Turn Back or Go Forward?

[Y]ou will do your best to succeed, but in spite of that, many times you will fail. That is the nature of the world, and the truth of life. But when you find your horse again, will you go back, or will you go forward?

– Robert McCammon, The Queen of Bedlam

McCammon’s words jumped from the page and slammed against my mind, when I was reading his book The Queen of Bedlam. Not because I was feeling necessarily noncommittal to a project per se, but I am forever bumping up against this turning point—turning back or moving forward.

I do this with various things.

The most prominent, and where I need to be most vigilant, is in my choice of what I do with me. I always seem to have an answer for what you could do and even what I could do with you, but when it comes to me, and me alone, therein lies my hesitation and doubt.

This hesitation stems from two things: knowing that I am imperfect and the ingrained desire to be perfect even if it is unattainable.

In the middle of this mind-recognition of knowing I’m imperfect and this heart-demand of believing I can wipe my flaws from existence, I am not always able to acknowledge my talents/strengths, or for that matter know what I need to do or where I  need to go.

What you could say is, I flounder. Similar to a fish snatched from the river.

What I’m most aware of in these moments is what I believe I can’t do. (I rarely if ever readily focus on what I can do. For whatever reason, maybe another human condition, this seems to be the least reasonable thing to do.)

My can’t-do-thinking doesn’t necessarily coincide with facts, usually more emotion than anything else. Because of this, I feel lost and unstable with where I’m at and what I need to be doing. My needs and wants get criss-crossed and a sense of urgency and panic rumbles under my skin.

All of this brings me back to this excerpt from McCammon’s book. The inevitability of failure.

Now, if failure is inevitable, completely unavoidable, what do I do?

It seems, from my own experience, what’s more important than failing or not is what I do with whatever happens, because success has a way of throwing fuel on the fire just as failure can. Whoever has had that moment of getting everything they wanted and then felt like a deer staring into bright headlights?

I’m sure there’s some out there that haven’t, which is great for them, but for those of us that don’t necessarily always know how to live life with what was given, know there are moments, positive or negative, that can stall the heart and catch the breath. Either way, there’s two questions:

Do I turn back and give up?

– or –

Do I keep moving forward?

What helps me decide, resides in the comfort of knowing that I will fail at some point—more of a when than an if scenario. This comfort doesn’t seem logical, but, for whatever reason, it is.

If failure is a human condition, meaning that at some point in my life, and definitely more than once or twice, I will fail, then I have nothing to worry about. Inevitability doesn’t need my input or control. I must focus on what I can do and that, simply put, is keep moving forward.



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