Why We’re Incapable Of Making Mistakes

Of late, it seems that many of my friends have become bogged down by the fear of making mistakes. Perhaps it is because we are coming to the end of another year. This always seems to give us reflection, doesn’t it? What did I do this year? What did I not do this year? How can I improve next year?

Frankly, I love dispensing advice. It’s probably a good thing I’m not a mother, because I can just see how that would play out. It’s far better to share my thoughts with those who will actually appreciate it.

Here’s my honest belief – we don’t make mistakes.

Allow me to get freaky for a second as I delve a bit deeper.

I think that every person comes into this world with a list of lessons that they are to learn. Every incident that they encounter, every “mistake” or “misstep” pushes them toward a deeper self-awareness.

I also believe that because we have these lessons to learn, the “end” of our lives comes once we’ve learned those lessons. So we can float along in life taking it as it comes, or we can have a crazy, wonderful time – but at the end of it, we’ll somehow have learned the same things, made peace with the same conclusions. We’ll have the same wishes and regrets, the same joys and sorrows. You’ll wonder about the life you didn’t live – but don’t lose faith, my friends, for it was not the life meant for your journey this time around.

People ask me how this can be. After all, children leave this earth often, don’t they? Babies, even. People are raped, murdered, live in horrible poverty, lose both parents at too young an age, there’s cancer and AIDS and hepatitis and mental illness and a slew of other things that can go wrong. People are shot or killed in car accidents or freak accidents and it seems as if they leave us so suddenly. How did they earn such fates, such…lessons, as I call them?

I don’t know. I’m not saying my view is right. For some people it’s probably naïve – stupid, even.

That’s okay.

I just know that since I’ve adopted this viewpoint, I’ve flung myself into life whereas before, I was pretty damn cautious. I find that I’m living, not in fear of screwing up but in the joy of learning and pushing boundaries. It’s almost like I gave myself permission to stop being such a priss.

And it’s wonderful.

Do you have a view on life that others might find weird? Share it in the comments below.

Tweaking Versus Big Change

It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern. In fact, I find that one of the hardest things in life to break is a routine. Think about it. Routine is the order in which you get ready in the morning. The route you take to work. The way you walk through the grocery store.

These are little things that almost never change – and they make up a lifetime.

That’s because, the older we get the harder it becomes to break routine.

Did you know that one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is continuous change?

I find that it is when we get stuck in the day-to-day way of doing things that we start to feel like our lives are mundane or they’re simply passing us by. Be it due to fear or an unwillingness to change, or some other big reason – we become a spectator in our own life.

And yet, we’re still hoping that something extraordinary will happen to us.

Will happen. TO us.

We’re passive. Accommodating. Floating along, and believing that things will play out how they’re supposed to.

We wish it – but what do we do during our life to accommodate that wish?

The answer? Not much. We’re too stuck in our routines. We’re overly distracted by what we need to do to survive. How much we need to work to pay the bills. How many social activities we have this week. How we can’t miss practice.

Before we know it, we’re sixty, watching our kids graduate, wondering where the hell the time has gone.

But being sixty or seventy or eighty doesn’t mean it’s too late to shake up your life.

It’s just a change in routine.

And it’s that change of routine – that big, scary change of which you don’t know the outcome – that feeds us. Sure you can make little tweaks in your existing routine. Cram in a yoga class or a vacation into your life where it fits. But those small tweaks won’t result in big changes. They won’t bring about that big experience or event – at least, not in a timely manner.

What will allow you to make the great strides is big change.

Quit trying to stuff small changes into your current routine.

Shake up your routine. Change it. Try it out. Change it again.

Or be on your deathbed, at any age, and wishing you hadn’t wasted life waiting for permission to live how you want.

It isn’t about luck. It’s about working and changing and growing and connecting.

It’s about trying one thing every day that scares you.

And it feels good.

Lining Up Stars

Do you ever feel like the universe is just lining up your stars?

I’ve always thought that there is something bigger at work. I’ve never believed that Earth is the only life-sustaining planet. I’ve always believed in coincidences. There just seem to be too many of them in my life.

A few months ago, I decided to begin journaling again. Frankly, it goes better some weeks than others. I write so often in other ways that sometimes, when sitting in front of a journal, my mind is blank. I try to accept this as part of my offering to the world – that there are days I have nothing to offer my journal thought-wise. If I’m at a total loss, I do always try to write down what I’m grateful for. I often forget to write things down because I’m grateful for so many of them.

I think that when you’re grateful for things, more things that you can be grateful for start to come along. Here’s the thing: I try to always be grateful, even for the bad stuff. I get into a fender-bender: I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. I get stopped at every single red light: I’m grateful for more time listening to my favorite band. I injure myself when running, I’m grateful that I have the ability to run again after I’ve healed.

When I was younger, it was harder. There were days I didn’t have enough money to buy more for groceries than three packs of Ramen for a dollar which had to last me a week. I was grateful that I at least had enough to cover rent and gas to my low wage job.

When I do this, I feel as though the universe is more inclined to line up better opportunities for me. Crazy?

What do you believe?

Leaders are Born…or Made?

The old saying goes that great leaders are born, not made.

What. A. Crock.

Needless to say, I completely disagree.

See, I was not born a leader. There was not, for nearly 29 years, a single bone in my body that ached – even a little – to lead others.

Not that I wanted to follow, per se. Though that’s often what we find to be the easiest path, isn’t it?

You follow. You work for others. You concede to your friends and family. You smile. You hide your quirks.

I was a follower for many years. This included the first two years of running my own business. I allowed my ideas to be stolen and steamrolled, my schedule to be determined by the client, my limitations to be tugged and poked and prodded until I stepped into unfamiliar, unwelcome territories.

That last one was when I finally said “enough is enough.” Not that I’m against learning or change. I’m all for being shoved out of the nest. I’m not a fan of being shoved off the cliff.

Something occurred to me: I work for no one but myself.

Suddenly, it was like all of these doors swung wide open. I don’t rely on my clients, my clients rely on me. Sure the money that they send me is great. It pays my bills. But no invoice amount is worth my sanity. I can find another client. I can find another job. I can do something that makes me happy, not crazy.

So I fired a bunch of people. I’d never fired anyone in my life. I didn’t know how. I poured over books and blogs and how to manuals. Nothing I read made me less uncomfortable about what I had to do.

That’s the thing I’m realizing about being a leader as I find myself warming to the role.

I might be uncomfortable firing people or interviewing potential clients or asking for someone to pay their damn invoice, but at the end of the day, I’m all I’ve got. I am…a leader. And I wasn’t born this way. I made myself.

Perspective

My route was supposed to be PDX>PHX>OMA.

My route became PDX>TUS>DFW>OMA. Also, please add nearly 7 hours to that PDX>TUS flight (stuck on the plane, that is, in turbulent air and then on a tarmac) AND an overnight in TUS. And a rude gate agent last night. Look, guy. I know you’re stuck here longer than your original shift was supposed to be, but sir, I’ve been trapped on a plane for nearly 7 hours and I’m a 22 hour drive from home and I’m stuck in Arizona. AND I’m smiling at you and being much kinder than about 95% of the others in line. So…check the attitude, maybe. I didn’t say it, but I was thinking it – he had to see it in my eyes and hear it in my kind, strained voice. Right?

Frankly, I was pissed. However, I realized a few things at the airport (where everything was shut down, I might add.)
A) I was hungry. When I am hungry, I am totally, completely unreasonable.
B) I was tired. Mentally, not physically, but still.
C) I was stuck.

I woke up this morning wanting to write about perspective or “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.”

Life really is what you make it. Being that C was inevitable, I made the best of the situation. The airline didn’t want to give me vouchers for hotel (despite the fact that I had 13 hours prior to my next flight) nor did they want to give me food vouchers (despite the fact that I’d been on a plane from 11:25 AM to 6:30 PM AND was stuck in an unknown city until 8:45 the next morning). Jerks? Yes. We’ll be chatting after I’ve cooled off a bit more.

BUT

There was a time when I wouldn’t have had the $ to do something about this situation. That I would have been stuck, hungry, and tired – at the mercy of the airline. That’s no longer the case. I was able to pull together enough for a motel and some dinner. Perspective. I was traveling over a weekend and didn’t have to worry about missing work. Perspective. I’m a freelancer and my job is mobile. Perspective. I’m safe, I’m alive, I have a wonderful boyfriend who picked up the dogs from the boarder so I didn’t have to pay an extra day. Perspective.

Here’s what I’ve learned: All that negative crap that comes at you? Let it go. It’s not worth ruining a day, making a bad memory of an otherwise great trip, etc. etc. etc. Being mad? Being rude? Being frustrated? Boring. Expected.

Why not do something unexpected and make the most of an unfortunate circumstance? I found a really good restaurant. They had really good local beer. I got to sleep in a king sized bed. I got a bathtub – that’s a luxury I don’t have in my home and it was thrilling to relax in a big old bubble bath.

Even when it’s difficult, find the good in a situation. Don’t let that anger, that frustration, pull you down.

You Love Who You Love (Who You Love)

Okay, it’s confession time. I have fallen in love with the documentary “Bridegroom.” It’s truly terrible, what happens to this young, vibrant couple. And yet, it’s strangely beautiful to watch what becomes of it. I was raised to believe that we’re all different – and that, that is what makes us alike.

How I could relate (but not really)…

Growing up in a midwestern town, it’s easy to see the prejudices people hold deep inside themselves like a secret – even though it’s written all over their faces. When they see an interracial couple, a gay couple, a couple that is somehow different than what they themselves are. And in some ways, I suppose, I was aware of it, though I never really GOT it.

Being that my parents didn’t care what kind of person I dated as long as they were good to me, I’ve been happy to meet and date white men, black men, asian men and, yes, even men that were gay before admitting as much to me or to anyone else.

There was the occasional whisper – when you’d walk into a restaurant or a bar in a smaller town with someone whose skin is a different color than yours, holding hands with them. However, it never led to anything major: no giant brawls, no splitting of families, no radical changes that swept the planet. Life went on. Haters hated. After all, we can’t change the color of our skin, nor can we decide who to love – in a moment or over a lifetime. The heart is…well. Useless to reason with, for one thing.

And this prejudice? It is the closest I’ve ever been to the deeply rooted hatred that some people carry. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t earth shattering for me- it didn’t change things because there was never a large enough event that occurred crying out for change. I was never threatened or beat up or screamed at. It all just…was.

Which brings me to…

I’m straight. I didn’t choose to be straight, I just am. Like…I am a dog lover and I am a writer and I am from the midwest.

Being a certain sexuality – it’s not a choice we’re given upon birth. It’s just who we are. It simply guts me to know that there still exists those who feel that being homosexual is a choice. I can’t imagine ever choosing to live through the hatred or the fear or the unfairness. Can you?

My hope is that one day, my grandchild or my great grandchild will be interviewing me for a school project about equality. And, at that time, I’ll have to tell them about when I was young – when a man and a man or a woman and a woman getting married wasn’t legal. And they’ll laugh and tell me how ridiculous that must have been and I’ll whole-heartedly agree.

That’s because it is ridiculous. You love who you love. And love is stronger than hate – it just is. Haven’t witnessed it yet? You will. One day.

Shane Bitney Crone, you are an amazing man. Keep fighting the good fight – I am with you 100%.

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Grabbing Life by the Ba- urm- Horns!

Well, if you hadn’t head through Facebook, I have become the very person I used to be jealous of. Yes, I quit my 40 hour a week job and have revved into full gear as a (remote) freelance writer/social media specialist for Curly Q Media (and part time server in downtown and Zirtual Assistant.) 28. Up to my ears in student loan debts. No 401(k), no benefits (unless I buy them) and no bi-weekly paycheck with my taxes neatly pulled courtesy of Human Resources. Some people would say that I was stupid– frankly, I can’t really argue that fact. I have no business background, I was making stupid money for an easy job (where I was very unhappy) and I have an iron clad lease for which I owe rent through February. Oh, I also have a long distance relationship- we fly about 2000 miles each way once a month- gets pricey. It’s enough to make you vomit a little in your mouth- actually; I did when I reread all of this.
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