We watched a film last night, “Last Chance Harvey” – melancholy but very watchable thanks to the wonderful Emma Thompson and intriguing Dustin Hoffman. I’m not going to explain the film’s story, other than it’s about two lonely people meeting and creating hope and happiness in each other.
Towards the end of the story, in the bit where it looks the worst just before the happy ending, Emma Thompson’s character explains why she is scared of embarking on a relationship with the man, “..because I am comfortable with disappointment”. A fairly sad statement no.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since and it does resonate with me. I have had my fair share of disappointment during my life. I say fair share and I mean it, not too much, not too little, just enough to say that I am like most people. I do think it’s not the disappointments themselves that mould us, but rather how we deal with them. And in that I am still learning…and failing.
Anyways the question here is, am I comfortable with disappointment? In many ways I think I am. For instance if something is not disappointing, i.e. surprisingly successful or fortunate for me, I find it quite uncomfortable. I worry that it’s going to be taken away or I don’t deserve it. Conversely I have this nasty habit of often talking down the good things in my life or overly focusing on the not so good stuff, because I’m more comfortable being the underdog.
One thing I’ve realised is that infertility and doing something like IVF does stay with you. I probably thought that because I was fortunate to have two children through IVF that the pain of facing a possible future without children would disappear. It doesn’t, it’s lodged in there. So is the anger of not being able to get pregnant the natural way. I don’t ever have to inject myself, worry about egg harvesting or embryo implantation ever again, but knowing that the physical union of me and my husband could never result in a son or a daughter is something I mourn. Perhaps when I am through child rearing age it will no longer bother me.
When faced with disappointment the decision has to be, I shall not wallow and I will not be comfortable with this. Because if I did I would miss out on the unexpected successes and the surprising joy that comes when you hope for the best, have faith and go for it. I wouldn’t want anything less for my children and who is teaching them how to live?
Spoiler alert: the woman in the film went for it.