person’ who might look to their new future with some excitement mixed into the grief, sadness and fear.

What’s There to Get Excited About?

I want to be clear here – I’m not saying that every person should be excited about everything in the midst of their own personal storms, crises or grief.

But I am saying that it’s ok, even normal, to look at the future ahead of you and not only see darkness.

Here are some of the things I’ve seen people get a little excited about when thinking about their new future:

– Buying a new apartment.

– Not having a mortgage.

– Going back to work full-time.

– A weekend trip with their daughter.

– Choosing their own furniture.

– Spending more time with their friends – and zero time with his.

– Retiring.

– Their new relationship.

– Studying.

– Moving interstate.

From what I’ve seen, this excitement is a good sign, but should be managed (lest they go off and buy a sports car with their entire settlement).

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is – it’s ok to feel a little excited about your new future.

There is lots of ground to cover before you get there, but it’s ok to keep lifting your eyes occasionally to look at the future, and feeling excited about what it might hold.

*Bias alert – I believe, wholeheartedly, that clear-eyed confidence in your finances translates into confidence in your future.

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