Tag Archives: mistakes

24 hours at a time

I will begin by paraphrasing one of my favorite authors, the late Terry Pratchett. I’ve found that chaos usually beats order. It’s better organized.

If you think anyone has anything all put together or figured out, you’ll eventually find that they are wrong. If anyone claims they have it all together, they are liars. Nothing really makes any sense but people pretend it does. I don’t say this to be dismal or proclaim the end of days. This is just an observation that the world doesn’t fit into the little categories people create. Overwhelming concept to think about, right?

As people, we deal with this in a variety of ways. But the must common seems to be not to think about it much at all. I certainly did that at one point. Then I went to the other extreme and started thinking about it too much. Doing that just causes a complete shutdown of anything resembling a functional human. So I don’t recommend either. For me, the only thing that seems to help is the old “one day at a time” mentality. Just deal with the 24 hour cycle you currently inhabit.

Treat people as well as you can, like how you’d want to be treated. And don’t get too pissed when you start behaving like an ass because you WILL behave like an ass. You will fuck up. It sucks but it will happen due to the simple fact that we exist. So make your mistakes and try to let them teach you something. Try and make time for the people important to you. Just remember that they are also human. Don’t make them into saints. They will fuck up too. You will be disappointed, hurt, and angry about it. You’ll have to decide if it’s something you can live with. If it isn’t, then maybe you don’t care as much as you thought. If it is, then you will move on at your own pace.

I’m not saying anything new here. These aren’t original concepts. This world is a big pile of chaos. We do our best to make sense of this. Whether it’s through our work, our families, our passions, or by writing rambling blog posts we are all trying. And all we can do is try again tomorrow.

 

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Successful Failure

I’m going to start with a question. Are you successful? Just a quick “yes” or “no” for the moment. You can come back to it when you’re done here.

People tend to obsess over different things. Some more than others, but we are all guilty of something. And I think more than anything, we all focus to some degree on success. Which I find weird because it seems like such a subjective thing. I mean, what definition are you using? Your dad’s version or your teacher’s version? Your cat’s definitions of success? Are you a good mouser?

Focusing on success also means that we spend a lot of time obsessing over failure. That’s the opposite of success, right? If you didn’t succeed you failed. Pretty simple concept except that it isn’t that simple. Have I given you a headache yet? Take some ibuprofen and sit back down with me. I am going to give you a break and make a confession.

I’m a failure. I am a huge fucking failure. By so many definitions!

I’m a man in my late thirties who doesn’t make a lot of money, so I’m a failure by some societal standards. I’ve had more than one artistic pursuit come crashing to the ground. I struggle as a parent and I am positive I’m screwing up my kids. My depression likes to take feelings of failure and gobble them down like Cadbury Mini Eggs, so my brain usually hates me. Yeah, I’m a failure. And I keep reminding myself that it’s fine. There is nothing wrong with failure. Nothing.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying failure is something to be enjoyed. Failing sucks. It doesn’t feel good. But it’s important and, despite claims to the contrary, nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re alive, then you are ultimately going to fail at least a few times.  As the Mythbusters so eloquently stated, failure is always an option.

It can happen for many reasons. Timing can be off. You can misjudge the popularity of something and have an ugly surprise. A stranger can not like the answer you gave to a question and decide you aren’t fit for their company. These are all things that can lead to failure. You can even do everything “right” and still fail, through no fault of your own. That’s life sometimes. You just fail. And if you think you’ve never failed or never will I ask you to send me whatever hallucinogens you’re taking. The only way to not fail is to never try to do anything. Even if you’re the luckiest leprechaun in history you know, deep down in your four-leaf clovers, you will fail at some point.

I don’t enjoy failing, making mistakes, screwing up or any of that stuff. But it means I’m trying and hopefully learning. And those times I do succeed are awesome. But as important as failing is in our lives as a tool of growth it can still trip you up. When your failure makes you put a permanent stop on everything, you’re in trouble. It’s hard, but we all have to remember that we’re still alive and can keep going. Success is our there, in whatever form you need it to be. But you’ll fail first. So feel that failure and use it to keep going. This is why I can accept it. Failure isn’t forever. It’s just another step. We have to keep walking.