Disappointment is not the End

We’re in our second lockdown since you know what started. My 16 year old daughter is a keen swimmer and in normal times she swims multiple sessions a week. She loves the exercise, the competitive aspect of squads and the camaraderie of other swimmers. Fortunately, the Tokyo Olympics have filled some of the gap this past week.
The other night we witnessed the shock disqualification of two promising runners for ‘breaking’ too early in their race. They had trained for years and it was all over before they had even started.
What a terrible disappointment! They never even had a chance to run, let alone win.

Last night we watched the high jump as the competitors dropped out one by one until only two men were left. The two remaining high jumpers had had their own devastating disappointments. Both had suffered serious injuries that could have ended their careers, but here they were back again.
Disappointment was not the end for them.

They worked their way out of the trough and ended up sharing the Gold Medal. Qataris and Italians wept, danced, yelled, and hugged each other. Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.

Disappointment comes to each one of us. When it comes early in life it can be devastating because you haven’t been around long enough to have experienced the heights and troughs of life. That’s when the perspective of an older person can really help.

I consider myself blessed to have grown up with both grandmothers living with is at different times. Although from very different backgrounds, they had each been through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the deaths of their husbands, and the loss of some of their children. But they’d picked themselves up and didn’t allow disappointment to destroy their lives. I feel in awe of these two women when I think of them but their situations were not uncommon in that generation.

When you’re in a trough, you don’t see the way forward. It’s too easy to give up. Your injuries are too severe. But injuries can be healed and troughs don’t last.

I mentally pick up the anchor of hope and throw it into next week, next month, next year… and use it to drag myself along until my feet are on higher ground.
There is another ‘Olympic Game,’ another race coming up for you. Don’t give in to despair. Disappointment is not the end.

5 thoughts on “Disappointment is not the End

  1. excellent advice! we don’t get the Olympics where we live, probably because we’re too cheap to pay for seeing them, so tx for the update! you’re so right about dealing with failure and disappointments: a subject not treated very well in modern “civilization”, i think..

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    • Thanks, Mudpuddle. The Olympics have always been free to air here – there’d probably be a riot if they weren’t. They have been timely with everyone being in lockdown here.
      Resilience seems to be a missing element for many of us.

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  2. Absolutely age and experience bring a real perspective to setbacks and disappointments. I try and remind myself of things that were “the end of the world” for me when younger when things go pear-shaped now. It does help to look back and know that this too will pass, for better or for worse. When one is young, it is almost impossible to have that kind of long view.

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  3. Great post! (And I like the new look of your blog.) I loved that high jump moment when the athlete from Qatar asked if they could just share the gold. It was so great seeing both athletes so happy. But I’m sorry you’re in yet another lockdown. Hopefully this too shall pass soon.

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