Failure. We so often associate this word with a sense of impending doom. Like if you failed to reach that one goal you set for yourself, then you must really suck at life. Been there. And then once it happens – once you’ve made that proverbial faceplant – your first reaction is to peace out of the whole venture, right? Who wants to feel like a ‘has been’? Or like the “fat guy” forever stuck in Chris Farley’s little coat?
I can assure you, that kiddie pool of self-pity you may be wading in is large enough for all of us. So move over and let me share a little nonsensical wisdom. Here are 5 surefire ways to know that you aren’t actually failing at life:
- You have a pulse. It really can be that simple. If you let it, that is. Sometimes our ego and desire for self-serving gratification gets in the way. But, do you see that rise and fall of your chest? There’s your sign. Life goes on. Someone said that to me recently. And I know it’s true. But sometimes, when caught up in our own tangled mess of drama, it sounds so weighted. I’m here to tell you to shake that off, take a deep breath, and be grateful that you can do all of the above.
- You go hard, but also eat the cupcakes. Life is complex, people! We are expected to get up every day and spin our wheels tirelessly for the greater good. Yes, I absolutely rise to the occasion. I have a deeply rooted desire to be an important part of said greater good. I even push myself to spend 5 o’clock some mornings on the treadmill, in hopes of counteracting career and life anxieties, for the greater good. Do I enjoy this? Heck no. But nonetheless, I do the things. And it feels good later.
That being said, I can promise you that I also eat the cupcakes. I am not, nor will I ever be a body shaming snob. Beautifully sculpted bodies are great. If that’s your thing, more power to you. But, I just want so badly to pass out donuts to all of you people who swear off anything that’s not lettuce or beet juice. I mean, have you ever had one?
- You find the funny. Please, please don’t forget to find the funny. You really are failing at life if you can’t laugh at yourself. And others. I mean that in a totally nice way. Sometimes the funny even finds you. Take today, for example. I was in the middle of a glorious lesson on fiction vs. nonfiction. It was Oscar worthy. I had a captive audience of 5 year olds. I had picture examples. I had objectives all properly placed. (If you’re a teacher, you’d appreciate that one.)
And then I look over, and little Susie is sobbing. “I’m just so SAAAADD!!!” she says.
“Honey, what’s wrong?”
“It’s my turtle, Benita. She DIEEED!!!!!!”
Here I am struck with the funny tickle that we are now discussing Benita……the turtle. Can I spin this into a fiction vs. nonfiction example? Could it be an a-ha moment for sobbing Susie?
I go for sympathy, instead.
“I’m so sorry to hear that. Did this just happen over the weekend?”
“NOOOOOOO! It was when I was threeeeeeee! She was in so much pain!!!” Sobbing continues.
I have nothing to say.
Toss the cue cards. My own ADHD is now full throttle and I’m trying real hard to refocus my attention – let alone 20 some other bodies. Nonfiction vs. fiction lesson is over. My Oscar will have to wait for another day.
Remember these moments. You will laugh about them later. And also, welcome to kindergarten.
- Get inspired. This may sound terribly redundant, but there’s nothing more boring than a boring person. Figure out what makes you tick. DO something! Surround yourself with people who bring you up to a higher level of greatness. For me personally, when I go out looking for inspiration and I stay transparent enough to share it with others, other people end up feeling inspired. Feeling good and spreading good is contagious. I cannot tell you how many people in the last year have brought up my blog, like it’s something worth discussing. But you have no idea what joy that brings my soul, knowing that other people enjoy my B.S. and actually feel like there are messages in it.
- Allow yourself to dream big and allow yourself to STINK at it. Because one of these days you’re going to get it right. End of story. Keep reaching.
So, no. You are not a failure. None of us are. Even at those low points when a pint of ice cream and a medically prescribed Xanax are about all that soothes you. Such is the ebb and flow of life. I hope you all appreciate my graceful and slightly facetious point of view. It comes from a place of love, I promise you. Until next time.
Doogie Howser, M.D.
Julie Wheaton, Bachelor of Arts