Disappointment – a matter of perspective

Disappointment, we all know it. And that weekend, I had a whopping dose of it.

It was supposed to be me, Bono and the boys and the starry Dublin skies. But after a weekend of searching for a U2 concert ticket that may not have ever existed, I ended up instead listening to the singing of a Canadian-Ukranian couple during a traditional Irish music pub crawl.

Needless to say, I wasn’t too thrilled about missing the concert. I had been planning on seeing it for months – ever since the European U2 tour dates were announced – I had started enthusiastically planning my trip.

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A chance to see the band I grew up listening to playing to their home crowd.

But when it became apparent that my ticket was not going to materialize, I walked around Dublin feeling sorry for myself.

Everywhere I looked, people were wearing concert shirts, U2 music blared from every pub, posters of the band were splayed all over store fronts, and people were talking about how great the concerts were and how they had tickets for all three nights.

Just as I reached the depth of my self-pity, I turned a corner and the sounds of U2 were overtaken by those of demonstrators outside of city hall. The group was made up of a few dozen people, a man with a megaphone, and dogs.

The man yelled, “What do we want?”
“Audible crosswalks!” the crowd responded.
“When do we want them?” the man replied.
“Now!” the chorus sang.

I realized that the crowd was primarily made up of blind people and they were fighting for audible devices to be added to crosswalks so that could hear when it was safe to cross the street.

As I watched them holding their signs, their loyal seeing-eye dogs at their feet, I felt ashamed. I had been feeling so wronged for being denied a concert ticket and these people were fighting for the right to merely cross the road safely.

If I had had a whopping dose of disappointment, I now had a massive dose of perspective.

Sometimes things in life may not go your way, but when they don’t, be careful not to get so engulfed in your own feelings and disappointments that you lose sight of the world around you.

Although you can’t always control what happens to you, you can always control your reaction to it. So the next time you miss out on something you felt entitled to, take a minute and try to look at life through someone else’s eyes.

While it won’t completely erase the disappointment you feel, it will help you feel immensely more grateful for all that we do have and sometimes take for granted – like our vision and our ability to cross the road without hoping that nothing is barreling down the road.

Although I missed the concert that evening, the perspective I gained by my brief encounter with the protestors helped me to enjoy my evening.