Sunday, November 20, 2011


Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself

I've been hit sideways with a few disappointments in the last wee while. And yes, I had expectations. I normally don't, which is what's so odd about it all. I roll with the punches (or maybe I pretend that I do). I enforce a daily gratitude meditation (sometimes short, sometimes long) at the end of each day. A reflection really.

I am more than aware that disappointment in an outcome can truly steal from the positives in a given situation. I am not allowing that. But still.

I remember being sixteen. A few published items under my belt. And literally engrossed in art. I couldn't get enough of it.

Our school on an island (seriously, in the middle of the River Lee) in Cork City imported many great male teachers for us. One of these was our art teacher, another was our advanced mathematics teacher and yet another was an ex-military man who was our gym teacher – the workouts (for girls! girls?) were unbelievable. I truly believe in light of today our school was extraordinarily progressive for its time. And having been recently back for a class reunion and reuniting with many of us, that is reinforced by the PhDs and MDs amongst us. But be that as it may.

I did a little web search and found the art teacher, John Teehan, mentioned briefly on another website. He was very encouraging to me. And his classes (taken over lunch periods, unheard of today, right?) were riveting.

I applied for fashion design school in England, with samples of my designs, etc. ( this was the era of Mary Quant, et al) and was overwhelmed when I was accepted and offered a scholarship.

You can imagine the reaction of the pater familias in suburban Cork when I made the announcement of my intention to henceforth toss aside my provincial education and head off on the Innisfallen for London, England.

I discovered what apoplexy truly was.

And my crushing disappointment lasted months.

And yes, I do wonder still what direction my life would have taken if I'd hopped on that ferry.

But I am no longer disappointed. Much has fulfilled me since then.

Disappointment can only take up headspace if we allow it.



  1. Do you mean that you had no right to your disappointment? It seems to me you had every reason to be and that your father really pushed his weight around. Did some form of rebellion not grow out of this? How did it help you deal with disappointments later on in life? XOX

  2. I can relate to that. I got selected to the Indian Army's Emergency Commission immediately after the Chinese incursion. My mother threw a fit and the whole family piled on to me to not go to join up. I do not know quite what would have happened had I joined up but, I do know what has happened because I did not and I quite like what has happened. This is one of the reasons that I do not believe that we live our lives. Our lives are being lived for us.-

  3. You were more than fortunate with that school. I don't think I ever heard one word of encouragement during my time at school.

  4. Disappointment has to be short-lived, regret can last a life time.

    I had a place in an acting school belonging to a very prestigious theatre in Germany. Guess what my parents said?

    Anything I have ever achieved, I have achieved in the teeth of opposition.

  5. We could play The Butterfly Effect game, and say that - well - you maybe wouldn't have the lovely Grandgirl you now have....and some twists and turns of your life would have manifested in slightly different ways, with similar outcomes.

    The only potential career my parents persuaded me not to follow was to train as a psychiatric nurse. I'd applied and had been accepted, at the time. I'm glad - with hindsight - my parents knew me better, then, than I knew myself.

  6. It's a shame your family were so hostile to your leaving for England. What exactly did they object to? Did they think you'd be led astray by all sorts of reprobates?

  7. Nora:
    I was far too young and it was the sixties and Ireland wasn't out of its females should be "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" phase. My father was heard to say a few times that brains were wasted on his daughter. A product of his era.

    Interesting story. I wouldn't trade my existing life either. But we never do know what we have missed. A very good thing, probably.

    It was a brilliant school - the nuns were extraordinarly progressive for their time in hiring men and a couple of our nun teachers were PhDs themselves. One specialized in the Crimean War. Too bad your school let you down, it has a lifetime effect I believe.

    Me too. And the best thing I ever did was leave Ireland and its repressive attitudes towards women.

    I do see you as a counsellor with your insights into the human condition, but your talents would have been wasted on a psych ward however.

    England was the hotbed of pagans and communists and worse of all ATHEISTS and SEX MANIACS. And feelings still ran high then from 1916, etc. And I might have had access to the worst sin of all: BIRTH CONTROL.



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