January 23, 2008

You Win Some, You Lose Some

"My life should be unique; it should be an alms, a battle, a conquest, a medicine" - R.W. Emerson, Self Reliance

***Forgive the hippie dippie rant that I'm about to go on -- but I started writing and this is what came out. I guess sometimes you gotta unleash your inner hippie :)

I've gone and done something stupid. I mean like bonehead, dunce cap stupid and I hate the way it feels. It's nothing life altering, and it's not hurting anyone -- but I have lost something that is crucial to my job -- and I'm currently unsure of the consequences. Oddly enough, I found that I'm approaching this situation much like I would have as a child. When I was young, whenever I misbeahaved I confessed, prefering the swiftness of disappointment and punishment over the guilt and agony of waiting to be discovered. As a teen, however, I was the exact opposite -- I'd make poor decisions and try to sleep them off, pretending they didn't exist or have long lasting consequences. Last night, after realizing my mistep earlier in the day, I had a hard time sleeping. One night was enough. This morning I went into work and had a conversation with my manager about it. He wants to "give it a day to see if it turns up" but I assure you it's not the type of item to just turn up. It's gone, and I'm left to be feel disappointed at my carelessness. As I was sitting here and reflecting about it this morning though, the situation also made me feel pretty good.

I'm proud that I'm not really afraid of the consequences. At almost 30, I've finally come to realize that I can look at just about any crappy situation and deal with it-- even if I'm the cause of it. I know how to admit my mistakes, and take responsibilty gracefully, even when I'm at a loss for excuses. For the most part I have left those "avoider" tendencies of my adolesence behind, and shedding this habit has become empowering. For me, the evolution came over a period of time. Anyone who has ever experienced a major loss (for me it was my father dying at the age of 19) can tell you what a gripping black hole that feeling is. I don't care if it's a relative dying, or a relationship ending, the feeling of loss in any context is always a shocking suffocation. It's the Universe knocking the wind out of you, showing you who's boss, and reminding you that even when things feel stable they never really are. I definitely don't wish that on anyone.

But honestly the gift of all of that -- for me and for anyone else who has experienced it -- is that I've learned how to navigate that black hole, and ultimately find a way out of that. I'm not saying I could draw you a map, nor am I dying to have that experience again, but now that I've been through it, I know that there is a capability inside me that lends itself to a fearlessness that I didn't have at the age of 18 or 20. It's one of those things that comforts me when I'm freaked out about situations in my life, or when I feel directionless.

So I lost something. Awesome! Was it stupidity on my part? Absolutely! But in the end, the courage that I've found to deal with my losses or my shortcomings, and the relief that it gives on a day to day basis is something I can at least hold on to in order to steady my voice when I have to fess up....

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