The Nature of Failure

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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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Philosophy of Nail Polish

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So for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago (hi friend! She’s a regular reader of this blog) we went to a spa, and I got a manicure. I haven’t had a manicure in I don’t know how long, given that the only thing I think about my nails is whether they’re starting to get to that annoying length where they get to the keys on the keyboard before my fingers.

I loved the painted nails. They were an opaque, pale green.

When I’d get them done before, I’d always stick to the light shades of pink, nothing too noticeable, something professional. And then it struck me that I didn’t have to do that anymore. I could pick any color and run.

After the polish chipped away, as it always does (I’m not really up for the no-chip manicure, given the removal process) I missed the color. So I went to one of my favorite spots on the planet, my neighborhood Walgreens, and picked some out. A different shade of green; a bright, light shade of blue. And I painted them myself.

I don’t think I have a future in nails.

But it showed me that I’ve been clinging to rules that no longer apply. And that’s it: when things change, so can you.

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