Failure is the New Success

I am ready to erase regret from my life, my conversations, heck, from my vocabulary. The only time I want it to enter my consciousness at all is when I’m thinking “Holy crap! I have NO regrets at ALL.”

This resolve is a long time coming. It’s been building inside and was definitely sparked by our decision to quit our jobs in March and travel through Europe in April and May. (Details: blog / vlog) The fact is that most people wouldn’t do what we’re going to do. They wouldn’t take the risks financially, or even physically. The El Camino is no joke. But I liked to think that I never wanted to be “most people.”

But I had found myself looking at other people’s lives. I was reading about amazing women achieving their dreams, setting goals and meeting them, surpassing their own expectations. I was happy for them and rejoiced with them. But I was finding myself mopey and self-pitying at the same time because I wasn’t “most people.” I put myself in this situation by doing exactly nothing.

I was getting sucked into watching other’s lives unfold and reading other’s stories instead of creating my own. I also realized that I had begun perfecting that awful art of comparing myself to others —something I often despise when I see it in other people, but was fostering within myself. I felt my regrets piling up on top of me, making it impossible for me to move. I was regretting that I wasn’t living my life as myself. I was watching people I admire and wishing I were someone else.

So when Kenny and I were discussing skipping our trip because things might not be easy when we came back, I decided that I didn’t care about what other people would do or the decisions they would make for their lives. I’m not living anyone else’s life. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s time or achievements or adventures. I just knew I couldn’t add one more regret to the growing pile I’d stocked and hoarded.

One reason I had so many regrets was because I was ultimately afraid of failure. I’ve always had this insecurity that I wouldn’t make anything of myself, wouldn’t be who I wanted to be, would always have this empty feeling of loss when I glanced around at what I’d built out of my life. But that’s stupid. So I decided that instead of making success my goal, I would allow failure to become a viable option. When you fail, it means you have tried something, you have participated in your life, and you have attempted to change. And that makes all the difference.

The effort is worth something. And failure is worlds better than regret. So I am welcoming failure into my life and shoving regret out the door and using the deadbolt. Oh, and I’m not shunning success, either. ;)
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