There’s a particular thought inside of me that is strong beyond measure. It hits me like hunger pangs from time to time, sometimes when I’m not even expecting it.
I can feel it coming when I’m being truly authentic, out in the world, acting silly and capricious…and honestly, just acting like my damn self. I can feel it as I swipe on dating apps, and envision myself with this guy or that. And I feel it gently squeeze my brain as I lay down to sleep at night after a long, but wonderful day.
I AM NOT DONE MAKING MISTAKES.
This goes without saying of course. We can’t live perfect lives, and we’re bound to mess up every now and again. Besides, failure equals progress, right? You have to “do” something so you can fail, learn, and try again.
But what I’m feeling, it’s a longing for those failures.
It’s something in me that hasn’t been there since I was a newly post-grad semi-professional, looking for a job. Going to interview after interview, and applying for jobs in a field that was competitive, and during a time that had no jobs, and in a city with over 2 and half million people. Jeepers.
I had countless leads to follow up with. And countless phone calls. Nothing could bring me down, though.
In my mind, this was a goal that could not be stifled. Getting my first big girl job in the city was going to happen no matter what. I saw it, I manifested it (before I even knew what that was), and no one could change my mind.
But all of that comes with a mental contract. You have to be willing to RISK. You have to be willing to fail and lose some battles…all in order to win the war.
As a recovering perfectionist, these moments in my life are beautiful little time capsules that remind me that my story wasn’t always written out so clearly.
Almost a decade ago, I would be preparing for interviews and memorizing my “What Color Is Your Parachute?” worksheet to try to remember what being me even was. To try to pump myself up that I was meant to do this. Meant to get a job. Meant to get what I wanted.
Somewhere along the way, however, it all became second nature. I landed the job in city. I never looked back. My job defined me, and my career path seemed clear. People sought me out to work for them. It all clicked.
Life was rather black and white.
But I made a promise to myself last year:
I will not live in the black and white any longer. I will live in the gray.
For me, living in the gray is multifaceted, yet embarrassingly simple. The key is…do not over think it.
Living in the gray is about changing for the better AND forgiving yourself as you make missteps along the way. It’s about letting more things go, but remembering it’s alright to get mad sometimes.
Using myself as an example (of course!), here is what I have found since living in the gray:
- As someone who has always been hard on myself (harder than anyone else), I have found myself letting go. Letting go of the impossible standards I set for myself, and guilt for not meeting them. Letting go of the strict and stringent code in my noggin. Letting go of “rules” I made up. And just being. My only new standards are to be in the gray. To remember not to be so rigid.
- I don’t limit myself anymore. I’m not defined by one label, or one way of thinking, or one group of friends, or even one guy to date. The gray version of me is a multi-faceted, multi-potentialite who is sometimes all over the place.
- People are going to be confused. They want to box you in to one thing or another, and it will befuddle them. Keep them confused. ; )
- My hair has been pink. Multiple times. This is not about having a quarter-life crisis and doing rebellious things. For me, dying my hair three or four times in the last year or so has been an artistic expression of who I am. Two of the instances in which I came out of the salon with pink all over weren’t even planned. They were decided on a whim. Something “old me” would find abhorrent.
- Some days suck. But the thing is…the whole day never sucks. When you focus on gratefulness, for all things, it never ever really comes crashing down. I had food poisoning last weekend, but was ultimately so grateful to take a beat, rest, and recharge. And no, I’m not just saying that. Life is complicated. Every day is complex and not one singular thing.
But above, all, living in the gray means I *get* to fail. I get to make mistakes. And it’s all still a part of the vision.
It’s all still the way it’s supposed to be.
It’s all leading me to success.
So I challenge you. Yes, seriously.
Ask yourself…are you done making mistakes?