Perhaps more than any other regret I have or will have in my life, the inability to let myself fail is one of my least favorite. I’m not one of those people who believes that regrets are pointless or that it’s even possible to live a regret-free life. In a similar vein to the way that drinking isn’t pointless, regrets too may also serve a purpose in our lives. Fear, not just of failure, but of actual physical proof I’m not good at a task that I genuinely want to be good at. My fear of failure causes me to be no better than mediocre, at best, in most everything I attempt.
It sounds ridiculous, I know that. Not liking the way things are does not make the reality of a situation any less true. There are many occasions where I have the time and the energy to dive head first into one of my many creative projects, but become paralyzed by an anxiety that hadn’t been there just moments ago. Depending on what the activity is, the average hobby usually takes less than a couple of hours to understand and at least meekly participate in. There is no personal commitment involved in the idea that you’ve taken a little bit of time out of your life in order to try some new activities – if you’re a natural -> that’s awesome, if you’re terrible -> who cares. There is a whole bunch of personal commitment involved in spending a lot of your time on something and still not becoming even average at it.
I often tell myself that I can master anything that I put my mind to. Is that just the idealist getting the better of me or am I my own worst enemy? Or could I be a victim of my past accomplishments? The book that I wrote was an awesome accomplishment, but I don’t know that many people outside of those who love me would dare to say it was above average. I spent hours, days, months, writing and reading, rereading and writing. My imaginings of outsider opinions have not changed the love I have for that book, a creation that only I could have made, but they do have an effect on me. A more profound effect than those who have professed their nearly undying love for it!? Kind of sounds like it. To paraphrase an old poker adage: “I can’t remember any of the hundred big wins I’ve had, but vividly do I recall all of the big losses.” The comical part of this entire paragraph is that it’s based on opinions that exist only in my head. Not that someone who read it hasn’t thought it’s crap, it’s just that I’ve never been directly told so.
Writing is fun. I had no intention of mentioning my novel or any other chatter beyond that of the first paragraph. I heard an NPR story a couple months back where a gentleman, whose name I can’t recall, stated that art loses some value unless it is shared with others. I would tend to disagree with that statement. While drinking with friends can be more fun than drinking alone, each has its own way of finding value. Let’s chat more soon.