Failure is Always an Option


IMG_0071Yesterday I tried to bake a cake. Not for any particular reason; just because I don’t think I’ve ever baked a layer cake before.

It did not go well.

Both layers were gently slanted, as I placed them too close to the front of the oven. When the toothpick (bamboo skewer) came out clean, I let them cool for a bit, and when it came time to turn them out on my makeshift cooling rack, one of the layers stuck to the pan, leaving a chocolate crater. I patted the hunk back into place, and hoped for the best.

I left the other in the pan longer, and it came out, a little begrudgingly, but it came out.

Ah, but that first layer. It then stuck to the rack, falling apart into boulders of, I’m honest, not terribly good cake.

For that I blame the recipe. I followed it exactly. I’m pretty sure.

I thought I could make cake pops, which I see all the time as recipe suggestions, as the frosting turned out well. And then I figured, ah, to heck with it.

Into the trash it went.

It was, in all, a rather spectacular failure. Would it have worked if I’d just made cupcakes? Probably, though I still wouldn’t have loved the cake itself.

But the point was the trying. It’s OK to fail, even if it means digging chocolate crumbs out of the burners of you stove. It’s OK to fail, even if it means laughing at yourself as you carry handfuls of broken cake across the kitchen.

It’s OK to fail.

The point is the trying.

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The Nature of Failure


We all fail. In big ways, in small ways. We probably fail a little bit every day: items left unchecked on the to-do list; a dishwasher unemptied; running late even when we swore we’d be on time.

It’s a regular, run-of-the-mill occurrence. So why does it seem to count more than anything else?

When we fail, especially when we fail in a big, inescapable, unmistakable way, it seems to cut the light around anything else, creating a huge spotlight we think everyone else can see, we think everyone else can’t help but see.

We can’t win all the time, can we? Perhaps we’re lucky if we win even some of the time. Life is like an endless carnival with strings of booths packed with giant teddy bears. Everyone wants a giant teddy bear. There they are, seemingly for the taking.

But not everyone gets one. Sometimes we get the small inflatable unicorn. It’s not a giant teddy bear, but you know what? It’s not bad. And sometimes you throw your rings at the bottles and you don’t hook a single one.

What do you do? You can keep trying until you get it, or you can move on to the next booth. Lamenting the teddy bear isn’t going to get you any closer to it.

Failure is a part of trying. Whether you keep trying or move on to something else, well, only you can decide.

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