Good Monday to you all! Did you greet every day as a fresh, new day this week?
Before I begin, I would like to thank you for all your good thoughts sent my way for my doctor’s appointment. I’ve recovered from my hospital stay a little more than a month ago and I have been able to maintain my stability that I have had for the last year or so. Doc said I’m doing well and to keep up my good work. 🙂
I shall begin with one of the most commonly used phrases in today’s society: We all make mistakes.
This topic obviously ties very closely with (and, in a perfect world, would have been published before) my last post. Nevertheless, I will weigh in my two cents.
I moved home after graduating college in May 2012. For the majority of my last two years of college, I had lived on my own and been responsible for myself. Relocating to Breckenridge, however, meant moving back in with my mom. In moving back into the house I grew up in, I was taken care of; however, I quickly realized I need my space away from mommy dearest. As much as I love my mom, as a 22-year-old fresh out of college, I needed my independence. It’s expensive to live alone in Breckenridge so I sought out friends and peers to look into finding an affordable home away from home.
In two months, I found three roommates, scoped out a place to live, and signed a year lease for a very nice condo in town. In knowing the risks of what could happen, I was the only one to sign the lease. I took up the responsibility of trusting my roommates to pay their share of the rent every month and if they couldn’t, the burden would end up falling on me.
Most of you now cringe at my naive decision to take on that responsibility, and for good reason.
Halfway through our lease, two of my roommates ended up moving out, leaving me with having to figure out new roommates or a way to come up with their share of the rent. Luckily, some people I knew were moving back into town and needed a place to live and worked out fair prices for them to finish out the year lease with very minimal financial loss. Unfortunately, my former roommates and I are no longer acquainted.
Making a very naive decision that I had high hopes for ended up as a mistake that I will never forget.
We are told many things about the mistakes we make. We are told to learn from our mistakes so we don’t make the same one twice. We are told that in order to succeed, we must fail. We are told our mistakes make us who we are.
What did I learn? I learned to never be the only one to sign a lease unless I am the only one living there.
Because of this knowledge, will my other dwelling endeavors be successful? I think so, yes.
What has this experience told me about who I am? I think it tells that I am a very trusting person, sometimes too trusting, and that now I won’t be so quick to trust others with my financial fate. It also showed me that I can be a quick problem-solver, even in the heat of the moment, and I will do whatever it is necessary to solve the problem at hand.
I recently came across a passage in a book by Rob Bell called Love Wins that speaks about sin, but I believe speaks to more of the broad spectrum of mistakes:
When people pursue a destructive course of action and they can’t be convinced to change course, we say they’re “hell-bent” on it. Fixed, obsessed, unshakable in their pursuit, unwavering in their commitment to a destructive direction[…]The point of this turning loose, this letting go, this punishment, is to allow them to live with the full consequences of their choices, confident that the misery they find themselves in will have a way of getting their attention.
Although intense, I can compare these words to my mistake. “Hell-bent” might be a bit extreme, but I wanted more than anything to live on my own, even if it meant trusting my three peers wouldn’t abandon me if I took the responsibility of being the only one to sign a year-long lease.
I was “fixed, obsessed, unshakable” on moving out on my own again, that I didn’t care the risks or the warnings. Even though I acknowledged the risks and the warnings, I did not assess them properly. In that obsession, I was punished and had to “live with the full consequences of [my] choices.”
But in making a mistake, that is what happens. We take a leap of faith in hopes that the risks and the warnings won’t be true. When that leap leads to hitting rock at the bottom, we realize the misery in which we find ourselves and that hard landing “[has] a way of getting [our] attention.”
In making mistakes comes new beginnings. Hopefully that rock bottom did send us a wake-up call and we are able to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and move forward with new knowledge that can help us make better decisions in the future.
The few mistakes I have made in the past year stand out to me, and I have now looked at through this lens. In those mistakes, I was obsessed without heeding to risk or warning. In those mistakes, I received brutal wake-up calls that got my attention. From those mistakes, I have picked myself up, brushed myself off, and hope to retain the knowledge I learned and make better decisions moving forward.
Sometimes, we need to hit rock bottom to jolt our attention and listen to that voice that’s been in the back of our heads saying, “Hey! I told you this would be a mistake. Pick yourself up, take this knowledge, and move on.”
Not every mistake is as easy to move on from like knowing not to sign a lease by yourself and become responsible for tracking down three other people every month for their share of rent.
But whatever the mistake, we must not dwell on it. We must take what we can from it, become a stronger, smarter person, and look toward the future wherein lies one less mistake to be made.
We all make mistakes. But I want you to remember that through the actions we choose that end up being our mistakes, the knowledge we gain from these events can light the way to a brighter future.
Until next Monday!
Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow