This words of this meme have been popping up all over the place the last few days. And I’ve seriously had to give these words consideration.
Would I write a book? Well, uh. Ummm. Ehrm. Tried this. Didn’t go so well. Life got uncomfortably in the way, so fail? Not sure but at some point I’ll try this again. Note to self: you do know this stuff, you can write, and quilt with the best of them.
Would I move to the big City and see a good life there. Did that. Life is good.
Would I take climb Mount St Helen or hike the Grand Canyon? Being the indoorsy person I am probably not. Mount St. Helen has already spewed hot, molten lava in my lifetime causing lots of problems. The Grand Canyon is deep and wide. Did I mention being the indoorsy type?
Run a marathon. I’ve actually given this some consideration, I do live in NY after all.
Of course being who I am I started giving consideration to what failure actually is, and what kind of role failure plays in our quilterly lives. Is failure not doing something, never attempting it? Or is failure something else entirely? Is failure permanent or is it a temporary place to regroup?
So my first book writing attempt wasn’t a failure, life intervened in ways never imagined when I set out on that journey. I can still do this however, at this moment I need to take care of some other immediate things. It’s still on the table, just slightly out of reach. I’m good with that at the moment.
I started thinking about a local inventor: Thomas Edison. Rumor has it that he made 1000 attempts at making the light bulb before it actually worked. Was it 1000 failures? Or are there 1000 ways to not make a light bulb and he had to try every single one of them? Since his invention we’ve been using the term “light bulb moment” to describe moments when things work well together and our goal is met. It’s kind of exciting, forget kind of, it’s really exciting when this happens. Kind of like yelling Eureka! when a vacuum cleaner sucks. . . well.
So what would I do if I couldn’t fail? Nothing. Really. I wouldn’t be doing anything. My quilt life, my life would be inert. I’d be going nowhere, on the couch, in the living room, watching television never taking a stitch.
Then I got to thinking – there is a perception that failure us shameful, always, and every single time. It’s not. Sometimes it takes trying something more than 1000 times to figure it out. Is it shameful to stop before that 1000th time? No. Is it failure? Maybe. That’s okay. “Failure” helps us build our character. Especially when we keep going. I’m still not going to climb Mount St Helen, hike the Grand Canyon or run a marathon. These things don’t speak to my heart.
So the original question is good, a better one might be, “what is that one thing to pursue with reckless abandon?”