In life, you will fail. More often than not, you will fail. I’m not being pessimistic or negative. I am telling you the truth. You know, that little thing that we try to forget, that little thing that we ignore when it doesn’t serve our purpose.
In this life, you will fail more often than not. You will try a lot of things, and you will try hard, you will give it your all, and you will fail. And in the failing, you will learn, you will grow, you will struggle, cry, hurt, and fall apart, but you will become. It is through our failings that we learn the absolute beauty of success, that we see what a rare, unique thing it is to get something right.
Our hearts will break a dozen or a hundred times before we find a partner that we can count on, connect with.
We will work jobs upon jobs that we will quit or be fired from before we find a place where we want to stay, work at something we love.
We will live in apartments, houses, condos, countless places after leaving our first home, before we find a place that can hold us, that can nurture us, that can make us feel like we’ve finally landed somewhere worth staying.
Friends will come and go and only a small elite will transcend the years, the decades, the pain, the heartbreaks, the wandering. Those friends will be there forever, into the next life as well (if you believe in that sort of thing, they’ve been there all along).
We’ll bury cats, dogs, goldfish, and hermit crabs, we’ll say goodbye as often as we say hello, and we will never know when it’s coming.
Our hearts will break, our souls will hurt, our eyes will cry, we’ll hug pillows alone in bed at night dreaming of a better life, dreaming of a soul mate, dreaming of a storybook ending.
And then, like the sun shining through the clouds one day, we will succeed.
We will win a game, find a lover, say “I do”, welcome a child into the world, feel fulfilled, teach our dog a new trick, help a friend tow their car, say the right words to a loved one in pain.
We will get it right.
And it will be so sweet, so brief, so wonderful, so blessed, that all the failings will fade away. For every hundred things you’ve done wrong, the one thing you’ve done right will shine, like the brightest star, warm your heart, dry your tears, fill your soul.
Every tear that you cried is like a seed of laughter, planting itself in your belly for later.
Our lives are nothing more than a story we write each day, a movie someone else is watching. We decide, to an extent, what will happen to us each day, what our reaction will be to the various other characters that we encounter. We do not have the luxury to choose our co-stars, we are just actors and writers, we are not the producers after all. But we do have the ability to control the courses of action that we take. And while we will fail often in this life, much more often than we would like to think, we at least have the freedom to choose our reactions to our failings. Will we learn from them? Will we laugh them off as silly mishaps? Will we read into them our futures, our destinies? Will we be disappointed, deterred from trying again, afraid of failing all over?
And in this we find our true character. Do we press on, continue forward, try again despite public opinion, despite the fear of failing all over. Do we stand back up and say let’s have another go, or do we lie down and let life make a fool of us? How do we proceed?
It may sound bleak to realize that we will fail more often than not but in truth, it is refreshing. It allows us to fail without shame. It allows us to fail repeatedly without apologizing. It allows us room to grow, to try again, to fight against all odds, to never give up, to believe that it will get better.
If we stop believing, we will never learn that new dance move, we will never break our own personal best record, we will never learn a new language, apply for a new job, go on that first date. With each fail, we become stronger, we become more resilient, we become more connected to each other, more empathetic, more understanding.
With each failure, we become.
Do we see ourselves as failures or successes? What do we base it on, the final outcome or the hundreds of attempts? What if we never succeed, despite years of effort, do we count for nothing or do we get credit for trying? Succeed or fail. Get it wrong or right. Finish it or don’t. But what about walking away? What about calling your own failure? Realizing that you’ve gained all you can, that you have succeeded as much as is possible and also realizing that nothing more will come of continuing this……this job, this relationship, this friendship, this goal, this book, this song, this poem, this painting, this project, this letter, this laundry, this WHATEVER!
Maybe it’s OK to fail, to be your own judge, to decide that you failed at this one thing; that it didn’t work out, that you can leave it where it lies, that you are released, you are free, you are no longer obliged, beholden, responsible. You are done, and you failed, and it’s OK, you can let it go.
What if you could walk away, with no guilt, with no remorse, with a pride that you tried and you failed, and that’s enough, for today, that’s all we need, because we remember that failing is more normal than not, that failing it what we all have in common, that failing is normal, failing is human, failing is godlike, failing is fine.
It’s fine that it didn’t work out. It’s fine that you gave it your all, it’s fine that you don’t want to do it anymore. It’s fine that you don’t love him, love her, want it, care about it.
It’s fine. You failed. You became. You’ll do it again. You will fail more often than not. You will continue to become. You can leave it behind you now. We all know it. It’s the same. We’re the same.
We all fail. We all succeed.
We all become.