I was really looking forward to yesterday. Family members who don’t hate me were going to come stay with me for a few days. We were going to visit people, go out to eat, wander around to parts of the island I can’t go to (this place is crawling with gated communities), and talk about our respective difficult elderly family members.
I can’t believe I did this, but I allowed myself to get all excited about the fun we’d have. I tidied up the condo (not that it was untidy – I love to keep things clean and beautiful when I’m by myself), told everyone at work I was taking some time off, made sure I could get them a parking permit, and was all ready to welcome them.
I was disappointed to learn that one of my guests hurt herself getting ready to load the car, so they weren’t coming after all. I know she’s had back issues, so I felt sad for her. It certainly wasn’t her fault at all! Wow, did I experience a letdown, though. As high as I’d felt anticipating a visit and not having to be all by myself, I felt equally low realizing I was going to spend the rest of my time in Hilton Head alone. (I LIKE being alone, but I have had enough to fill my tank now).
After a while, I was kicking myself (mentally) for allowing myself to get all hepped up before something actually happened. I put out a whiny post on Facebook and got some varied responses.
Many people empathized with how I felt. I’m not alone in letting myself get excited then feeling really down. Others had helpful advice that I appreciated, such as a reminder that Brene Brown would say this means I’m living wholeheartedly. Something else I found helpful was advice from a friend’s therapist: “Focus on what you CAN do not on what you Can’t when disappointed.” Yet another commenter talked about “post-event letdown,” which I remember experiencing when I was younger, but have gotten better about and now just wallow in memories.
And people ask why I still do Facebook…the community I’ve built is so supportive!
I’ve been pondering whether I’m doing the right thing in trying to squish down my anticipation. I have been doing it for the past few years when I was letting myself look forward to trips, the return of people to the ranch, projects to work on, and people to do things with me. For example, when the first two people I asked to join me this week decided not to come, I wasn’t upset at all, because I was prepared for things not to work out. I let this third one get by me. My squishing down has gotten quite good in the post-COVID era, where just about everything fun got canceled, but it’s not perfect.
But hey, isn’t anticipation fun? Doesn’t it make good vibes (or hormones or something) flow through you? Should I be trying another tactic besides not allowing myself to get happy about something until it actually happens? Maybe I should let myself dream about the fun I may have when I get to pick up my new car next week, rather than trying not to think about it in case something goes wrong?
I think I’m going to let myself feel my feelings a bit more but work on not getting so sad about what I can’t do. Like the friend said, I can concentrate on what I CAN do. I tried that out last night, so rather than mourn the fact that the promised dinner and drinks weren’t going to happen, I got myself a ridiculously expensive old fashioned and drank it while listening to the excellent guitar player entertaining at the resort cafe and ordered myself an impressive plate of sushi and edamame.
I ended up in the resort lobby waiting for the food having a fun conversation about football with the women at the reception area. One woman ended up showing me the football-themed tote bags and pajama sets she’d made for friends, then some of the outfits she designed for herself. How would I ever have realized that these women were so interesting and talented if I hadn’t rewarded myself and done what I could do after a disappointment? I win!
I enjoyed that sushi while watching King Richard, the movie about Venus and Serena Williams’s controversial father. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of the sisters in this movie. They were so authentically happy, smart, and normal young girls. They weren’t overly made up or with fancy hair and clothing. They looked like the girls I knew at the time and played and bickered and loved each other so genuinely. What a great portrayal of a black family that looked real. (I also thoroughly enjoyed all the 1970s cars.)
In summary, I’m going to let myself anticipate fun things in the future, but if they don’t come to pass, I’ll remind myself of the options for fun that I still have. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? LOVE to all of you reading this, and healing vibes to my family member!
PS: the beach is so fun to watch. An osprey just flew right by my balcony with something in its talons! And I spent at least a half hour just before sunset watching large pods of dolphins very close to the shore here. There must have been a dozen! The photo shows how close they were (and some of those weird rectangles that are container ships). People enjoyed watching them.