Broken Promises and Castles Built On Air

When I was little, there was someone I idolized. She was brilliant, and I loved her. She was always full of grandiose ideas. She always made plans — we’ll make Christmas cookies, complete with edible silver dragees; we’ll go for sushi at the place where her friend works; we’ll go see you in your high school play. Some of the ideas I knew would never come true — that wasn’t even really the point of them — tours around California, for example — these wonderful, brilliant plans that I knew weren’t real, but I couldn’t help but get swept up in her enthusiasm, imagining just for a moment how incredible it would be if they were true. Some of them . . . some of them I really thought were meant as promises, not just building castles in the air — those were the ones that really hurt when nothing ever happened.

Did I sometimes wish that she wouldn’t have shared this ideas, that she would have simply kept quiet if she never meant to follow through with her promises? Absolutely. And yet, I wouldn’t have changed it. I wouldn’t have given up that hope that maybe this time would be different, maybe this time she really meant it. Still, it taught me something, taught me to be a little less trusting, perhaps. I grew up.

Still, I don’t want to be like that, and I know I’ve done it far too many times. I never meant harm; things simply got out of my control. I’ve made so many plans with friends that never went anywhere — going to jazz clubs in New York, cocktail parties in our dorm rooms, trips to chocolate shops, Hair on Broadway, the Ani concert, LotR marathons. My plans were always sincere; I simply ran out of time.

I’m resolving to stop that, to the best of my ability. I want to keep my plans, keep my promises. I don’t want to be the person who forces people to grow up, to become a little more disillusioned, a little more jaded. I now generally assume that people aren’t intending to follow through with plans they make; I don’t want to be the reason why someone else does the same.

3 responses to “Broken Promises and Castles Built On Air

  1. As I hit middle age- because 60 is the new 30, according to my sisters who already arrived there!- I realize that I have been one who talked about doing some of those things- but when I said them, I really meant to do them! I think another way to look at it, is to know we all get busy with other things, or life gives us surprises, it’s not always meant to hurt or disillusion my friends, or make someone grow up, it is usually life, just happening. But, I understand your thoughts, because it did take me almost til middle-age to realize this! And I will pretend you are not laughing at the way I see my age!!

    • Gail! I think it’s great that you view 60 as the new 30 — making the most out of your life is a fantastic way to approach the world, and I think it’s far better to be young at heart, as they say (or just to decide that whatever age you are is not, in fact, “old”), than to sort of give up and think that you’re too old for anything interesting. So, more power to you!

      I do mostly agree with you about people and plans — I, too, have made a lot of plans with people that I’ve sincerely meant, even though I haven’t always followed through. I think, though, that some people . . . are even worse than others about actually following through on plans, and sometimes they perhaps don’t mean them as plans so much as “wouldn’t it be cool if?” even though it may not come across that way. I also think that it’s sometimes especially hard when those hopes and dreams and plans and promises are never realized if the person in question really means a lot to you (or me, I suppose, as the case was with this). I also recognize that I’ve had a tendency to sort of put certain people on pedestals in the past, which isn’t fair to them and just makes it harder on me when I realize their human failings. Anyway, I’m also trying not to do that anymore; I’d like to think I’m getting better at it.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting on this post — I’m glad you did!

  2. Pingback: Shows and Court Dates: Losing Faith In People and Learning to Believe Again | Beyond Bryn Mawr

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