Accepting Failures Gracefully

I am wrong. I have been wrong for quite some time. I was wrong about failing and I was wrong about me. I’ve let my life become a series of if only’s and why me and I just viewed my life as a series of things that against my control, happened to me. The only thing I have been right about is that often when we don’t have any lessons learned to write about, that means we’re in the middle of one.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do/be and one of the things on my list was to learn how to accept failures gracefully. Ah, I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this. Let me try again.

Throughout all of senior year, I’ve been absolutely horrible to myself. I have torn myself down in the worst ways possible. Ihave doubted and questioned everything about myself. Mostly I said things such as “If only I had learned to like math earlier, then I wouldn’t be so behind” “If only I were better at test-taking, then I wouldn’t gotten such a low ACT score.” “If only I had prepared earlier by getting a job, etc, then I would have money for college” And then I began to think that maybe I should just not go to college this year so I would have more time to ‘fix’ things.

And this is something I’ve always done to myself. I’ve done the mature thing of placing blame where it’s due, so mostly placing it on myself. But then…I’ve just let that blame sit and let myself grow weak under it until soon, I had formed a cycle where every failure was completely my fault and that my life was just a series of things that were destined to go wrong. Senior year has been great in a lot of ways but that’s not what this post is about so I will now continue.

And I’ve realized that I have been wrong about what failures are. Failure is just life not playing out how we planned it all in our heads. We’ve made failures possible only because we expect this messy chaotic universe to perform a certain way. Namely, to our advantage. But just like our lives are not a random series of things that had the misfortune to occur to us, it also does not follow a self-devised script. That is not how life works and that is what I have been wrong about this entire time. Every single thing has two sides but it is up to us what side we see. Like, for example, my arthritis. It is something that happened to me yes, but I have made the best of it and become better become of it. Am I some sort of failure because my body sucks at even sitting or opening things? No. So why have I not confronted everything else in my life with the same level of optimism?

And so now I am thinking that failure is not the things we did or what happens to us, but what we didn’t do. Which is use every situation to make this big ol’ thing called life less sucky. And it’s not about waiting for the good times to roll around and wait out for ‘things to go right again’, But to exist as complex creatures in an equally complex universe.

So through this all, I’ve lost sight of the most important thing here. That I love learning and I love astrophysics. I love life and things are never going to go the way I’ve planned. Actually here’s a list of some of the things that have gone wrong this school year:

  1. I didn’t get into the honors college.
  2. I didn’t win any scholarships.
  3. I don’t have a lot of the money to pay for college so now my parents have to take out a loan.
  4. I didn’t get into the dorm I wanted, actually I got into the worse one on campus.
  5. I’m still not caught up on math and I have a placement test in about a week.
  6. I got a really low ACT score (21).

And I’ve let all these things overshadow everything that has gone right. Actually, I need to stop saying that things went “wrong” or “right”. They just went. They just happened.

No one is to blame, not even me.

And from here on out, it doesn’t matter what happened so much as what I am going to do about it.

So yeah.

I was wrong.

This is not the first time and it definitely won’t be the last.

Not because everything went ‘wrong’

But because I simply did not to see all that went and could still go ‘right’.


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