Dealing with Life’s Big Disappointments

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Hello there, dear readers.  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Please forgive me. I have very little free time, and when I do, I usually work on something for our Youtube Travel Channel. (Feel free to CLICK HERE to see what’s new over there!)

I wanted to address something that I think happens to so many of us once we get to a certain age.  (Haha – I used to be so private about my age when I was hard-core auditioning.  But I’m starting to be okay with sharing this formerly-taboo private information.  Maybe a part of me is a bit proud of what I’ve learned in these 42 years on the planet.  Or maybe it’s because once you get to your 40’s you really do start to care less what other people think.  I really don’t give a crap actually – that in itself is very freeing.)

However, it’s also an age where you start to realize that the big things you were hoping would happen for you in life, just might never happen at all.  When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, life seems so vast out ahead of you.  Even if you haven’t accomplished certain things, you know you have plenty of time to make them happen.  Patience, determination, hopefulness; they’re all chugging along beside you as you keep on trying.

Right after turning 40, I took a job as a tour director.  (Which means, I basically take large groups of tourists around Central Europe, primarily centered around river cruising.) I had two reasons for my decision: financial security and I was encouraged to bring my music to the job as much as possible.  (I would not have accepted the job if that latter part had not been part of the equation.)  I have benefits. I have a retirement plan.  Crazy stuff for a life-long musician!  I like my job – I really do.  But in all honesty, I struggle on a regular basis, because I’ve really taken a big step away from what I had dedicated the entire first 40 years of my life.  Yes, when I was singing professionally on a regular basis, I had to piece together many jobs just to get by – but I was getting by, and let me tell you, the high that I got each time I was onstage was one like no other.  Close your eyes and imagine that you can fly.  That’s what it felt like.  Just glorious.  I also had a thriving voice teaching studio, and I was a really good teacher!  I miss helping students learn to sing!

Yes, I get to sing on the tours I work, but it’s not quite the same.  (And I’ve occasionally gotten pushback from jealous colleagues. That freakin’ sucks.)  I don’t get to practice regularly.  I haven’t performed in a full production with orchestra for a few years now.  I feel like the one thing I worked so hard for is gradually slipping away, and I know I’ll never have the career I thought I’d have, or even the one I DID have. I’m grateful that my Christmas Caroling business (Olde Towne Carolers) is super successful, and I get to be a real professional singer again every holiday season, but oh, how I desire to be more artistically and musically challenged!  Oh, to be on the STAGE again!

Then there’s the constant struggle of infertility and having to realize that I’m probably never going to be a mother.  Rejoicing in the pregnancy announcements of friends (so many pregnancies and babies), yet feeling constant sadness as well, because I can’t experience that same personal joy for myself.  Months go by, then years go by.  Nothing works, not even IVF.  Another closed door.  Another life disappointment.  Always being asked by guests on tour if I have kids, or am planning to have kids.  Working on my rehearsed answer so I don’t get upset talking about it.

The two big things that I thought were going to be a part of my life, just aren’t.  I had such great expectations for myself.  I had such lofty goals.  I’m immensely fortunate in that I’ve found my true soul mate and love of my life.  I could not get through any of this if it weren’t for Miloš.  He’s the biggest blessing in my life.  I make a conscious effort on a regular basis to count my blessings – to take stock of the good things in my life.  Some days are easier than others when it comes to that, but I try.

If you, too, have come to a point in your life where you realize it didn’t turn out the way you always planned, or you’re carrying around big disappointments, remember that you are NOT ALONE.  We’re all around you, and we’re all just trying to make the best of everything.  It’s good to be reminded of that saying, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  It’s really true.  I think so many of us forget that.  Behind the smiles in the pictures, there’s struggle and sadness. So many of us sharing in these same feelings.  All the more reason to go with kindness, always.  Share a smile – it’s always free, and it could be the best gift someone gets on a tough day.

Photo of author
Jennifer was initially drawn to Europe for two reasons: music and love.  She lived in Vienna for four years, and now calls Croatia home for much of each year, as she married a native Croatian. Since 2015, Jennifer has worked as a tour director and cruise director on European river cruises for a major American travel company, and has become an expert in all of the cities along her routes on the Danube, Rhine, and Main Rivers. She also has traveled to Disney World almost every year since 1985, and knows Disney World inside and out. As a travel agent, Disney World is her primary specialty, and she has helped many Disney newbies and veterans have amazing trips with her insider information.

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Life’s Big Disappointments”

  1. Hi Jen–

    “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
    ———–Mary Anne Evans, better known as George Eliot

    You don’t know me, but I have been following your career ever since I encountered your YouTube video of “Ach, Komm mit Mir” by Emmerich Kalman–one of my favorite Viennese operetta arias. I have since marveled at your enthusiasm and resourcefulness in being able to turn your talents to sing while you are also a tour guide. Your beautiful voice and beauty as a person have often been of help to me when I am in need of encouragement.

    I have only one piece of advice: Never, never, never surrender your dreams. Your ability to dream is your most precious possession. You must cherish it, protect it, work toward achieving it as long as you live. You are fortunate to have a spouse who supports you in your quest. And he is a sailor, too! as I was, in the U.S. Navy.

    I am 80 years old–almost twice your age. And I still dream. I compose music. Sacred choral music. I keep thinking: some day, some day, the Vienna Philharmonic will perform one of my works. Foolish? I don ‘t think so. It’s my life and my dream. And nothing can take that from me.

    A word on the envy and jealousy of your peers. You can’t believe how common this is. People whom you respect –and love–can be secretly jealous of your abilities. They may not even be aware of their own jealousy. Whatever their motive, don’t let them inadvertently trap you into selling yourself short, or giving up. Never give up.

    Keep dreaming! Never stop. Blessings on you and your husband.

    • Hi Robert,
      I realized I never got a chance to reply to you – it was a super busy time for me, and I just let it slip my mind, and then I honestly forgot. But I wanted to tell you that your kind words were SO MUCH appreciated! It means a lot to me that you took the time to give me some very sage advice. Thank you again so much, and I wish you all the best with YOUR dreams! – Jen


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