Definition – sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
I have never, in my entire life, been so happy to be disappointed. I had the phone call I posted about earlier. It was going well until he dropped the bomb that to use the benefit I am approved for, I will need to attend in person in a completely different state, not even close to where I currently live. Bummer. And the cost without any assistance is $18,000. Yeah, I don’t really have that just hanging around to spend on a whim. And if I did, I am not sure my first thought would be an academic program.
But back to feeling happy about being disappointed…there was a point in my life when I felt nothing. I had no hopes and no expectations, other than I was going to be constantly let down. I suppose I didn’t feel disappointment because my expectations were fulfilled; I was constantly let down. Living with no hope felt like I wasn’t really alive. Like I was just existing like grass or fish in a bowl. Every day was just as sucky as the previous day and exactly as sucky as the day that would follow. Sometimes a good thing would happen, but I always knew that was fleeting and never depended on anything good happening.
Something my wife said two and a half years ago was that she expected good things to happen to her. And because she expected good things, good things happened. This whole idea mystified me. Wait, you EXPECT good things? What happens when bad things happen? Does it stun you? Does it paralyze you? Can you survive those bad things that interrupt the good things? She carefully explained that yes, bad things did sting and hurt and sometimes shocked her, but that she would eventually wake up again expecting good things.
My brain went into overdrive. Okay, so there’s this person who has seen so much sickness and pain, never made quite enough money to feel ok, and lost her husband in her 40s, and SHE STILL EXPECTS GOOD THINGS?? What am I doing wrong? I have everything most people could ever want but I am miserable. I am living in darkness, in a hole, always expecting terrible things to happen. Could I dare to find hope in something after years of just giving up on anything going right?
I did. I found hope in her. I found that I wished I could be with her. She was still heavily grieving when Covid hit and we talked those terrible days away. She was living in silence in her house and I was living in noisy hell in my house. I hoped she would be ok. I hoped that one day I would actually be able to visit her. And I hoped that she loved me like I loved her. Not as a friend, but as more. I couldn’t tell her too early and scare her off and potentially ruin this beautiful friendship we had built. I had to let it continue to build, which was so hard for me. I put so much hope in what I wanted to be a shared love, that I eventually realized that I would be devastated if she didn’t love me too. I held my feelings in as much as I could, which I know realize wasn’t much. I can see all the love in those old messages. I cared so much and I was there for her every second during those lonely days of Covid. She was alone in a house with just the cats and I was alone in my house with 5 other people. It was a strange time for me.
Remembering how badly I wanted to have hope again, but was scared to makes me see how far I really have come. I have had a few moments this week of feeling like nothing ever gets better. But it does. IT HAS FOR ME. I am hopeful the weather will cooperate for a picnic this weekend. I am hopeful my soccer teams will win their games on Saturday. I am hopeful I will sleep better tonight. I am hopeful that the kids will continue to be successful at school.
Feeling disappointment that something I think I wanted isn’t going to be possible means that I had hope again. Lots of hope. I find myself only mildly disappointed and my first reaction was genuinely that this opportunity wasn’t meant for me. That’s ok and I am ok. Something better will come along. Something I absolutely need to be doing, no questions. Something I will know to jump right into and not feel like I should slow down and ask a bunch of questions.
I’m not sure that I consistently only expect good things to happen to me because I do struggle with complex PTSD from a bunch of things and I do get hyper vigilant at time, expecting something bad to happen. But I can proudly say that I do MOSTLY expect good things to happen to me and I find myself excited for things every day and things scheduled in the future. I do feel like I am finally living and not just existing in sadness and hopelessness. It’s been a long walk to get to this point and I think I can walk a little more to get closer to where I want to be. But I must always remember to never discount the work I have already done.