Learning not to Fear Failure

“When we begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves” — Katherine Mansfield

In any given day, we will succeed at some things and fail at others. Failure happens to some degree every day. Over time, If we lose our sense of humor, we can begin to feel badly about our failures, letting those feelings compound into a statement about our self-worth. After all, who wants to fail?

There are times when a failure seems too big to make us laugh, and indeed some mistakes aren’t that funny. In those cases, does it make sense to continue to wallow in self-loathing, or to earnestly move forward in a new direction. Every moment offers us a chance for a new direction, and if we are mired in self loathing about our failures, we lose the chance to see the new opportunities that are available to us in the present moment.

I am resisting the temptation to see my move into a job that didn’t suit me as a failure. It was a learning experience, and I do not regret making the decision to change directions after several attempts to make it work. Resilience is one of my strengths. Having gone through much harder times, bigger failures in my life, I remain an eternal optimist, with a healthy dose of sardonic cynicism to keep me from being too naive.

Early in my recovery from an eating disorder, I had a sponsor who gave me a stuffed, quilted pig she had lovingly made for me. It seemed rather ironic, given my condition, but the words she said when she presented it to me have always stayed with me, even 35 years later. Her words were simple “Don’t wallow in it!”

I don’t expect everything in life to work out, and I don’t expect myself to be perfect. I know I will make mistakes, fail, fall down, and do dumb things. Sometimes I will be able to laugh at these things, and sometimes I will need to take a moment to cry.

Life itself fails us at times, and all we can do is decide, and decide, and decide again. Where to next?

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A Life Lesson for All Ages

Yesterday I struggled to see the good in my day. Everything was harder than normal, and I was feeling just plain gross and out of sorts. I was frustrated with my job and annoyed that I am not an expert at it yet. I missed my old job, but at the same time cursed it. I wanted to throw my uncooperative laptop out the window, and on the way to my doctor’s appointment I missed my exit. I was disappointed to find I hadn’t lost a pound despite eating a healthy diet and was reminded by the well-meaning doctor that my age was a contributing factor.

On the way home the contents of my purse spilled all over the floor of my car, and I was honked at several times for my distracted driving. I felt needy,  weepy, and isolated from my friends, whom I  haven’t gotten to see as much lately. I almost canceled a dinner because I didn’t think I was invited, but traffic was so bad I went any way. I’m glad I did, even though it felt a little awkward.

When a bad day is happening, I don’t always realize the reasons why I’m feeling out of sorts until it has passed. Today I am fairly certain most of it had to do with being tired and not knowing when to slow down and take it easy. Today I’m finding it a little easier to lighten up about things, probably because I’m not trying so hard.

Over the weekend I read a book to my grand-daughter called My No, No, No Day by Rebecca Patterson. After I finished reading, she looked up at me innocently and said, “Why was she having a bad day Mimi?”

My daughter, who was folding clothes on the bed was quick to remind the sleepy toddler of the bad day she’d had recently, after she missed her nap and threw several temper tantrums. What better way to let a small child know that bad days happen to everyone than by telling her a story.

Thank goodness there are books like this one and the popular kid’s book, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, that provide valuable lessons to children about life’s ups and downs, and thank goodness for the reminder to me as well.

Near Death Words of Wisdom

The last 36 hours turned out to be very stressful. My dad ran into complications and ended up back in surgery. I am so happy that he is doing much better now and they seemed to have fixed the problem. When he told me this morning that he thought for sure he was going to die yesterday (which we all feared) I asked him if he had any near death revelations.

He said “near death experience is a bunch of crap”

I’m taking that as a sign that he is on the road to recovery and getting back to his old self again.

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Affirmations – Writer’s Quote Wednesday

For my friend, Colleen’s, Writer’s Quote Wednesday I’ve decided to also post a clip of one of Stuart Smalley’s affirmations in case you are feeling under the weather today.  Hopefully it will at least put a smile on your face.

Enlightening morning walk

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Photos by T. Foltz

Have you ever wondered what happens to your flowers? Well, mystery solved. Note how well the golden retriever on the right is protecting the territory

My morning walk with the group was quite enlightening this morning. One can only assume this neighborhood is not the only buffet in town.

Release The Child Within

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

Photo by J. Allmyer

Photo by J. Allmyer

It is a beautiful day outside and I was halfway through cleaning my house when my friend called and asked me to go on a hike. Is this a trick question? Of course I’ll go. As much as I love cleaning (not so much) I am going to break away and take advantage of the joy I experience when I listen to my inner child – you know – the one who likes to have fun. I will have plenty of time to be an adult starting next week when I’m back in school, and work is on fire. Until then, I am going to enjoy my weekend.

One of my girls’ favorite tapes to listen to when they were growing up was Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be and I especially liked this poem about housework.

Off to the woods now. Enjoy your day too!IMG_1477

 

 

Gardening Woes

Inspired by the beautiful green space surrounding me, I decided to put more effort into my gardening this year.


I even bought a fancy rain barrel.

IMG_2358The good news is that the barrel filled up right away, but the not so good news is that we had rain almost every day this summer which helped my lettuce sprout up quickly only to be gobbled up by nearby bunnies or some other type of critter. Or possibly the possum that crawled up under my deck and died, leaving a terrible stench, may have had an anaphylactic reaction to all the cabbage he consumed (do possums eat cabbage?).

As the summer has progressed, my results have been mixed.

Meanwhile, at my childhood buddy’s house the plants are flourishing and hummingbirds flutter about feasting on her flower’s nectar.

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And the dog is living the life too….

IMG_1493I guess I need to face the fact that gardening isn’t my forte. Gardens need lots of attention of which I am of short supply these days.

This fall I think I’ll try planting some mums, and if that doesn’t work, there is always next year.

Brain boosters and tonics

As my dad grows older, he seems to be recalling more and more bits of his childhood, and I love hearing his stories. Today when I was telling him how sick I’d been and lamenting about how there wasn’t any real medicine for this viral illness, he asked me if I had read about that memory enhancing supplement everyone in Hollywood is using. He just read an article that said it may lead to George Clooney’s divorce, because his wife is fed up with him using it. Apparently poor George was struggling to remember his most recent 200 page script and can’t seem to get by without this miracle potion.

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I asked my dad how many miracle drug fads he has heard about in his lifetime and reminded him of all those housewives who got hooked on diet pills (aka speed) because they thought it was boosting their energy.

Dad: “Yeah, I remember when I was a kid there was something called Hadacol that everyone was taking cause it was supposed to be good for their health. Turns out it was mostly alcohol.”

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He continued: “I’ll never forget the day I came home from school and the maid was laid out on the floor, with the ironing board on top of her. I helped her up, and when she started ironing again she fell right back down.”

Me, laughing: “Oh my, what was that about?”

Dad: “I asked her about the bottle of Hadacol on the counter, and she replied, slurring her words, ‘tha’s ma tonic’. I called my mother and she told me to send her home for the day”.

I smiled as I envisioned this scenario, with his stern mother at the other end of the phone line, and shuddered to think about what the maid would have to face when she returned to work the next day.

Dad: “People used to say it got its name Hadacol cause they “had to call” it something”

As far as the new craze towards using these brain enhancing supplements, I will take a pass.  Given my genetic make-up, I don’t feel the need to experiment with my brain chemistry. As much as I’d like to jump on the band-wagon in the quest to get smarter and improve my memory, I take a cautionary stance on these quick fixes. There could be a good reason that nature is slowing me down, and that’s ok with me.

I don’t need to be a hamster on a wheel for the rest of my life. At some point I think it is ok to take it down a notch and start smelling the roses along the way. I can still remain active and productive without having to be like a 20-year-old. I’ll just step aside and let them feel the burn for awhile. 

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