No regrets for past or future failures

Published 10:36 am Friday, May 31, 2013

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J.K. Rowling

There’s line from a movie, Apollo 13, which says, “Failure is not an option.” While that may have been entirely true for that particular mission, I believe that in real life situations failure sometimes is just part of existence and can lead to character building.

My daughter works so hard in college to make good grades, partly because she is driven and partly because she’s on a scholarship. She is amazingly focused and was recently rather devastated when she missed making all As by just a few points. She was ecstatic when she thought she’d done it — made the President’s List — but later she called after that last exam and was despondent saying she knew she would not. When the grades came out and she discovered she’d just missed her goal, we talked again. I told her what any Mother would — that she had tried her best, given her all — and that was what really mattered. I told her I was proud no matter what, because she tried so hard. I’ve heard those same words from my own wise Mother many times.

There is a line from the fictional character Yoda in the Star Wars movie that goes, “Do or do not… there is no try.” I respectfully disagree with Jedi Master Yoda. You have to try in order to do.

Sometimes in life, we try and we fail. It happens. But it is in the trying that we learn. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again.

I’ve had some failures in my life. Some harder to get over than others, but at my age I’ve learned that it is all right and that I will get by. I look back now at those failures and don’t regret the journey or the lessons I’ve learned.

As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.”

Indeed. If we took one failure to heart, we’d never succeed at anything. It is all in the taking of life’s curve balls thrown your way and how you react and how you carry on. Do we become better people because of failure? I think you can, if you so choose and if you learn something along the way.

When my daughter was young, she played soccer in recreation leagues up until she tried out for the Middle School team and didn’t make it. Boy was that a hard one to get through, but she did and found other outlets such as theater and swimming to enjoy.

Many years ago I ran for class secretary in high school. I planned my campaign, entrusted my strategy to a friend as campaign manager but ended up losing to another classmate. I still think I should have won, but I learned not to let it affect me. I went on to do other things that I was proud of and came out of a very happy high school experience a pretty well rounded person.

So if I fail again and I’m sure I will, I plan to continue taking it in stride and try again. Along the way I might find out a whole lot more about myself as a person.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

LUCY WALLACE is managing editor of The Tidewater News. Her email address is