My Favorite Mistake
I will be away this week, vacationing in a land of sun, sand, and questionable Wifi. If it’s not two gerbils running on a habit trail unreliable, I will post something NEW.
Otherwise, every day there will be one of the six most popular posts from the past few years in no particular order.
I hope you’re all pigging out and having fun. I know I am!
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oh, Ralph. Or do you want me to call you Waldo?
How did you get so smart? So enlightened? After all, you lived during the nineteenth century, a time of immense intellectual and industrial expansion; yet it was also the time of corsets, slavery, the horse and buggy, The Civil War, and before the use of the electric light bulb.
You went around espousing and developing certain cutting-edge ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for humankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. Holy cow R.W.!
With this quote you give those of us in the twenty-first century, an era whose technological advances you could scarcely have imagined in your wildest dreams—permission.
Permission to make mistakes;
Permission to get over ourselves;
Permission to be high-spirited, unencumbered;
Permission to start the fuck over!
Thank you Ralph, Waldo, Wally? We really needed it, because in that respect—humanity hasn’t changed a bit since you walked the earth.
Nearly two centuries later we have yet to master the art of forgiving ourselves and employing The Start Over.
“Blunders and absurdities” not only creep in, they set up camp and ruin our sleep as they set fire to our lives; and after we clean up the mess and re-group, we have a hard time letting go of the past, the old nonsense—and an almost impossible time forgiving ourselves.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.”
I don’t know about you guys but you may as well be asking me to get into a shark cage in infested waters, or eat just one Lays Potato Chip—it’s simply not going to happen.
Then I remembered this, something I haven’t thought about in eons:
Years ago a friend posed this amazing question to me after too much wine and not enough cheese. (Remember the Sheryl Crowe song My favorite Mistake? It was playing in the back round),
“What would you say is your favorite mistake?”
I watched as her IQ rose several points just in the contemplation of such a thing.
Me: A Favorite Mistake? Really? I, I, uh, I don’t know. (tens of IQ points evaporating by the second.)
I suppose it was the word favorite that initially hung me up, but the more I thought about it, the more I LOVED the concept.
If we could deem a mistake our favorite, it would release the charge, the tug in our gut.
It would become the path on which we could meet up with “high-spirited and unencumbered”.
It could become old nonsense and jumpstart THE START OVER.
I was willing to give it a try.
“I suppose my favorite mistake was my marriage at twenty. We were way too young and not a good match, and after the divorce we both went on to live happy lives with other people—and we’re still friends” I admitted, feeling lighter by the minute.
Hers was an unplanned pregnancy, a son she had at nineteen. A favorite for obvious reasons.
Thinking about this again, all these years later, my heart started racing as I ran through twenty plus years of memories and they started to look less like a Tela Novela and more like a situation comedy.
Starting my business, my store, is quickly becoming my latest favorite mistake due to all of the internal growth it’s caused. I can finally be done with it. It has become old nonsense, and now I have this (the writing) and SO MUCH MORE. I can say that now.
As I lay in bed the other night it dawned on me that since the beginning of time, humans have tortured themselves over their mistakes to the point where perfectly lovely people lead lives of quiet disappointment trying to avoid another.
What is your favorite mistake? This needs to be a mandatory question on any employment or dating application.
The answer changes people.
It changed me.
Okay, you knew it was coming, Tell me, What’s your favorite mistake?
Then you can Carry on,