How many times have you fallen? And how many have you gotten up? Have you ever failed a test, disappointed a parent, ignored a lover, dismissed a friend? Have you ever messed things up so badly to leave no alternative than to burn a bridge? Did the fire leave a scar? In your moments of loneliness and despair, can you still smell that smoke? Was that not your fault, even a little bit? And what of the paths forgotten? Not even worth a match, or a second thought. Was there anyone waiting on the other side? Would you even recognize them today? Do you recognize yourself?
The length of your failures spans a lifetime. You have been an insufferable child, a careless sibling, a lazy worker, a cruel lover, and an indifferent friend. You could make an awful parent. All these years that so many have loved you, cared for you, invested in you: what do you have to show for it? Your sass on Twitter and your ass on Instagram? Your obsession with fitness and therapy and #selfcare and the uncanny ability to lose your shit if anyone god forbid uses the incorrect pronouns? The pinnacle of millennial achievement, a generation so busy blaming those who came before to never realize that their own burgeoning ego wrapped in self-righteousness casts a shadow that’s eclipsing the world.
And yet, do you not have friends who see you? Do you not have parents who love you, in their own way that no one else ever can? Have you not known a love, however brief, that saw past your flaws? Have you not worked to make your corner of the world a better place? Have you not shared good food with loved ones, with grass beneath your feet and the open skies above, and spoken the truth of your heart? And listened to the same said to you? And understood? Have you not, for a precious few moments in life, experienced peace of mind? A contentment that comes from the knowledge that you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right person?
You have failed more than you ever expected. And you will fail more than you can imagine. It is only going to get harder. Today is the youngest you’ll ever be. Failure is more than guaranteed, it is inevitable. Success, on the other hand, is up to you: don’t give up too early, but don’t wait too late.