Why is it that we place outsized expectations on things that only feel like they portend something amazing – but forgo the things we know will be amazing? You know, bundled up in hope, we impetuously run off to faraway cities, skipping seeing our beloved, warm and supportive friends there, for the remote promise of something else? Are we addicted to the almost inevitable disappointment?
As a near and dear darling said, the disappointment of whatever we tried to do is only the first layer of disappointment – the even bigger layer comes later – the disappointment in ourselves because we “Should Have Known Better By Now”. Oh, she is so, so right (right down to the all-important capitalization). We DO know better, but as she goes on to ponder: what is life, though, without hope? And I say, “Yes, you never know.” That’s why we keep beating our heads against a wall, repeating likely failures (insanity): we never know. We know better, but we never know at the same time. A fleeting chance exists that hope will lead us to something transcendent or real, even if ephemeral.
We do it, against better judgment, because we need to feel alive. As she said, to shake things up, to shake herself up. Maybe just going on a vacation would accomplish this, but sometimes we need a deeper shake. What, more than disappointment, makes us feel more alive (even if it briefly makes us wallow in wishing we weren’t)? We are almost certain before we even embark on these ‘adventures’ that they will yield visceral, howling disappointment accompanied by a self-walloping chastisement. But the hope! It might not disappoint at all. It might turn us around, lift us up, restore our faith!
On Hope – Sándor Petőfi
Man, what is hope? …a horrifying whore
Who doles to everyone the same embrace.
You waste on her your most precious possession:
Your youth, and then she leaves without a trace!