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December 1, 2010 / justerik

The joys of failure

November may have been the greatest month of failure for me, ever. And, in a way, I’m super happy about that.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have preferred success – and I even managed some. But this month is a month of failure because it has been a month of ambition. I’m not used to ambition, or at least not used to having the balls to follow through on it, so that in and of itself is an accomplishment.

The first thing that I attempted and failed at was National Novel Writing Month – a writing “contest” where players attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Writing and I have had a contentious relationship over the years and the sheer size of the task has always been too daunting for me even to try it. But try it this year I did, and while I came nowhere near close, I have 15,000 words I didn’t have before, and learned more about writing than I ever have at once. I’m still kinda fond of the book that almost was, and might try to knock the rest of it out in December. One of the reasons I didn’t finish the book was because of –

The Visit, a play I did with The Little Theatre Of Alexandria. As you can tell by the linked review both the show itself and my performance were a mixed bag. The production was, quite simply, cursed. Multiple things went wrong with regard to casting the show and keeping it limping along, and I myself was brought in with only a week to rehearse before we opened, and I had five (yep, five) roles in the show. It’s not a performance I’m really proud of, but I jumped into the show at the last minute and made a showing of it, which is the kind of foolish bravery that I admire in others.

Undermining my energy during performances and contributing to overall exhaustion, I also worked through 4 weeks of the Couch to 5k. This isn’t so much a failure as an ongoing project. I slowed down around Thanksgiving and due to rain, but I’ve pretty much kept to it. In fact, today I did my first uninterrupted 20 minute run despite the rain and the bone chilling wind. I used to hate people who loved exercise because I always suspected they were lying, and judging me for sitting on my butt. I don’t know about the judgey bit, but I’ve become one of those people, and I’ve managed to avoid too much self loathing. A win!

A second, qualified win – I have taken a new job with the AAMC. I still don’t start work for another week and a half or so, but the interview process and the offer came during November, so I’m marking it in that month’s column. Who knows if this will work out in the long term, but even in the short term it gives me a path to real health care and fiscal solvency. I don’t know how I’m going to handle getting up in the morning – this will be my first real person job basically ever – but I’ll try my darnedest. I may learn to use coffee as a stimulant after all.

Comparing where I am now with where I was this time last year, or the year before that, I am made aware of a long arc that marks my attempts to get on my feet. And not on my feet again, but for the first time – I have deferred adulthood for a decade now, and I intend to prolong it further if possible, but with a little more sophistication. Next year I hope to be talking about failure again. I have always and will always fail. But this new thing will be to fail at new things, rather than the same things over and over, and to, perhaps, turn a few failures into qualified successes.

Who knows. I might even cease to be such a whiny ass by the time I’m 35 or so.

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