"The individuals listed remain subject to the travel restrictions and, should they attempt to travel to Australia, their visas may be considered for cancellation while travel restrictions remain in force."
My heart dropped into my stomach and quickly formed a big pit. This was the third time I had applied to be let into Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic (after leaving the country as an essential worker for a long project with some big companies) and they had said no.
In that moment, I had a choice: I could attempt to avoid future disappointment by not doing these kind of projects until things settled down with the pandemic (would they ever?) or I could allow myself to feel the disappointment, accept that I can’t win them all, and learn something from the experience... and then move on.
I knew I had grown a lot during that expedition because I surprised myself: that pit in my stomach didn’t last long. If I had been in the same position a few years ago, I would have had a few sleepless and tear-filled nights; this time, I was able to look at the situation from a calmer perspective. I was able to see that yes, this was frustrating... but I wouldn't have said "no" to the great opportunity I was currently aboard.
For those of us who dare to chase big dreams, our efforts won’t always work out the way we plan. Big success often comes from big (and multiple) failures. Reframing it this way helps - and what also helps is that I had a support group to comfort me when I shared my disappointment. I didn't get to go home in October... instead, I got to bring the love of my life to meet my family for the first time. C got to experience my culture, my friends, where I called home for many years. And that got me thinking: sometimes, disappointment can actually be a blessing in our lives.
Disappointment can help increase your resiliency in the face of life’s inevitable stresses.
What makes it so easy for some people to bounce back when life throws shit your way? One's resiliency. But, like a muscle, it needs chances to grow stronger. We heal and grow tougher when we face adversity... even though in the moment it doesn't feel like it. By changing your perspective when faced with trying times (i.e. ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?”) practicing gratitude, nourishing and positive relationships to create a support system, you can turn your disappoinments into an opportunity to help achieve great things in the future.
Disappointment makes us grateful.
When I received that email, I sat with my own thoughts for about 10 minutes, letting the tears fall down my cheeks and splash onto my hands that still hovered over my phone. One of them splashed so hard it brought me back from my daze and I quickly asked my friend if I could borrow her satellite phone to send a text to C and my parents. The chat with them wasn't long (the joys of being in an area with little reception), but talking to them calmed me down enough to look at the problem from an objective point of view.
Nothing feels better knowing you have people you love and they are on your side. By the end of the day I had talked to the production crew and they were lining up a lawyer to help get me home, C and I talked about our next steps, and my parents said I was welcome to stay with them as long as I needed to. That night as my head hit the pillow, I felt myself actually smiling with gratitude for how good I had it... many others in the same situation as I weren't as lucky. This disappointing roadbloack made me appreciate what I did have.
Disappointment teaches you patience.
After my MSc I applied for a PhD and was accepted... with no payment. I was devastated as I turned down the offer because I thought that I had just blown my "next step." Yet looking back on it, I don't regret saying no because 1) I wasn't super passionate about the project, 2) I am now doing a PhD I love, and 3) I'm in a country I adore. Similarly with being told I couldn't go back to Australia yet, these disappoinments just had me flexing my "patience" muscles. Just because I didn’t get what I wanted in that moment didn't mean I would never get it. To be honest, nothing that comes easily is worthwhile! I focused on my goals, my values, and ended up with something even better at the end... a PhD program I love and a time back at home with the person I love. Win-win!
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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