Failing, Learning, & Getting Stuck in Jacket-Coats at 25

Day 252: August 20

You failed.

You set out to learn something new each day of your twenty-fifth year, recording the details for the world to know (even though no one asked for this information), and you didn’t do it. Well, I should say, you didn’t record the details as you promised, it’s clear, even if only to you, that you’ve done the learning part.

But you failed to report it. To name it. To translate it into a takeable, buzzfeed-like list. And this bothers you. You think you can still do it. You think that this failure somehow matters to a larger audience. You’re thinking, yes, but…

Yes, but I can still piece it together.

Yes, but I can look at my instagram, my twitter, my facebook, and my email.

Yes, but I can get the details together. I can finish this project. I can catch up on over 200 days of living and learning and wrap it all up in the next 100.

Yes, but why?

Seriously, Dude. What’s your deal here? What is it you’re really learning from the day-to-day operations of your quiet, albeit lovely, life that the world needs to know?

If it’s so important, why haven’t you written it yet?

Maybe the problem is that you learned some things that you’re not ready for the world to know just yet. (Or maybe you’re just a big procrastinator. (No, it’s probably the first one).)

In any case, let yourself off the hook, Control-Freak-Perfectionist-Girl. Or at least reframe the problem until you’re ready to fully own it and name it. Who said you had to go in order? You can write about Day 252 and then go back to Day 39, you know. Don’t we learn more by juxtaposition than by chronology anyway?

Give it a shot.

Translation: Twenty-five is letting go of some of your less-than-realistic expectations, making your own rules (where applicable), and throwing out the timeline.


Day 39: January 19

Wake up. (Be grateful for waking up, because sometimes, people don’t.) Get coffee because you’re sick (and you’ll use any excuse to get coffee).

Congratulate the new barista on “upping his game:”

Barista guy went from a circle to this...
Barista guy went from a circle to this…

Translation: Twenty-five is being grateful for all the things you’ve never been grateful for before. Like getting to live such a fun, up-and-down, robust, writer-worthy life. And it’s also thanking your barista. Because you need to have a good relationship with the barista if you’re going to continue a love affair with coffee.


Day 42: January 22

Have an early breakfast with someone important. Someone you haven’t ever had breakfast with because he’s important. And use your words:

Tell him you haven’t been honest for months. That the decisions you made to be okay were rash. You’re actually not that okay. You’re actually pretty bad at being okay and, related, you have walking pneumonia.

Learn that he’s okay with you not being okay. Find that comforting. Because sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.

Come up with a plan together, because it turns out that while he’s important he’s also completely approachable and logical whereas you’re just kind of emotional right now. This is good. This is helpful.

Plus, over-priced breakfast sandwiches are amazing.

Translation: Twenty-five is having breakfast with people you’ve never had breakfast with. Because if not now, when? It’s also learning to say, hey, I’m not okay.


Day 56: February 5

Go to work. Go to school. Work on book. Go to bar. Get drink to celebrate working on book. Comment that you’re really getting the hang of this whole “dressing for winter” thing.

Get scarf stuck in jacket-coat as you try to unzip yourself. Try to figure the situation out on your own, quietly. Start to panic a little. Finally dissolve into hysterical giggles.

Enlist the help of a friend:

The stuck zipper situation. (You're helping by putting your phone camera in the way.)
The stuck zipper situation. (You’re helping by putting your phone camera in the way.)

By all means, keep laughing and taking pictures while he works:

2014-02-05 21.36.54 copy

Check out that guy's face. He can only see your friend forcefully trying to get your jacket-coat off. He has no idea what's actually happening.
Check out that guy’s face. He can only see your friend forcefully trying to get your jacket-coat off. He has no idea what’s actually happening.

Translation: Twenty-five is admitting you need help. Even with basic tasks. And having friends good enough to unstick your scarf from your jacket-coat zipper without running the jacket-coat or your friendship.


Writer’s Note: This post is part of a larger series called “Learning Twenty-Five.”