Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lessons in Failure and Flexibility



You could say they go hand in hand. You could say I’ve been dealing with a lot of both lately, in equal measure - Failure and Flexibility.

I came back from Spain with this Zen and the Art of Keeping Your Cool thing going on. I was tigger, bouncing off the walls with a go-get-em attitude I started pouring myself into making plans for myself here, getting a job, a role in a university club, trying to keep my Spanish up by going to intercambios and putting my dormant-holiday-in-europe brain to good use. I set goals to save for South America, to get HDs, getting extra-curicular, a strategy of overall kicking ass at life. But it didn’t take long before the shinyness of Sydney life wore off and the familiarity began to irk me.

And other things started happening, the motivation got lost, I woke up one morning and no I didn’t feel like speaking Spanish and no I didn’t want to do the readings for that lecture and where did I put that calm and peace and Art of Keeping it Together?? It got lost somewhere when the planning starting to become the doing and the end-goal didn’t seem to get any closer.

Here’s where the failure comes in. I went for a job I really wanted in an organization I respected for a program I believed in. And I got so close, but I didn’t get it. It wasn’t meant to work out this way. This, along with the slow realisation that this is life, too, has been paralysing me.

This is where that life lesson I said I learned in Spain comes in. I have to relearn it, take two – the Sydney edition. The lesson… In life you have to be flexible. Plans change, opportunities are missed, sometimes you lose out.... the point is - that’s OK.

Just like a relationship you learn from it, what was good, what was bad – what you want and don’t want in the next one. I honestly feel like Spain broke up with me and I’m still the sad ex-girlfriend sitting on the couch eating a spoonful of nutella straight from the jar, watching trashy American dramas and relating it back to my poor bleeding heart. The thing with being that girl is that you can only be her for so long, and let’s face it – nobody wants to be that girl! I have to put the nutella down and move on. Break ups are hard, especially when it’s a whole period of your life that’s over, it can feel like you failed on an epic scale.

And that’s OK, too. Maybe part of the reason I’ve been having so much trouble adjusting to Sydney life is because I don’t want to let Spain go, I keep insisting on bringing it back, on comparing it to everything. My biggest error has been not putting into practice what I was supposed to have learned – that you have to be flexible, the picture you have of what your life is and what it’s turning out to be is constantly being painted and reworked. And I’m going to fail, a lot. But that’s OK. I gotta learn to be OK with that. Cause it's going to happen, over and over. Failure is OK. I read somewhere ‘You can’t fail, if you never give up’ and I guess as long as I’m failing it might as well be spectacularly, trying to get somewhere (flexible on the details).

Here's to that, letting go, being flexible and getting to know my newest bud Failure. To the 99 times I have to fail before the final time when I get it right.. One down, just a few more to go... 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I relate. So well. Sometimes it feels like I have to screw everything up before one thing goes right. And then, it all gets screwed up again. I don't know is it the nature of life or my expectations to high? For me, the one lesson I've learned, is that there's nothing to regret in failure. Each missed opportunity is fertile ground for the next phase of life to take root. I try to keep my eye on the horizon and keep my feet moving.

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