Expect To Fall

I've had this post rattling around in my head for a while and I've gotta get it out before the snow melts completely and it's totally irrelevant. And, boy, if that doesn't get you excited to read this, I don't know what will. I know I talk about failing a lot — hey, write what you know, right? — but I think it's an important part of life we're told to avoid at all costs. There are bigger mountains to climb, so brush the dirt off your pants and get back up, slugger. Only success really counts anyway.

But what about that Edison story? The one where he just found 10,000 ways the light bulb wouldn't work? It's a great story, isn't it? He tries and he tries, and then he succeeds. And that's what we're always left with when we get that story. That eventually, we'll succeed.

And that doesn't help at all when we're flat on our backs, staring up at the sky, wondering how we fell. The wind's been sucked from our lungs and there's a ringing in our ears from when our heads hit the ground, and people want to tell us that eventually we'll succeed? How dare they. Success doesn't matter when we can't think of how we'll possibly even stand back up.

And that's where the winter weather comes in to my tale. I've spent every year of my life in a place that experiences frigid temperatures and treacherous walkways. And every year, without fail, I fall on my back and bruise it along with my ego.

A while back, I came up with this strategy. If I planned to fall at some point, I could laugh it off. Say "hey, that's winter" and move on. Mark it off on a tally of having fallen every winter of my life consistently. I don't really have that tally written down anywhere, but it's definitely up to as many years as I can remember in a row.

I'm just unwilling to take this approach anywhere else. If I'm writing something, I'd sure better get it right on the first try or I'll make myself feel bad for the rest of the day. If I don't get an interview from the first job application I send out — or the first 200 — I don't want to send out anymore. If life beats me one day, I'll sure let it get me the next.

Why can't I realize that I'm going to fail? Absolutely, without a doubt, I will mess up. First drafts will always be terrible. Hundreds of job applications will be ignored. Life's going to do whatever it takes to kick me down the stairs and laugh at me as I bounce off of each step.

And then when I hit the bottom, and I'm on my back staring up at the stars, the ice that took me down beneath me, I have a really simple choice. I can either stay here, right in this spot forever, or I can get up knowing full well another batch of winter is coming along eventually to take my feet out from under me again.

And I've got to tell you, even though falling hurts, getting up feels good every time.