I’ve messed up the past couple of weeks.
I messed up in a relationship. I let what I wanted blind me to where someone else was and what they needed. I didn’t mean to, but I did, and I messed up.
I also messed up a story I told at an open mic. I’m new to this storytelling thing, and it’s scary. But I want to learn to do the stories and the people in them justice. I tried winging a story I’ve been thinking about, and I got something important out of place and messed it up.
I’m sure there’s plenty of other things I messed up this week. And I’m guessing you probably did, too.
But something has shifted for me.
This week, when I messed up, I didn’t freeze and I didn’t hide. I owned it.
We talked about what happened, and I’m figuring out what moving forward and growing looks like.
I kept telling the story, and when I got to the end, people were still with me.
I used to be so afraid of messing up, of getting something wrong. If I’m honest, I still am sometimes.
But now, I’m more afraid of getting frozen there. I want to keep living, as messy as that is. Because as much as I mess up, good things keep happening and good gifts keep coming.
Don’t misunderstand, there are real consequences to messing up, consequences I have to own up to and live with. And sometimes they’re pretty devastating.
But I’m learning, and living.
I can’t remember when I first heard that failure is part of success. It’s pretty ubiquitous. But that came with a parallel lesson that everything mattered, that every choice and decision had consequences that could affect the rest of my life (if not eternity).
I’m not sure I don’t still believe that, but I certainly see it differently. It’s those choices and consequences that make up a life. That’s what actually living looks like.
I know people who are haunted by lost opportunities and dreams, marriages that ended, careers gone. But I see other opportunities opened up for them, new possibilities, hard won strength. And I’m awed by the possibilities of their lives.
I’m learning to see my own life the same way. Everything that ends isn’t a failure, and trying and failing doesn’t make me a failure. My feelings have had a hard time catching up with what I know, but they’re starting to come around.
There’s something I’m far more afraid of these days than failing or messing up or getting it wrong – and that’s not trying.
There’s so much more, so much to explore and learn and grow into. And sometimes I’m going to get it wrong, but I’m going to deal with it and keep trying anyway.
I may mess up, but I don’t want to miss a thing.