on failure

I’ve had some interesting reactions from friends and followers as it relates to the title of this blog, failed at forty. Most — those who know me well — issue forth a quick guffaw and exclaim “awesome!” or “hilarious!” or some such. They know my quirky, cheeky sense of humor and ability to poke fun at myself.

Others sincerely tell me I shouldn’t think of or call myself a failure. It’s as though they believe failure is a bad thing.

For a time in my life, I had frequent occasion to downhill ski. I recall letting some of my friends know that I felt good, was getting in my groove, hadn’t wiped out in a long time. And then one of them piped up:  “If you haven’t wiped out, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.”

Let’s pause for a moment to look at the silver lining inherent in failure:

  • To fail means we’ve taken a risk, acted boldly, pushed forward out of our safety zone.
  • We’ve gained some clarity about what doesn’t work, and can now adjust course to create a more positive outcome.
  • We’re afforded a new beginning, an opportunity to confess that we didn’t really know it all anyway, made mistakes and are ready to move on.
  • We’re older, wiser and can choose to endeavor forth with much already gained.

As for me, I can point to some rather spectacular results of the past decade of my life:

  • I have two amazing, beautiful, loving children.
  • I have a home in a lovely neighborhood.
  • I’ve increased my income by more than 60% over this time.
  • I’ve met amazing new friends and colleagues, as well as continuing to nurture old friendships.
  • I’ve had some tremendous, remarkable, memorable experiences.
  • I’ve healed, matured and grown in more ways that I can recount.

Do I really think of myself as a failure? No. But I’ve had some pretty spectacular moments. You could say failure and I are on a first-name basis. So let’s raise a glass to failure. Failure, you haven’t beat me — I’ll always persevere. And I’m grateful for the lessons!

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