Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get used to disappointment.

Walking into my teeny tiny gym today, I found that both of my beloved all motion trainer machines were occupied. I’ll admit, upon seeing the two biddies lovely ladies getting their burn on what I have decided are my machines, I had a quick thought of just turning around and going home. I mean, how else was I supposed to burn my 700 calories in 60 minutes?

This was disappointment number 1 – my expectations for what was going to happen at the gym were not met. And I had a choice – let those broken expectations dictate what I was going to do, essentially send me packing, or reconfigure the expectations into something I could work with.

Well, one of the two ellipticals which stand right next to the amts was open. Now to me, the amt is like the elliptical’s older, cooler, hotter brother. the elliptical is great and all – he’s sweet, cute, and funny, but, well, once you meet the amt, you just can’t help wanting to be his girlfriend (don’t worry, elliptical, I won’t forget you – we’ll always be friends. it’s not you – it’s me.) That was the one I went with, and I planted myself on the elliptical. I was still feeling disappointed (especially with having to be right next to the lady enjoying my amt) but I thought I should try to move forward – life is full of disappointment. It has been a while since I have been on the elliptical. Like probably a couple of years. So I start moving my feet a bit, and let me tell you, I forgot how weird the stride is on those things. That is not really a movement that I make anywhere else in my life, and I didn’t care for it. In fact, I really disliked it.

Here is where I hit disappointment number 2 – my new plan, which was designed to help me overcome the disappointment of losing the first plan, was uncomfortable and not anywhere near meeting my old expectations. Again, I was faced with a choice – bail out on the cardio and go home, switch to the dreaded treadmill, or suck it up and keep going, knowing that it wasn’t going to be as good as I’d hoped, but at least it would be something. Taking a deep breath, I went with the third option and turned on the TV screen, only to be met squarely with:

Disappointment number 3. Apparently something wasn’t working with the cable, because USA, the channel I have grown very fond of watching while I work out, wasn’t working. At all. Black screen. Leaving only 3 other channels to choose from – ESPN (I don’t like sports) CNN (or the people interviewed on the 24 hour news stations) or NBC and the today show (which isn’t as bad as bamboo under my fingernails, but it isn’t usually a very pleasant experience for me.) Another disappointment, another choice. I could do twenty minutes and pretend like that was all the time I had planned on working out today, plug into my iPod which is in desperate need of some new workout music, or watch Meredith Vieira try again and again to be funny while invariably failing (I mean, for goodness sake, Matt Lauer wasn’t even there today, and he is the one thing I like about that show.)

I did a mental check with myself, realizing how many times my immediate decision would be to just quit. I thought to myself “good heavens, is this how I respond to ALL the disappointment in my life?” And, unfortunately, I think a good deal of it has been dealt with by freaking out, breaking down, railing at the world, and ultimately just giving up, rather than by calmly reviewing my options and choosing the one that, while it may not be what I wanted to do, will still get me SOMEWHERE instead of leaving me NOWHERE.

And so I stayed and watched Meredith and her coworkers talk their way through an hour of programming, cringing internally when she didn’t get Bill Cosby’s jokes or tried to make her own when she should have just let the man do what he does best. I had to keep going through the five minute cool down to get my 700 calories, but you know what? Five extra minutes didn’t kill me! (shocking, I know.)

The one disappointment that I couldn't overcome was the fact that I forgot to grab something to eat before I ran out the door this morning to workout (all that dreaming of my amt distracted me.) So by the time I finished my cardio, I couldn't stay and do any weights, as I felt like I was just this side of throwing up all over the gym floor (I don’t know about your gym, but they frown upon that where I go.)

So here is my challenge for, well, the foreseeable future, and I extend it to you as well: really look at how you react to disappointment, and what you do with it. Do you look at it, kick it a bit in anger, and then just sit down and do nothing about it? Do you look at it for a few minutes, shocked into staring, before stepping around it to find a new path? Do you simply step over it and move on without flinching? I’m going to be trying for option three.


  1. Well done on pushing through all the disappointments!

  2. I sit behind the person on my piece of equipment and wait...if it's more than fifteen minutes I do my weights and my situps first, then come back and wait for my machine. I don't do disappointment. I do my workout.
    But good on you for following through.
    that is what you have to do sometimes.

  3. I'm so proud you kept going! I don't know if I would have as I detest ellipticals with every fiber of my being :)

  4. You rock for sticking in there. I really like what you said about taking a look at how we deal with disappointment. A girlfriend once said to me when her motorcycle fell over at an intersection that she just thought to herself, "Well, ok. Now this is happening." And it seems really simple but it has gotten me through so many disappointments so many times! The other thing that helps me is thinking to myself in a crap situation, "Find what's good about this" and trying to come up with the positives when really, my head is exploding.

    Nice post Morgan.

  5. A lot of how I handle disappointment depends on my mood. Aren't all women like that? :)

  6. Good for you for hanging in there and finishing a workout that you weren't really happy about doing.
    In the past I would have been the give up and go home girl, but now I think I have adapted more, I really do try to see the glass half full instead of half empty, it takes work sometimes but I'm learning to cope with all the ups and downs, and disappointments, better than I used to!

  7. Woo-HOo! Great work sticking with it. You really rock. THat's pretty hard to do.

    I ... well ... I just passively walk away. Then I rant and rave about it for days. Pretty pathetic eh? Yeah, I thought so too. :)

  8. Wow, good for you working out! How did I not know about this blog? Anyways I feel like this is a really good chance for me to reflect on my own handling of disappointments. Usually it's that I get upset, cry, wonder why nothing goes right and then just accept to be disappointed and sulk until I get another idea HAHA. Not so good. I need to work on that for sure. In the meantime we definitely need you and your family! Let us know when you want to set up a photo session. We have the Sartains in October so if you want to see how their pictures turn out, stay tuned! We could get you some updated pictures for those Christmas cards :) Talk to you soon!