To be honest, it’s hard not to feel as though disappointment and regret are one-in the same. Beginning to write this, I’m still not entirely sure I know where I’m going with this piece. In the end it might only be filled with disappointment and regret, and still somehow I think that’s the point.
Disappointment happens when something we wanted to happen doesn’t happen, or just happens in a way that might be less exciting than we expected. Disappointment is a sharp reminder that we can’t know everything. That might be the most disappointing reality of all. To feel like we’re certain of what we want and need, but to have few moments in life where we’re granted exactly what we try to manifest in our minds.
It’s a bit maddening. After a while it can feel as though that’s all life has to offer, disappointments.
That’s one perspective.
With more disappointments come moments of reminiscence. Where we might inadvertently dive back into past disappointments, maybe even going so far as to remember our first ones, all for the sake of finding answers. Wishing, wanting, hoping to find something we might’ve missed about who we are and why life keeps giving us things we aren’t asking for. Being disappointed we can’t have answers pushes us to fall into a pattern of only wanting to find answers.
In the end, all we end up finding are regrets.
Regret becomes a burdensome companion we’re forced to carry on our way out of disappointment. Like Peter Pan and his shadow, only reversed. We are the shadow trying to break free of something we feel we don’t need to be attached to. Mischievous in our fear because we believe we still live in a black and white world.
The question then becomes, are things in life rolling over our being or is our being rolling over them? As the shadow, is the world being cast onto us or are we being cast onto it?
Is disappointment happening to us or are we happening to it?
The deeper matter is, without our being, yours or mine as individuals, the experience of life couldn’t happen. Life isn’t something we need to chase, it’s just something that happens as we literally breathe. All experience in life is defined by us; without our being nothing in life could be defined. Things would simply, be.
Disappointment is difficult because we’re conscious enough to understand the complexity of where it could come from and why. It can be both a long time burden or blessing, depending on how we choose to see it.
The same goes for regret. Regret isn’t some negative force meant to hold us back from who we want to be. Regret and disappointment are neutral partners, unaware of their roles in the shaping of our lives. It’s up to us to decide how far and deep they go.
Disappointment lets us know how little we know, always. Regret is an annoyingly small insignificantly placed mirror reminding us of how we’ve grown through all we’ve done. Regret and disappointment help show us who we are and remind us of the life we have. They provide presence when we get too caught up in the thoughts of the past and possibilities of the future.
Life, might not always be as we think it should be. Sometimes we might not see the sun because there’s fog in the way. that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t there, it just means it’s gonna take a little longer for the light to get through.
Until it does, that means we get to be the light. We get to be life. If we can do that, continue to walk through the tunnel that seems to be filled with disappointment and regret, before we know it we’ll be coming out of the other side. Realizing that disappointment and regret are uncomfortable breaths we take when we begin to find new paths to explore in life.