Monday, August 29, 2005

Failure, Inevitably

I am an addict for nostalgia. It comes with the territory of primarily being desk-bound at work - lots of time to think on and off the job.

The hard part of nostalgia is reliving all the memories - both the good and the bad - and normally the bad memories stick out like sore thumbs. The design of emotion is such negativity will come up much more quickly over the positives. Or is it just me? Reminds me of Lennon's "God" where he says "God is a Concept by which we measure our pain."

Whichever is true, it still surprises me how people react to the prospect of failure. Since we are finite beings, inevitably there will come a time where we will fail at something. That's a hidebound, set-in-stone guarantee. I still wince, though, looking back at the failures in my life...

I have failed to keep my weight at a consistent level.
Earlier in my career, for a variety of reasons, I have failed to hold down jobs, even those of the cakewalk variety, or where I have even been an ideal fit.
I have failed to sustain a number of relationships that would have led to my making a lifetime commitment with someone.
I have failed to live up to my potential through my academic career (a failure which haunts me to this day).
I have let so many friends down during critical times.

It hurts to remember the failures. Still, it is liberating to be free of the baggage that came with those failures. I have accepted that I have failed and whatever consequences I have already reaped (and may, still, in the future) are already part and parcel of my life. They have defined me until this very moment; and despite the uncertainty of my future, I have already ceded control over those parts of my life's equation.

I am free because my flaws have allowed me to narrow my options; and since those options remain my only possible courses of action, I am more eager to do what I can and must in my present. It does give me some pressure, but it's a healthy kind of pressure, a pressure that tells me, "Rise to your level. You're better than this, so strive to be yourself."

It gives me the thrill out of being alive.

The prospect of failure of course remains daunting. Whether I fail or not is the question - failure does come, inevitably; what matters is that whether I will give myself an opportunity to fail --- but more than that, to succeed.

No comments: