When I was about ten years old, I remember wanting to fly this new kite I had gotten for my birthday. I lived in the country, so we had this super huge backyard - plenty of room for kite-flying. It wasn’t a particularly windy day, and I was inexperienced with a kite at best, but I trekked to the far end of the yard, raised the kite in one hand over my head, and took off running.

Luck was with me in that moment and the kite took to the air. I fed it some line and kept running. It was soaring higher, but threatening to fall, so I gave it my all, crossing from our yard to our driveway.

And in hitting a patch of gravel, I fell. Shit. The kite fluttered down from the sky as I slowly sat up and tried not to cry. There was blood streaming where I had lost little chunks of my legs to the ground and my arm was already starting to get black and blue. My mom, who had been watching at the window, came running outside to see if I was alright. I was. Just bruised. Then she said something I’ll never forgot.

“Wow, you really had the kite going though. Good job!”

Good job. Good job? I was on the fucking ground, this was not a good job. This was crap. I stormed into the house, threw my kite in the basement where it could get eaten by giant spiders for all I cared, and grumped my way through the rest of the afternoon. By that evening, I was coloring or playing with play dough or something and fine again, but for a long while after my kite fiasco, I was a regular sourpuss.

Humph. Good job.

Today, I am a failure in a number of other ways, (though my inability to ever learn to fly a kite well still pisses me off a little). I’ve failed with client projects. I’ve failed with blogs. I’ve failed in my personal life too, of course, but when it comes to career failure, that really stings. It’s easy to say, “there are other fish in the sea” or whatever, but a career failure seems somehow more important, more final, more of an indication of not being smart enough. I’ve failed. So many times.

The other day, I met someone at random who had never failed. Well, not really. From time to time, I check out an online dating site (yeah, yeah, I know, biggest loser ever, whatever), and he had happened to send me an email. He had gone to school for history, then got a job working at a local restaurant and had been there ever since. He didn’t hate it. He didn’t love it. He just went to work and did his job.

Thank god I am a failure. Failure means that I’m doing something. Sure, those things haven’t worked, but for every failure in my life, there are also successes. I could get a job waitressing and probably not hate it, just like this guy. If I did that, I wouldn’t fail anymore.

But I certainly wouldn’t succeed either.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with his life choice. If he wants to work at that place for the rest of his life, that’s ok. But unless he’s willing to fail, he’s never going to be successful. He’s going to be “meh.”

Life is about more than meh, at least in my opinion.

When I’m 103 years old in the nursing home, pinching the asses of the cute male nurses who give me my sponge bath, I want to look back over my life and see a string of failures. I hope I see a string of successes too, but that’s beside the point. Failures mean that I tried. Failures mean that I did my best. Failures mean that I didn’t just sit by and watch the world happen around me, that I actually did something about it.

Failures suck. But meh is worse.

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