I’ve always been scared of it, but realized now that I’m 40, I’ve reached the top level. Yup I’m close to Jedi Status on this one, but seeing how I still have blow ups and meltdowns, I can’t say I’ve reached the elite Zen level.
But I’m close.
I’ve become really close with it, my twenties and thirties were definitely times where failure and I became bosom buddies. And the truth is I hated failing. I didn’t look forward to that experience, or toward searching through the pain and heartache to learn the lesson that was hiding. No one does, really.
Failure is a hard thing to come back from, but I’ve realized I do a good job of it.
Relationships, family bonds, friendships, job interviews, career breaks, story writing, novel writing, article writing … I’ve had failure on every level, the most epic being parent failure as I feel that no matter how hard I try I seem to always fall short to some degree. There’s always some variation of failure staring at me by Friday night.
But the thing is I’ve learned to always get up and I don’t know if it stems from all the experience, or if it’s an inherent quality in my underdog mentality, but I first noticed it back in college when I saw a Meg Ryan flick.
Now, I don’t know if most of you are aware of Meg Ryan, but she was my 90s girl with films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and City of Angels. She took over where Molly Ringwald left off
She was my go-to chick flick, and it was because of her that I first realized … anything can go wrong. Anything and everything. It can, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for something like that.
I was reminded of this just recently when I saw my favorite Meg Ryan movie for like the thousandth time. French Kiss.
The thing is, I don’t think it was a blockbuster or made millions, in fact some people probably hated it. But for me it was such a great movie. It highlighted the fact that failure happens, even when you do everything right, it will happen to you. It will. Somewhere on your timeline failure will hit you and it’ll feel like you can’t breathe, that you can’t get up because the air has been knocked out of you, that the humiliation, embarrassment, anger, hurt, or sadness of it all won’t let you. The weight will be heavy.
Sometimes failure won’t hit you all at once, it’s peppered throughout a decade, other times it will all hit you in a week.
No matter how great a person you are, you will have a relationship that will fail and leave you listening to 80s love songs. You will break your straight A streak with a C+ in statistics and find yourself eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s just to get through it. You will be replaceable in a job where you thought you would never be forgotten. You will not get the job after that kickass interview. You will fall down, even when someone is not trying to trip you.
Yup I think Meg’s the reason why I realized I could get back up. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the story is about a woman who has her white-picket fence dream fall apart when her fiance leaves her, and she ends up flying to France to confront him. The story follows the physical and emotional adventure that happens because of this choice.
But best of all the film shows you someone whose world falls apart, the big things come crashing down, and then on top of that, the little things follow that same route. Failure rains down. It did on her and it does on us.
But she doesn’t give up.
Failure happened, it tore her apart and left her crying in some strange country but she kept going. She woke up and she kept going. Failure didn’t kill her, although it might have felt that way, but it didn’t. She got up and she kept trying.
I love watching this movie just to get that feeling, that sense that … dude you can get up after failure. You can and you should, because it’s probably going to happen again and you need to be standing when it does. The recovery is easier. But you still recover if you’re on the floor, just takes a little bit longer.