I remember writing my first “Sorry Mom and Dad” column like it was yesterday. The reason I remember it so well is because I’ve never been able to forget a day I woke up to epic oral sex.
However, it wasn’t yesterday; it was almost three-and-a-half years ago. I was 24, in my last year of college, and on a mission to write a book about my wildest adventures and life lessons to pay the student loan debt that was about to sodomize me once graduation hit. With the strategy of publishing a few of my outrageous tales to provide credibility, I was naively optimistic that 25 columns later I’d be celebrating my fifth year turning 21 and a book deal all at the same party.
If someone would have approached me on the day my first column ran telling me to fast forward a few years, where I’d be publishing my 175th story, I would have laughed in their face, and then probably slept with their mom to spite them.
At the time, I would have looked at the prolonged nature of my column’s journey as a failure. It would have meant I didn’t graduate college. It would have meant I never published my book. It would have meant I failed at growing up.
After all, that is what everyone is afraid of most when they are young, isn’t it? Failure. The thought of it can be paralyzing, subconsciously hindering people from taking any risk at all. Despite the subsequent absence of attempts to follow through with something, the fear of failure never prevents people from searching for that key to “success” with hopes for a secret to skip the defeat.
Truth be told, life is challenging and beyond anyone’s complete control. I can speak from experience. I never finished that next and final semester of college. I lost my financial aid instead. I never published that book. What’s worse, I had to move back with my parents, where I soon forgot that porn used to have volume! I had failed.
Therein I, too, searched for that key to success that could prevent any future failure. Instead of finding it, I learned that the key we should conclusively be searching for is the key to failure.
Everyone will fail at something, and something else. It isn’t until you accept failure will happen that you can learn from it. You’ll never unequivocally know yourself until your values have been tested by adversity, judging by your reaction to it. Only when you learn from your failure can you utilize it and learn the key to failure, which is to celebrate it!
Had I found success somewhere else, I may have never learned apathy for what the majority of my generation is faced with. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to interview talk show hosts, Grammy winners, and business moguls. I never would have had my words help a family stricken with cancer express their feelings at a prayer service. I wouldn’t have met a guy who told me that he hung up a column I wrote on perseverance in his kitchen to look at when he needs inspiration. I wouldn’t get the occasional Tweet that I made someone look crazy for laughing out loud in public while reading what happened to me. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be publishing my 175th column.
Sorry, Mom and Dad… I may not have life figured out yet, but I turned failure into my greatest accomplishment, and that’s a good place to start.