It’s been nearly a month! I have no apologies. I needed time to prioritize other things in my life. And, here we are - refreshed and ready to go again. Refreshed may not be the best word as I pulled a massive all-nighter on my upcoming novel last night but that, I guess, is a story for another blog.
This was not the blog I intended to write. I have a list of blog ideas which naturally follow the path we’ve been progressing down but this topic refuses to be ignored. I thought about it a lot in the wee hours of this morning when my body - hyped up on caffeine and adrenaline - refused to settle down. It appeared as a small seed at the end of one of the pivotal scenes in the novel. The lead male character, Alec, is conversing with his best friend, Riley, and is being (in Riley’s mind at least) an idiot. Riley tries to calmly tell him that he isn’t being rational but Alec doesn’t see things Riley’s way. Instead of pushing Alec, Riley says to him thus: I can’t with you bro. I’m gonna just let you be stupid. I judged the character almost as soon as I finished typing that sentence. I said to myself: “Riley is the worst friend ever.” I mean, for real. Who allows the people they care about to be stupid? Stupidity has consequences, sometimes grave, and it is our duty as friends and loved ones to steer our partners, best friends, children, cousins and the like down the right path.
I know some mistakes are, of course, life altering. It’s probably best if you tell your childhood friend that she shouldn’t take Jasmine Sullivan’s advice and bust the windows of his ex’s car. And, murder is always a pretty bad idea.
I’m talking about the mistakes that may not leave your loved one with an incurable disease, dead or facing a hefty prison term. I’m referring to the type of mistakes that may leave them a little heartbroken, a little or a lot broke, ego bruised and filled with regret. The kind of mistakes your loved one may look back on in the future and say to themselves: “Everyone saw how this would end except me.”
You see, the wisest people learn from other people’s mistakes but as humans, we learn the best from our own.
I will say again, for those screwing up their faces at me in the back: this post isn’t encouraging wanton, reckless behaviour. Quite, the contrary. It is acknowledging that shit happens. And, the space we give people to make mistakes and then learn from them says a lot about the health of the relationship.
I once had a friend who, I swear, always made the worst decisions. It drove me crazy because I desperately wanted what was best for them. I would respond to each crap decision with anger, bewilderment and judgement. This made them feel like I reveled in being right when things fell apart. Eventually, they stopped confiding in me. The crappy decisions continued but my advice was never sought because in their mind - I made them feel like shit anyway. Note that I began this paragraph with: I once had a friend.
This blog series is designed to be a selfish one. We’ve been focusing on the things we need to do to make this: our best year yet. You might be wondering, and rightly so, why I’m suddenly giving friendship/relationship advice. It is just a medium. It is to the message I’m actually trying to pass on what chopsticks are to sushi.
We need to give ourselves the freedom to make mistakes. I’ve said before and I will continue to say that if we want to have a good indication of how we treat ourselves, talk to ourselves or love ourselves - we should look at how we relate to the people we care about. People are often three times harsher to themselves than they are to people they love. So, if you are expecting perfection from your partner, children or friends, I would gladly bet that you expect the same rigidity from yourself. We are humans - not Androids. Life would be undoubtedly smoother if everyone did the right thing, took the right turn or made the right decision (whatever the hell that is) but Life is Life because of the topsy-turvy turns we sometimes make along the way. Sometimes the fall out from our mistakes, as hard as they may seem now, didn’t ruin our lives. Instead, it provided the blocks upon which the future we dream of shall be built.
I’m not saying you need to go out there and live your best, reckless life. However, acknowledge that there will be times you do the wrong thing. But that is okay. That is part of life. You pick yourself up, you forgive yourself and you work through it.
That, my friends, is truly what itis to be human.