Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Disappointment


We’ve heard it in movies or TV shows: “Get used to disappointment.” It’s usually a humorous quip to a child about something not going their way. But even as adults do we ever really get used to disappointment?

When my kids were young I used to quip that I always kept my expectations low, whether it was out to dinner, going grocery shopping or a family vacation. If my expectations were low I could only be pleasantly surprised. But going through life with low expectations sounds bleak. Eventually hope for something great gets in the way.

I’m lucky to be able to travel a lot. I’m on my way home now from a trip to see Dan in the Netherlands. Unfortunately there was a problem with the captain on my first flight and connections were missed. Delta put everyone up in hotels (although I was only there for 5 hours), rebooked flights and gave useless meal vouchers (due to the limited time). I was fairly disappointed not to be home last night. I really miss my kids and I was hoping to work today. But I’m safe and on my way without any major issues.

Last summer I was stuck in Iceland for a few days as the east coast battled a hurricane. I had a horrible time trying to rebook something home, almost wasn’t able to stay in my hotel (yes-I’m not afraid to cry when needed), missed my kid’s first day of school, and was in a city you could easily cover by foot in less than a day.

So camera in hand I wandered every second I could, finding interesting indoor markets, strange buildings, more “stuff” for my kids, and the ever memorable Viking Experience Museum, complete with miniature replicas and tiny holograms. Yes-you are detecting sarcasm.

On the plane home I could only get first class and ended up sitting next to the ex-manager of Aerosmith. What fantastic stories he had. Now all he has to do is manage his investments and go to his AA meetings. I did feel bad drinking next to him but hell-it’s first class.

So I was disappointed to not be home, to be out money I was not planning on (travel insurance paid back some) and to not have Dan still with me to enjoy more time as his flight left without a hitch. But I was safe, comfortable and making the most of it.

My ex-husband constantly disappoints me in his lack of communication regarding the kid’s schedules and information. It’s not that he’s trying to be spiteful it’s just how he always has been and always will be. It doesn’t seem to stop disappointing me though. 

My dog disappoints me every time she pees on my carpets, my car disappoints me from time to time with a flat tire or check engine light, my kids disappoint me in their actions on occasion. Things have a way of turning around (okay-maybe not with the dog).

Maya Angelou wrote: “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” If you can face disappointment and find the light-no matter how dim, you will never be defeated. Every time we are disappointed we learn something about the situation, the person, or most importantly ourselves.  What can we handle, digest, process and overcome? We may be able to keep our expectations high after all. As long as our expectations of ourselves, our coping abilities and strength don’t disappoint.

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