Failure is in the Eye of the Beholder

I’m late, so you think. I promised you a weekly post this year and I’ve already neglected to provide you last week’s story. Last weekend was a busy traveling hockey weekend for my son and me, but nevertheless you think that’s no excuse for having failed you. The old me would have agreed with you. The new me says, that’s bull.

By my nature, I’m a very task oriented person. I don’t let go until the job is done. Several years ago, I started a 365 Photo Project with the goal of publishing a new photo each day of the year. By March, my joy in taking photographs turned into a miserable experience. With only eight miles between home and work, there just wasn’t enough interesting and inspiring photos to take on my daily commute. The year-long project I had envisioned only lasted for three months.  I still can’t crack a smile when I look at the photos I took during that project. I labeled that year’s resolution a failure and to this day I still feel I owe somebody a couple hundred more photographs.

Let’s not forget though, I started the year by stating that I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions and checklists are great for getting things done that you have to be done, but they have become a distraction to for how best to measure my personal growth as a human being. My intention here is for me to reflect on my week it is not to write one post a week. So, while chauffeuring my son from ice rink to ice rink last week I knew I wasn’t going to be writing any blog posts that week. If I had provided you a post last week despite the stress of having little time to do so, that would have been the real failure here. This isn’t about completing a resolution but finding a better direction in life.

For those though that just can’t let go that this my blog that literally says I’m giving you “Fifty-Two Posts a Year”, please read the fine print. I can skip blogging one week and provide you two posts another week.

Skip Resolutions, Find Direction Instead

This year, I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Every year I promised myself to lose weight, bicycle more, and be happy. Every year, I fail miserably. What good is a resolution if at the end of the year I’m standing exactly where I started? But let’s say I did achieve all my New Year’s resolutions. How much alone do accomplishing these resolutions bring value to a person’s life?

I think making New Year’s resolutions is a distraction from how best to measure one’s life. Life isn’t about completing a checklist but about finding your way in this world. I am at the age in life where I have started to lose older family and friends at an unsettling rate. After their death, I’ve never witnessed anyone reminisce about whether the departed completed their bucket list or not. Instead, mourners focused not on the person’s checklist but instead the overall direction their loved took as he or she lived his or her life.

I think for a life to be of value, there are four positive directions we can choose. We can face the East to greet the Sun and welcome the new day. We can face West to reflect on our day as we seek closure. We can also look to the North for adventure and starting something new or we can head South to relax under the warm Sun and be content for what we have. None of these points on the compass is a bad direction to choose. The nice thing is that on this map you don’t have to go a single direction your whole life but choose your own course and move in multiple directions along the journey.

But I think the worse things you can do is to stay stationary. Stationary is a nonexistent direction. What value is there in life to not move toward something that will bring good to your life? None I think.

So, on the first day of this new year, I choose East.