No matter how often we experience it, disappointment is always difficult to deal with. I should know – as I write this I’m currently dealing with disappointment. Despite my best efforts, I did not make the Trenton Freedom Dance Team this season. To say I was crushed is an understatement. Upon getting that rejection email, I felt depressed, defeated, ugly and as though I was a major loser. The crazy thing is I felt the disappointment coming, but that didn’t lessen the blow of the hurt I felt once it arrived. It didn’t help that most of my friends made the team. So not only did I not achieve my dream, I was now also the outcast of my friends. Atleast, that’s what I thought…
Like most wives, I decided to wallow in my sorrows and real in the disappointment in the arms of my husband. I’m ashamed to say that wasn’t my first choice though. I had preferred to go for a jog, head to the gym or climb a pole, but the time of night did not allow for that. However, that time spent in my husband’s arms turned out to be the best thing I could do when dealing with a case of disappointment. He tickled me, we watched TV and had fun eating snacks in bed and then we finally discussed the inevitable… my disappointment. He encouraged me look on the bright side. “What bright side,” I thought. I just got told I wasn’t good enough to reappear on the team. While there where no tears, I surely thought there would be as I mourned the death of a dream. It wasn’t until my husband pointed out that my rejection from the dance team wasn’t the death of a dream, but the end of a dream realized and the beginning of a new one becoming reality. Of course, I thought he was crazy.
How could my disappointing rejection mean the reality of a new dream entering my life.? That’s when he reminded me of my bucket list. I had created two bucket lists – one titled 30 before 30 consisting of things I wanted to accomplish before my 30th birthday and one titled pre-pregnancy. Of course, “be a professional dancer on a dance team” was on both lists along with a bunch of other aspirations I made for myself. How could I have forgotten that? The mere fact that I was able to cross an item off both lists was enough to say that I accomplished my dream. And as much as I hate to admit it, my sometimes clueless husband was right. The close of that chapter in my dream, truly did mean the beginning of a new one becoming a reality. After all, had I continued to dance on the team there would have been little time for me to work on achieving the rest of my goals on the lists. Then it would’ve been a matter of time till my disappointment resurfaced upon realizing I never got to finish the items on my lofty bucket lists.
It was at that moment I realized the true purpose of disappointment. It wasn’t cast upon us to make us feel worthless, give up and go through life without hope. It’s a chance for us to reaffirm a value, reevaluate purpose and reassess our dreams. It may even appear to set us up for an even better opportunity. I now have the time to focus on my other endeavors – something else that makes my heart smile and my passion soar while crossing items off my bucket lists. Maybe fate has something more meaningful in store for me. Had I made the team, I’d never have the time to find out.
That’s the funny thing about disappointment. It casts a shadow over your strongest desires but sheds light on the goals hidden within your wildest dreams. I know I can’t be the only one it’s happened to. I’m pretty sure if you think about it, you’ll be able to recall moments of disappointment that led you to moments that made you smile. Maybe you didn’t get a job you applied for and then was offered an opportunity of a lifetime two weeks later. Perhaps you didn’t get the house you put an offer in, but a few months later you realized it set you up financially to get a nicer home. Or what about the time you didn’t make the basketball team only to be asked to mentor student athletes at a school? That’s the strange but almost guaranteed bright side of disappointment. You may not always see it, but it’s always lurking somewhere quietely in the corner waiting to jump out and surprise you.
It only goes to show it’s true what they say. When one door closes another bigger and better door opens. Thanks to my dear hubby and realizing there truly is a bright side to everything, I can now cross an item off my list and proudly say, “on to the next one.”
What have you learned from disappointment? Have you ever experienced a bright outcome after a gloomy disappointment?
TERRIfic Quip: Don’t let todays’ disappointments dim the light on tomorrow’s promise.