What Are You Wistful About?

Wistfulness is a funny thing. Sometimes we are wistful for things we, actually, wouldn’t want to revisit as adults; other times, we long for experiences or people we’ve cherished for many years. What is it that you miss having in your life?

For me, there are people (well, one person, in particular) and past experiences that I wish I had in my life right now. There are also people and experiences I wonder about that I have never known—this second group falls much more into the romanticized category than the first because I know too much about the prior to think it would all be idle bliss.

Are either totally foreclosed to me? Probably not.

So, what will it take to get me closer to them? A dollop of brave initiative and a whole lot outside of my control. Not exactly a recipe for success, is it?

No, but the part we tend to forget about when feeling wistful is that somebody else is sitting there feeling wistful about us, too. Yes, this applies to you. I promise you, for as much as you may be dreaming about someone or something, there is (more likely than not) somebody who dreams about having you in their life, too.

Do you remember that marvelous song from the musical Annie,” Maybe”?

Maybe far away

Or maybe real nearby

He may be pouring her coffee

She may be straightening his tie!

Maybe in a house

All hidden by a hill

She’s sitting playing piano,

He’s sitting paying a bill!


Betcha they’re young

Betcha they’re smart

Bet they collect things

Like ashtrays, and art!

Betcha they’re good —

(Why shouldn’t they be?)

Their one mistake

Was giving up me!

Who or what did you give up you that you wish you hadn’t? Why did you do so? Overall, did you make the right decision? Why do you still think about them? What does this person or past experience mean to you? How might you recapture this?

Someone I know back in Santa Barbara has a very complicated domestic situation which involves several unhappy and dysfunctional players. This is not so unusual. We all know people embroiled in scenarios which are complicated, unpleasant and sad. But the frustrating element of the scenario that comes to mind for me is the fact that my main contact’s only answer to any discussed alternative is “No.”

No, no, no, no, and no. No, it wouldn’t work to try X. No, Y is impossible because of [fill in the blank]. No, I’ll just have to make the best of it. No, it’s my role to be a martyr and guide these other dysfunctional players through this.


Really, is your answer to dysfunction and wistfulness always going to be No?


Does feeling wistful but throwing up walls against action get you anywhere constructive? Does it truly serve the people around you to maintain a dysfunctional ecosystem?

Trust me, I get it. As a Re-booter of the First Order, I am sympathetic and understand how frightening, inconvenient, and unpleasant upsetting the (dysfunctional) applecart can be. I had a million good reasons for why I “had” to remain in a situation so toxic it was poisoning my worldview and impacting my health. I was terrified, furious that I was being forced into such an untenable situation, but my fear overrode it all, so I sat tight, hating every minute, until life made sure I had no choice but out.

The point of this post is to prod you into asking yourself how many roadblocks you are throwing up to avoid taking the steps necessary to move closer to that person or experience that has haunted you all these years. And, they would only haunt you if there were something “real” there! This isn’t some flash in the pan, passing fancy. If you are still wistful, that tells me that you may want to look more closely, give yourself a fighting chance to find out. Don’t find another reason to say no.


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