welcoming disappointment

I’m in the process of combining this blog with Fifty|Fifty Vision (it will still be Tour of No Regrets, but I think of it as TNR 2.0.). The big switch is just a few weeks away. In the meantime, I am sharing content, just so y’all can get used to each other. 

Last week, I was sitting on a beautiful wooden rocking chair, in perfect 70 degree weather, perched on what seemed to be the edge of the world. The view before me was spectacular, the red rocks of Sedona, a few wispy clouds, the afternoon light. I was lucky to be in such a moment, yet all I could feel was disappointment. In fact, it was a full on pity party, and there was nothing pretty about it.

This was a last minute side trip, after a several days of Spring Training baseball. My husband, Steve, was sick and asleep in our hotel room. I wasn’t feeling much better, but had energy to walk out to the viewpoint. I’d wanted to come here for years, to see the red rocks, hike, explore, shop, photograph, write, eat and drink, and decide if a vortex was something I should experience. Uptown Sedona was so crowded we didn’t stop, our lunch at the airport cafe (which should have been our first clue) was weird, and now I was alone, with no one to share the view. No wine (though plenty of whine) to sip. No adventure.

Just disappointment. And rocks. Plenty of rocks.

Yes, this was the site of my personal pity party. I'm not proud.
The site of my personal pity party. Proof that I can feel sorry for myself anywhere.

 

I told myself I should get over it. It was stupid to feel cheated when this is so incredible.

Then I told myself that disappointment was understandable, it was ok to wallow for a bit, before I had to let it go.

It wasn’t grief, or even sorrow. It wasn’t even sadness.

It was something that didn’t live up to my hype. It was also something that would get a do over. Some disappointments are bigger, and perhaps the do over isn’t so readily available. But this one, it was just a 24-hour period that wasn’t what I had hoped for. This is lower case disappointment, not even deserving capital letters (as in Disappointment or DISAPPOINTMENT). The disappointment was more about the expectations than the reality.

Perhaps it wasn’t bliss, but it sure wasn’t despair.

Also, I had great coffee for the morning. No matter what, I had coffee, so that was something. I made the expectations and I could remake them, too.

When I really thought about it, I saw that disappointment was on a sliding scale, and not such a far climb back to contentment. In my mind, I drew myself a chart. To be honest, my imaginary chart only had three feelings…contentment, disappointment and grief. The others show up because I am an over emoter. I can’t help myself.

So many feelings. Does this look like an inverted wine glass to you?
So many feelings. Does this look like an inverted wine glass to you?

 

If you told me I could spend a few hours in Sedona, doing nothing but watching the bluest sky over the magnificent red rocks, I would be thrilled. I would consider it a gift, a blessing, wonder and magic. I should be so lucky.

I went to the room to check on Steve, then walked back to the cliffs to watch the sunset. When he woke after dark, we drove to town to find a grocery store and restock on medicine. We had fruit salad and orange juice for dinner, chased with Nyquil. We slept like hell, hacking through the night. The next morning I had coffee and leftover salad on the patio, in the sunshine. We packed, medicated, and drove back to Phoenix. We saw a few more red rocks. Steve never left the car.

It was spectacular, disappointment and all. And now that I understand where disappointment sits on the scale between bliss and despair, I think it’s not such a bad gig. The climb back to contentment isn’t far, if you’re so lucky.

 

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