Thursday, July 26, 2012

How do you deal with disappointment?

And now for some rambling...

Two months in to "staying at home" and I'm on my second full week AWAY. I didn't travel this much before we had The Cupcake, but the stars have aligned and in 2 months I've had 2 big trips.I'm  still on the road, actually, but I can't wait to get back home and am counting the hours.

On my first excursion I was chaperoning 7 teenagers and had a very full schedule, and I felt like I was doing something important for them, that they had earned, and it was important that I go. That trip went pretty well, and while I was getting a bit frazzled by the end, I was able to enjoy my down time and put it to use effectively - I went to a movie, which was a huge indulgence and really hard to do in my normal life, I got my hair cut, I shopped alone and bought a dress I can wear to our summer weddings.

This trip feels nothing like that trip.

This trip was more "for me," and that's probably where the problem starts. I got an opportunity to go to a training camp for my part time job/activity I coach. Half of the bill was scholarshipped, but I still had to pay some hefty lodging & travel. I didn't know that when I applied for the scholarship, so I hesitated to accept, but in the end (which was after I'd decided to stay home but prior to the start of staying home) I went for it. A week in Fort Lauderdale, training in an activity I really enjoy, opportunity to sleep through the night, should have been a blast.

It's not working out that way. First I have a hard time doing something of this magnitude for myself, and that started bothering me right away. The money, especially now that things are even tighter, but also abdicating responsibilities at home during that time. The Husband was encouraging, but I still wrestle with it internally. That tends to set the bar higher, I need the experience I'm sacrificing for to be even more worthwhile to offset the money and icky guilt feelings. Unfortunately, the camp is a mess, falling far below my expectations and most of the other attendees as well. There was a great gnashing of teeth, some mild confrontation, and other unhappiness that resulted in small changes, but not enough to really salvage the experience.

It would cost $200 to change my return flight, if even that were possible (I'm using a reward flight from credit card miles) and I won't get any of the lodging money I spent back, so I tried to make the best of it, but I'm not good at dealing with disappointment. This is a growing realization, to the point I should probably work on it a bit. After a few days of trying to go with the flow, I finally just bailed on the camp and decided to enjoy my time in Ft. Lauderdale - make lemonade out of these lemons. That went okay - yesterday I slept in, watched TV, and headed to the beach to sit in a cabana most of the afternoon. I read my Kindle and listened to my iPod and swam in the ocean, and it was okay.

It was nice.

If I had just been here on vacation, it would have probably been a pretty good day, but because I was already doing it as a clear "2nd place" to redeem the experience I was hoping for, it still felt a little substandard. And to get a little meta, during my beach trip (which was meant to redeem my whole trip) I sat down for lunch on the beach and ordered a pina colada. It was melted and overly sweet. Disappointment. Then my lunch came, and there were unexpected condiments (which I don't like) on the sandwich. Disappointment. I almost cried.

Stepping back, this probably sounds nuts. I was on the beach! Alone with no obligations! Send the sandwich back! But in general, I'm just not good at dealing with disappointment, and it tears me up for a long time. I kick myself over and over. I hold a grudge internally. You can tell me to "not worry about it" but I do, and I don't really think anyone can choose what bothers them, it's a visceral gut reaction. And disappointment does me in.

I order the same thing at restaurants every time I go, because I'd rather have something I know is good than risk the disappointment of not liking something. Same with destinations or vacations. I'd go to a "proven" experience over a new one most times. "wasting" my money hurts. "wasting" the opportunity haunts me.

Is this a problem? I am not sure. Who says I HAVE to try new things? Who says I'm not making the smarter, more logical, practical and efficient choice?

How do you deal with disappointment?


Alex Kuch said...

When I was in high school (and still, I suppose) you always told me that I was a big baby for not trying new things! But I, too, like to play it safe and stick to what I know... Ha!

HeatherEve said...

You should try new things. YOU should. :) And usually the things I was urging you to try were things that I had done and enjoyed. "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." ~Alice in Wonderland

In my defense, I don't remember having this problem in high school, or even college. Maybe it's my midlife crisis, or just the overthinking that comes with more knowledge of the world - but lately whenever something isn's fun, or just isn't as fun as I thought it should be, I'm damn near devastated. The logical part of my brain knows this is unfair, but the emotional part still feels it.

Alex Kuch said...

Well... Regardless of my nature, new things are in my near future! Stay tuned! ;)