Sometimes, I fail. And it’s totally okay.
As you may remember from a previous post, I committed myself to writing 2,000 words every day for this blog. Because that’s how empires are built, in my mind: 2,000 words at a time.
Today, I will probably fail at that. It is 11:54 pm, I am two beers deep, and I have written only what you’ve read so far. So technically, I will fail to hit my word count for the day.
Of course, I have a list of excuses for why I shouldn’t be held accountable for my failure. Yesterday, I discovered a leaking pipe outside my house, so I spent most of the day today trying to fix it. Of course, including the two trips to the hardware store (due to fuck ups – never use plumber’s putty), the task only took about two hours to complete. But it also included a hefty amount of feeling sorry for myself, worrying myself sick over how much my water bill will be for the month and how much I would have to pay a plumber come Monday, and being a little snippy with my boyfriend due to my stress levels.
So I burned a day doing something that was relatively simple. To spin it as a positive, I learned a necessary skill for every homeowner that will likely save me a lot of money, not only in the short-term, but also in the long run. Maybe I’ll never need to hire a plumber again (HAH!).
But I have about a minute left until midnight, and I’m at 260 words, so I have officially failed in following through with my goal.
What’s more, it’s only been two days since I committed myself to writing 2,000 words per day, so I failed really quickly. Even more quickly than I have given up previously.
To make matters worse, I openly acknowledged that I desperately needed to start writing about three hours ago. I told my boyfriend that I needed to write. I told him about my 2,000 word count goal. I walked over to my laptop, logged into my blog’s dashboard, and… picked a new theme for my blog.
And then my phone buzzed because one of my friends commented on something I’d posted on Facebook.
And then I reached out to her because I hadn’t talked to her in quite a while and I missed her and I wanted to tell her I was pursuing my real estate license again (she’s also an agent, and we previously worked under the same broker).
And then I drove to Sonic to buy myself an Oreo blast. And then I showered.
You get the idea. I had time. I didn’t forget. I wasted a lot of time.
And I failed.
So I’m saying, “Oops.”
I could justify it. The first day of my commitment, I wrote 3,500 words. Yesterday? I wrote 7,700 words. I could easily give myself permission to skip today altogether because I was technically ahead, right? If this were NaNoWriMo, I’d already be 1/5th of the way through on day 3 and have plenty of room for failure.
But I don’t want to justify it. I don’t want to tell myself it’s okay.
I want to say oops.
I want to admit that I fucked up and take responsibility for it. This was a commitment to myself, and in failing, I let myself down. I have to acknowledge that.
But I don’t have to beat myself up for it.
And I can take the opportunity to do my best to try and make it up to myself. Case in point: I’m still writing. I didn’t hit my 2,000 word goal (now yesterday), but I can still hit it before I go to sleep.
I can also go to sleep right now and leave the rest of this page blank. It makes no difference ultimately. Because in the end, I failed.
So I’m saying oops.
I’m saying oops and I’m not beating myself up. I’m not abandoning writing altogether because I slipped up. I’m not burning this blog to the ground or telling myself I’m awful or a failure or bad or unworthy of love (or whatever else it is you go for when you decide to self-flagellate).
When you fuck up, it’s okay to just say, “Oops.”
When you don’t hit the mark perfectly, it’s totally acceptable to acknowledge the facts of the situation without then tearing yourself a new one. You don’t have to change your opinion of yourself because of a fuck up.
You don’t have to abandon your plans because of a fuck up.
You don’t have to do anything because of a fuck up. Except say oops.
So let’s make this bigger.
If you’ve been reading, you know I filed for bankruptcy when I was 27.
For a long time, I beat myself up a lot because of it.
Immediately preceding my filing, I blamed a lot of stupid things for my bankruptcy. My favorite thing to pinpoint was the amount of time I’d spent watching The Vampire Diaries instead of working.
“If only I hadn’t binge-watched so many episodes,” I’d reasoned, “I would have been fine.”
Is that true?
Did I really do that much damage to my finances by watching Netflix a little too much?
I fucked myself up by moving to a new city with an excessive amount of debt, no savings, no income, and no plan to speak of.
And I still rage about that logic a little bit because I’ve spent the last two years terrified of the idea of ever working for myself again because “look at how it ended the last time.”
But the thing is, when I was self-employed, I was probably making about the same amount every month as I am now. If I’d stuck with what I was doing at the time and focused enough to build on it, I’d probably be earning significantly more than I earn in my day job.
But I let me blame the wrong shit – enjoying a really good TV show – for my entire financial ruin when, to be frank, I’d set myself up for failure from the get-go.
So today, I’m saying oops.
Not because I’m sincerely worried about my own temporary feelings about myself or because I think that we should always keep positive.
But because I don’t want to misdirect my attention toward things that are, frankly, irrelevant.
Missing my word count for the day doesn’t spell disaster.
Having chosen to become a real estate agent while we’re still waiting to see where coronavirus is going to take the world may spell disaster.
Having chosen to invest in a vacation rental property at this particular time may spell disaster.
Pursuing self-employment immediately after buying a house and while still being in a new relationship may spell disaster.
But today’s failure? It certainly won’t.
So learn to say oops. Not because of the complete lack of sense in beating yourself up over something you can’t change (although this is also true – beating myself up for my missed word count won’t help me increase my word count). Not because we should spend more time thinking positively (although most of us should).
But because anything you’re beating yourself up for is pretty likely to prove itself to be completely irrelevant as soon as the next major failure comes along.
Don’t pay attention to your minor missteps.
Don’t worry about not making it to the gym today.
Don’t worry about going over your calorie count by one slice of cake.
Don’t worry about watching one too many episodes of Dead to Me instead of doing your homework.
Don’t worry about only investing $5,600 out of your $6,000 IRA contribution limit for the year.
You can’t do anything about any of those things now, anyways.
Instead, worry about continuing to work for a boss who verbally abuses you every day.
Worry about not knowing what your calorie count should be at in the first place.
Worry about how you’ve taken out $30,000 in student loans but still haven’t picked your major.
Get the big things in order. Avoid the major failures. Avoid the major fuck-ups. Lay a strong foundation for yourself.
If you can take care of the big things, the rest will fall into place, even if it’s a little messy (it’s always going to be a little messy).
The Pareto Principle tells us that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts.
So worry about the 20%. Fuck the 80%. The 80% is where you accomplish your goals one step at a time. So if you miss a day, you want to know how far behind you are? One day.
What’s one day when you’re on a journey that’s going to last a lifetime?
You know what’s a hell of a lot more important than one day of progress?
How you feel about yourself.
So it’s 12:30 am, I’m at 1,473 words for the day (and hitting 2,000 wouldn’t count anyways, as we established – I wanted to give myself permission to remain a fuck up when I started this endeavor because as we know beer heals all wounds), and now I’m going to wrap this post up because my boyfriend is in bed and cuddling him sounds nicer than tapping away on my laptop.
I’m going to say oops.
I missed my word count today. I fucked up.
And that’s okay. I’ll try again tomorrow, after I edit the nonsense that is likely to be this post (most of my posts are nonsense even after editing, aren’t they?).
I still think I’m cool.
If you think I’m cool, too, consider subscribing to this blog so you can see more of my shit. Also leave a comment down below if you need to say “oops” about something you did (or didn’t do) today.