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Sabbath Revival: A Year of Failing (Maybe Even Spectacularly)

By Kellie Purcill

This Sabbath Revival post is from Kel way back in 2013.

This time of year, I look back as well as forwards. I even give myself a general, not-looking-at-the-details-too-closely kind of report card as well for the previous year.

Didn’t Accidentally Set Anything on Fire: A+

Kept One’s (Mostly) Beloved Children Alive, Fed and Mostly Intact: A

Continued Education of Offspring In The Following Electives:

Sarcasm: A (this one’s a genetic trait, so grade may be not be reflective of effort)

Nature Hikes: F (Note, care factor currently at -2000)

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies/Books: A+

Appreciation of Unidentifiable Foods: B- (it feels like I’ve earned seventeen gold medals!)

Accepting God’s Will: C for achievement, averaging a D for behaviour, B- average for overall effort

Keeping Updated With Current News: C-

Enjoyment of Excellent Desserts: A

Venturing Outside of Comfort Zone Socially: B

Ability to Sit and Relax: C+

Letting Go of Perfectionist Tendencies: Z – Note: “Z” = new grade created specifically for this event

That last mark – that’s the impetus behind my naming of 2013 “Kel’s Year of Failing (Maybe Even Spectacularly!)” I want to get to the end of next year, look back and be able to say “Sweet baby rhubarb, after 347 stuff-ups, I can finally make a brilliant panna cotta!” Or “Holy faceplants, I didn’t deliberately jump off a horse more than twice this year – I can gallop!” Or even just nod and note “Yep. Learnt heaps! And I TRIED new, hard, difficult and scary things. I TRIED THINGS.”

I don’t want perfectionist twitches to keep me from dancing 2013’s socks off. It doesn’t matter if I have no idea of what step comes next, I want to be in there, making it up as I go along, asking for help, laughing uproariously at myself, indulging in the odd temper tantrum, and having a ball.

I’m a wallflower by nature, perfectionist by previous stubborn determination, but my resolution is that I’m going to try things. This – in the trying – also means failing, or at least making mistakes. But I’ve strapped on my imaginary grenades, ensured I have some Lindt chocolate in my top drawer, have a list of friends on speed-dial-and-email in case of emergencies, and am going to take my chances at having fun. At improving the likelihood of learning how-to’s and how-not-to’s, of adding to my pile of memories, of getting better at some things and walking away from things I may find out I don’t actually care about after all.

I’m doing this somewhat because I’m confident God is behind me, about to give me a significant shove forward into life if I don’t do it myself, like He has been pointedly suggesting I do. But I’m mostly doing it because I’m tired of having my doubts be so tightly twined around my throat that sometimes I can’t breathe properly. I want to breathe in deep as I attempt something, and let it all out as a scream or laugh or gasp or smile or fiery shriek at the result. I want to be impressed by my efforts, my newly minted mistakes and impressive failures.

I usually share a specific quote by Neil Gaiman at each approach to New Year’s Eve, but this year I’ve found a different one of his I like just as much, being even more pertinent:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Care to share any of your own report card from this year? Thinking of any resolutions for next year? Do you have any quotes to share that have spurred you into action?

About Kellie Purcill

lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

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