I had an interesting thought yesterday:
I want to fail.
Of course, it’s not that I want to be a failure. Let me explain.
Here I am, in the Land of New: new people, new job, new community, new home, new state. New. I’ve admitted already that it’s overwhelming, and sometimes that word isn’t even strong enough for it. It’s daunting/humbling/troubling/exhausting/ occasionally exhilarating. Whatever else it is, though, this time in my life is a beginning, and there are all sorts of things to experience.
I have a choice, then, constantly, about how I want to engage with this world I now inhabit. Every time I meet someone, for example, I can be someone totally new, or I can be the old me, or I can be half that and half something else. No one is keeping tabs; with most people, I could make up a life story that has nothing to do with my own, and they would believe it. It’s a strange power.
Of course, I see myself – the real me – emerging again and again in those conversations, but I’m still fascinated by what words I choose when introducing myself, by the stories I decide I will claim, even emphasize, in any given instance. How much of my life story do I give? How honest am I about my interests, my habits, my passions?
It varies from person to person, but every time I meet someone, I notice how I move towards or away from that person, and I am reminded of something I thought when I first moved here: It’s ok to be different. The words came as I drove across the country, letting my thoughts and emotions take flight. The words caught my attention, and I knew just what they meant. It’s ok to be different than I have been, if that’s what I want to do. It’s ok to not exercise as much as I have, or more; it’s ok to go out often, or not at all; it’s ok to read the newspaper on Sunday mornings, or to forget news almost entirely. It’s ok to take up piano, or to sing; it’s ok to walk, or to drive; it’s ok to be a vegetarian, or eat meat.
All of it is ok.
So yesterday, when I had this new idea – that I want to fail – it came with enthusiasm.
I want to fail because I want to extend myself. I want to try new things, and see what else of the world is out there for my hands, my mind, and my imagination. Who cares if I’m good at something or not? Isn’t my goal to try new things, to experience the world, to see what I can see and do what I can do?
Here’s what this looks like, to me. I live near the ocean for the first time in my life; I have to expect some bruises, if I’m jumping in with both feet, diving and surfing and who-knows-whatting. I want to try cooking seasonally, using what is available at my weekly farmer’s market; you can bet there will be some mishaps with vegetables that are unfamiliar. And I am motivated to create a garden; I know nothing about this climate and am sure that will bite me in the ass every now and again.
But those bruises, mishaps, and bites will surely tell me that I’ve expanded. And what is life, anyway, if not this grand and ridiculous experiment? At least I will know that I’ve embraced it, when my time here is done.