Concerts, holidays and even the Junior Cert, all big events we have to live without for now. The gutting disappointment is hard to ignore when you have been looking forward to a specific date for so long and now its fate is left undetermined or worse, cancelled.
We are all guilty of wishing for cancelled plans at one time or another, hoping that one friend will bail so you can all jump ship on the and spend the night at home with Netflix and PJ’s using the classic “let’s wait until we are all around” excuse. No shame, everyone needs a break sometimes. Although at the moment, we are kind of regretting all those missed cinema nights weren’t feeling up for, since now, the cancellations haven’t been optional. We’ve been forced to postpone or give up our plans, which normally after a busy week wouldn’t be the worst thing to hear, but not having our own choice to bail is just plain RUDE. Even though we know it’s the best thing to do right now.
We know the cancellation of exams isn’t the most disappointing thing to most people, but it can feel like a loss of direction like all your studying lead nowhere for others. So it’s okay to say you’re a little bit gutted you can’t put all your work on paper, even if it seems like the unpopular opinion, your feelings are valid.
That missed Harry Styles concert may seem like the end of the world right now, and that’s okay because you wanted to see his funky suit and sing along to “Watermelon Sugar HIGH” while he tosses his strategically tousled locks on stage (sorry, too soon?). But It’s totally normal to feel at a loss. Luckily, Hazza has rescheduled the gig for 2021, but it’s still tough to think about waiting that long. It isn’t always easy to stay positive in times like this and sometimes constantly being told it “could be worse” or “at least you’re healthy” can make us feel guilty for complaining about our own situation, and yes, we agree it could be and we are grateful to be well, but we would also like to throw a little pity party if we feel like it sometimes.
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Fiona Hall, Counsellor and Psychotherapist and owner of Consciously Clearing decluttering service, offered some advice for anyone who’s been let down. “No one has been unaffected by current events. No one could have foreseen what has happened. It is totally okay to feel a sense of disappointment. Our feelings are real and valid. Denying them is unhelpful both in the short term and in the long term.
“Please do not feel guilty about feeling disappointed. Having something to look forward to is what keeps us all moving forward. When these events are cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control, we can feel at a loss, scared, unsure and disappointed. Yes, there are ‘worse things happening’ but we are all entitled to our thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is perfectly normal to feel disappointed. Denying our feelings only complicates matters and can lead us to feel guilty which can turn into a downward spiral.”
“Current circumstances are beyond our control. The world had pressed a huge “pause” button on our lives. This is unnerving. However, we do have choices. Personally, I am choosing this “pause” button to accept the disappointment as a reality and to focus my mental energy on what I can learn from this experience. What jobs have I been avoiding that I now have time to do? What books have I always wanted to read but never had the time to? What skills did I want to learn but felt I had no time? What can I learn from this experience?”
Looking for a lesson in a tough situation can help us to keep moving forward, and at the same time help us gain some valuable knowledge or skills, win, win, right? It’s easy to lie in bed and sleep the days away, but imagine when it’s all over and thinking back on how productive we ‘could’ have been? And ‘productivity’ is different for everyone. You don’t have to learn a language or run 5K if that isn’t what motivates you, maybe you needed some time to relax and you’re using this time to perfect your skincare routine or watch that series you’ve been waiting to get at. We have time to turn the situation around for ourselves, it won’t erase the sense of disappointment but it will add an accomplishment or gain, which doesn’t feel as bad.
If you feel like you’re missing certain things, start a list and add them onto it as a to-do list for, after all of this, you’ll soon have a whole load of new plans for when this ends, even if it’s as simple as a Mcflurry.
Words: Jade Carpenter