Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reverb 13: Prompt 11 - Fail

Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days. The point is to remember, revisit, reframe, reexamine the past year and share stories.

Prompt: Fail! What just didn't work out this year? Is that okay with you? Or are you going to try, try again? 

To start, one of the first words I read when I received this prompt was "fail". And that stuck with me. Did I fail this year? No. Many things happened to me, around me; none of them were my fault. I didn't do something wrong, leading directly to these events. Despite my sour mood and general lack-luster, I still don't feel like a failure. And yet, the word "fail" sticks with me, even though the prompt is more about not going right the first time? The idea of "failure" seems permanent to me. If you have failed, it not only points blame, but also implies that you cannot go back and change the outcome. I was raised with the idea that if things weren't right, I would fix them. The idea of failure without permanence is hard for me to accept - if you can still change things, why wouldn't you? 

But there's a difference in "fail" compared to "Plan A didn't succeed, so I'm going with Plan B". In that case, you as a person didn't "fail" so much as you were able to adapt, heal, and move on. Failure seems so negative, even if Plan B was a huge success.

The second part of the prompt is easy for me - being "okay with things not working out in the first plan" and "still trying to succeed" are not mutually exclusive. Example: I couldn't run my half marathon in July. But I could walk it. Is that a failure? No - it certainly is not. And I'm okay with walking it. Not only that, but I'm getting back into running, and I will continue to work towards my goal of running one. That single event in time may be over, but I'm still working towards me as a person. 

As I work to manage anxiety and being a bit of a control freak, the idea of "going with the flow" is something that I will need to continue to work on. But I'm getting better. And the idea of me as a person is not a failure. Things are different this month than they were in January, and they are different than I had planned for them to be now. But I'm okay with it. Because mis-steps along the way (not just this year, but in all the years), have still shaped who I am right now. I'm funny, strong, driven, and smart. I'm also anxious, stubborn, and a bit controlling. I have funny stories - sometimes from "failures" or missteps. I am strong and driven from what I have learned from these mistakes. I am okay with my mistakes, and the things that have gone wrong this year. But that doesn't mean I need to give up on anything.

Truly I think that the only real failure would be if I weren't "okay" with myself and if I'd stopped "trying".

Now, this song has got me pumped up. And it might be from the Karate Kid, but I've never seen it, and I only know this from Barney Stinson's Get Psyched mix. The message seems particularly appropriate... failure isn't an option!

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