Failure is a funny thing.
I failed a lot in 2018, that’s what I came to realize in the final days of the year last week.
Before proceeding forward I recognize there are some who might feel I’m being too hard on myself or something to the like. Reality is, in my case at least, that’s a cop out – I’m being real.
I tell my children all the time, we learn more through failure than victory. That’s where I am today, choosing to take the failures of 2018 to claim victory through learning in the coming year.
In 2018, I fell into a once familiar habit which if being honest can be the thief of all joy. Quite simply – I overextended myself and in so doing, not just one area of my life, but most areas of my life suffered.
The first and most glaring area of failure I experienced was by way of placing myself at the top of the list. It’s an irony that I find is important to own, as a girl who has preached the importance of this for the better part of the past sevenish years.
Geez, I’d become such a master of it, that there’s even designated column space for my mastery in our bi-monthly 209 Magazine. A space which has been used to elaborate on so many of these valuable life lessons, this one included.
I’d been in this place in my life before, creating excuses of “no time,” “tomorrow I’ll start,” and even just simply resolving to just stating I was on a break. The funny thing about a break is that it has a way of catching up to you.
To be quite frank, I’m at a point in my life when a break should be restricted to a day or two, maybe a week – definitely not months on hand.
As I type this, I recognize my physical appearance doesn’t appear drastically different than it did a year ago. The tricky thing about letting yourself slip from the priority position, however, is the domino effect it has. So as my physical state began to soften, certain areas of my life began to follow suit.
Quite honestly, I’m not a physiology major, nor have I studied any type of psychology, life is indeed my classroom. That’s what I love most about the ability to share these lessons here with readers. I’m just like every other mommy, waking up each day trying to make it all happen.
What I recognized however was something a tri-athlete friend shared when he was training for a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in Africa. When physically active, life just seems to fall into place easier. That little snippet of time we take to sweat a little, challenge our self physically and check out from the life crazy – things start to click.
Hence the reason I lead first with this failure. As I failed to make this all happen, other areas also began to slip. This may be the area where I get a bit hard on myself but if there are two things I always expect of myself it’s transparency and work ethic.
Suddenly the job I loved showing up for every day became well, gray. This February will mark the 19th year of showing up to this building to pen work for this publication. During the course of close to two decades we are now penning more work for more products with less staff than ever before.
The creative joy, literally began feeling robotic. One morning I even went as far to tell our editor I was beginning to feel like a word mill. It saddened me, as I looked to my notebook and simply typed through a fog versus my long lived passion.
The good news is this wasn’t every day and the work still manages to happen. But the funk, yeah the funk was real. The good fortune I live however of serving not only a gracious but supportive community was enough to keep these fingers buzzing and the smile front and center. But … It was hard.
By early November, I seemed to finally be recognizing what I’m openly sharing here. Fortunately I have a person who will listen to this rambling as I seem to struggle with the puzzle and how to fix it.
The funny thing about failure is not just the lessons, but recognition of the tribe you are surrounded by who encourage you to get back up. That’s what this moment is for me – it’s time to get back up. Failure does not have to equal permanence.
In my life experience, failure has more times than not equaled growth. It is a time to re-evaluate. It is a time to get real with ourselves and maybe a few friends. Failure is quite simply a time to dust off and begin again.
So as each of us journey into the 2019 year and bid adieu to this past one we’ve lived, take a moment from all that you “resolve” and learn from the failures. Sure, it’s great to set and achieve goals. It’s fun to know you’ve stayed committed to something you really wanted to achieve. But the lessons, the real life get honest moments for growth lie in the failures.
Here’s to more lessons, continued growth and an abundant year which knocks the socks off the one we have lived. Happy New Year.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.