the freedom of disappointment

by Sandra

I read in Bono’s psuedo-biography a couple of years ago, somewhere, where he said being a disappointment to others is a good thing sometimes.

He’s right. I’m finding right now, maybe after a tipsy conversation or two with my friend Adam (it was his birthday party tonight), that disappointing people is quite freeing. Why is it so easy to get saddled with others’ opinion of yourself? While I can’t remember Bono’s exact quote, Erwin did say something similar recently when he talked about the difference between priority and urgency, and that it’s good to learn how to keep focus on your priorities and well, not be swayed by the urgency of others. Otherwise you’ll just flap in the wind like a cheap, plastic flag.

And it’s true. My priorities for my own life do not always necessarily fall in line with the urgency of others. Whether it’s that play you want me to write right now, or the issues you want me to listen to, or that emergency you need immediate rescue from—no actually, your emergency will not become my emergency as well. I guess everyone will just have to be disappointed. Yikes, that’s a hard thing to let happen.

Dang, it’s like saying to everyone around me, “stay back, I’ve got other plans and you’re just going to have to deal with them.” It’s such a counter-intuitive way to look at things, for me, because I’ve always carried around the burden of wanting to be well-liked, as well. But how often in life do we (women, especially) feel so burdened with others’ problems that we have no right to carry on our own? Isn’t it doing others a disservice to be so accommodating all the time? Yeah, I’m beginning to believe that it is, even though I don’t believe a completely nonchalant attitude is the right one to adopt, either. And I’m in no way implying that I don’t care about my friends or that I don’t care about doing good work, all I know is that I’ve always had a hard time towing the line between being compassionate and being an enabler.

Oh, I love these 2am ramblings, really I do.