Disappointment seems an odd emotion to experience at my age, especially over trivial things. You’d think a person over eighty would have weathered so much adversity they’d never feel let down again. But we’re led to expect peace and serenity in old age. Wisdom. A calm acceptance of the world and all it contains. Sadly, the myths around ageing challenge those about marriage and motherhood for their silliness!
I have no valid reason to complain or feel distress. The time of COVID-19 sits lightly where we live. No one I know has died of the virus. Very few friends, in other places, have been infected, and only one severely. Lock-downs caused me little distress. One grandchild lives in another state. I miss her, but she remains well and happy. We are blessed. Hard borders and vigilance keep Western Australia almost COVID free.
Elsewhere, the pandemic delivers serious setbacks and heartbreak. The deaths of loved ones without consoling contact or proper funerals. Severe illness. The debilitation of long-Covid. Fear. Lost jobs and businesses. Increased mental illness and family violence. Marriages and travel – cancelled. Family reunions and homecomings – postponed. Theatre and live music – gone.
Trivial disappointment should not trouble me. I’m surprised by my reaction.
These things happened.
- My nieces planned a spectacular celebration for the 80th birthday of their mother, my sister, Elizabeth Worts. It included a weekend at a beach resort at Dunsborough in the South-West. Family and friends had months to plan and anticipate. I bought a new dress.
- An invitation to the 21st birthday celebration of John’s granddaughter arrived.
- John planned to spend a few days at Busselton with his daughter. I looked forward to time alone to write.
But John became ill. I cancelled all our plans. I grew despondent and spent time alone, often tearful. My lovely dress hung, unworn, in the wardrobe.
Time to press ‘reset button’ on disappointment
After complaining in my morning pages, I decided to ‘get on with things’. That’s a useful phrase, one I’ve used a lot this year. You can read more about it in my blog, ‘Baby steps on the road to recovery…’
To go on feeling miserable wouldn’t help anyone. I needed to work out what would make me feel better. And then to do something different.
Before long, I had written a list of things I’d like to do while house-bound.
- Go to the storage room that comes with our apartment and collect my summer clothes for the new season.
- Sort and get them ready to wear. Take those I no longer love or which don’t fit to a charity shop.
- Take up a hem or two on dresses that are too long.
- Declutter my room.
- Check Google for articles about labyrinths and find addresses of those close to our apartment.
- Plan, and perhaps start to make, the ‘boro’ bag I’ve been thinking about.
- Play music.
- Wear the new dress to Mass on Sunday.
- Enjoy the celebration photos on Facebook and comment.
My plan worked. Before I got half-way through the list, my heavy mood lifted and normality was restored. I didn’t write, but it didn’t matter. Other creativity kicked in. The week I hoped would be productive also became playful, fun and healing. A bit like a holiday, really.
Here’s a link to a helpful article by Maggie Wooll: 5 proven ways to deal with disappointment
I’d love to hear the ways you deal with disappointment. Please comment on the blog.