Failure always seems personal. We recover and find our balance, but sometimes in the quiet times we’re reminded of what we’ve lost.

A few years ago, a documentary moved him so much that he became vegetarian, cold-turkey (no pun intended). A few years after that, I encouraged him to become pescatarian, as a compromise. He cares a lot about not being complicit and about avoiding GMOs, so he’s at it again. He’s trying to make us vegan! Help! (I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.) 

I failed out of law school almost 8 years ago. At the time, much of my identity was wrapped up in being smart and capable. I’d been an A student for most of my life and an A/B student at Rice. I’d aced my graduate courses at Northwestern and was offered scholarships to a few law schools. Leaving DePaul was devastating.

I could get over feeling inadequate and not feeling smart enough. Science confuses me, and my best friend is a doctor.

But what I couldn’t shake was the feeling that I wasn’t capable, and that perhaps, I would never actually be successful at anything again. The feeling was confirmed when I struggled to find full-time employment after grad school. It was confirmed when relationships failed and decade-long friendships suddenly died. It was confirmed whenever I’d miss a deadline, miss a family function, or fail at home-making. I don’t always feel capable.

But failing out of law school was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I was focused on the wrong, big, expensive failures. I hadn’t seen the small, seemingly insignificant ways that I was failing everyday. The subtle failures that create storms.

The best part about failure is that afterwards, there’s only up. There’s freedom to start again and to create something new.

In mid-December we gave up TV from Sunday-Thursday so we could focus on projects that we enjoy. He set goals for making art and creating videos about biking. I set writing goals and goals for learning Spanish.

He’s creating a coloring book, and I’m writing a children’s book. Progress is slow, but we’re motivated. I’ve failed at each goal, but I’m using this time to start over.

Week 4 Successes:

  • I learned so much about education policy here and abroad.
  • I’m learning more about food justice and food insecurity.
  • I’ve only watched TV 3 times in 1 month.
  • I’ve started reading again!

Week 4 Failures:

  • Essentially everything. No Duo Lingo since late December. I only write sporadically.
  • Unrelated: my car will die unless I get an oil change, stat.
  • I was only vegan for a weekend, and I’ve had at least 3 sodas this week.
  • A former colleague passed away, so I’ve been thinking more about death and dying. Not so much a failure, but a reminder that time is short.

How was your week?