"Expectations are planned disappointments."Someone once said this to me...many many years ago...and I bet I say it once a week now.
Truth is--and I say this in the most positive of ways--I've really stopped having any expectations whatsoever. Que Sera Sera...what ever will be, will be. And what ever I PICTURE it being, well, it never quite turns out that way, anyway. Right?
Our Sweet Juju ran again today and, suffice it to say, she didn't win.
I'll admit, I had a vision of the winner's circle--Juju standing tall and proud, and my sweet dear friend, Dave, smiling big at her side, his hand on his heart, happy as hell.
I made it home from work just in time to turn on the race...and as I watched, I knew my vision of the winner's circle was not going to be.
Funny thing is, as I yelled "DAMN IT!" very loudly and my heart sunk into my chest, I realized I had ZERO disappointment for the race results. ZERO. I didn't expect anything more than just being able to see Sweet Juju run...and I knew the loss meant nothing to her, for sure!
I was just concerned for my friend.
I only cared that he was ok. I knew, with another disappointing run for our Sweet Juju that he'd be disheartened and crushed. My (very loud) 'damn it!' was for that reason only. I know these losses are like a punch in the stomach.
Not knowing if I'd been able to watch, a few minutes after the race Dave called to let me know the results. I was so glad to hear from him and to be able to know that he was ok.
He was fine. Disappointed and down for sure. But ok. I let out a sign of relief.
Nothing else mattered to me.
To be honest, I have had a few (ok, many) disappointments in my lifetime.
Gradually, over the years--and with much practice--I've learned how to better deal with them...
I think there are really four steps:
- Let it out. Scream, cuss, get mad, be pissed off, tell the world it's unfair and maybe even kick the dog. It's ok to be mad! It's frustrating! And nothing is worse than doing everything you can, killing yourself trying and still not getting the results you're hoping for. From relationships to horseracing...it's ABSOLUTELY ok to be discouraged and feel defeated when things don't go your way! Personally, I find that cussing helps immensely.
- Get perspective. After you're done cursing and ranting, realize that, honestly, it's not the end of the world. Not even close. No one died. And, truly, the majority of the world doesn't even know it happened. Are you still breathing? (However reluctantly...) It's gonna be ok. I promise. Comparatively, to what's going on in the world, ours is just a little sorrow.
- Figure out where to go from here. For me, the horses have been more about the long talks on the long drives out to see them...and the sweet little babies on the ranch, taking lots of pictures as they grow, feeding them carrots, and just loving on those horses. I have very little financially invested in the horses, but my friend does. And not just the money, but the time, the training, the workouts, supplements, vet bills, etc. Is it worth it? Should we keep trying? That's what we need to figure out at this point. For me, I think it's (definitely) ok to say that, as much as I love her, Sweet Juju may just not be cut out for this. She's my namesake, and I had wished so much more for her, but I think it's (absolutely) ok to bid her adieu and move on. (It feels good to just WRITE that...)
- Realize it is absolutely no reflection on you. In any disappointment, again from relationships to racing, you have to step back and remind yourself that YOU are in no way a failure. You tried something and you worked hard at something...and it just didn't turn out the way you wanted. And, that's really ok! Life most definitely goes on. And...it was OH so much fun while it lasted. Take the good, embrace the joy that was had...and move on. Once you admit that most of it was truly out of your control and though you did your best and tried everything you could...then it is easier to accept that it was just not meant to be. People still love you and admire you, I assure you of that. And they are grateful for having been along for the ride. Learn from it, smile about it...and know that it's OK to put it behind you so you can begin to figure out what's next. That's success.
There is one thing I must add, as it has surprised me immensely over this last year or so:
there is a HUGE difference between having expectations and having hope. Over the years, I have definitely confused and combined the two. Though I've let go of most of my expectations, I'll admit I'm beginning to understand the importance of holding on to hope.
And, I have to thank my friend Dave for that. Dave is the MOST hopeful person I have ever known. He has RESTORED my hope and helped me to dream again. With lighthearted fearlessness, unwavering faith, incredible endurance, admirable persistence and enthusiastic confidence, he has allowed me to encounter JOY and HOPEFULNESS with him through these experiences with his horses. And, most definitely, with life along the way.
No matter what the outcome of today's race, my expectations, actually, were completely exceeded.
There is not one ounce of disappointment.
And I wouldn't trade one second of it.