Monthly Musing – January 2024 – FAIL

“What if I fail ….?”

As January comes to a close, I wonder how many people look at their discarded resolutions and feel that they have failed because they didn’t keep them up … how many gym memberships unused after the first week, how many stacks of books to read already gathering dust, how many good intentions dropped to the floor and lost in the dust under the sofa?  (We’ve got a ridiculous number of feathers under ours, thanks to Hattie the cat who obviously seems think she can build her own bird if she brings enough of them home – oh dear, there’s a Frankenbird under our sofa!).

What if you do fail, though?  January is a tough month for us to put life-changing commitments on ourselves when we should be resting and recovering after the end of year holidays and celebrations.  Are we somehow less because we got our timing wrong?  We might have got on better with our intentions if we started when the nights were light or the days were warmer, but it doesn’t make you less because of when you try … and whether you start and continue or start and stop, the world doesn’t stop turning.  The hours still tick by, and the days move on – and we can berate ourselves or just start again.  Every day is the start of a new year.

Someone told me recently that the word “fail” is an acronym for First Attempt In Learning and it struck me how well this applies to beginner sock knitters – and not just beginner sock knitters, but beginners at anything.  As adults, we expect so much of ourselves and I think sometimes it’s true that we would rather give up than allow ourselves the space to be a beginner and know that we’re not going to able to do something brilliantly within the first five minutes of trying.

Based on that premise, I would have given up trying to learn Welsh years ago, but instead I keep going at it (maybe some people wish I would give up! 🙂 ) and I even managed to speak Welsh to someone on the phone the other day, although it was just to ask her if she spoke English 🙂  I’m still trying, though, and one day I might be able to have a proper conversation without worrying that I can’t reply fast enough or I can’t remember the words I want to say.  If we never try, we really are never going to get any better.

I don’t think it matters how many “First Attempts In Learning” you have.  Nobody is keeping score (and if you are, then stop being unkind to yourself!) and none of that learning is ever wasted, even if you do decide to stop.  You can always come back to it later or use the skills for something else.  I think that “failing” is more about not even letting yourself try than not being able to do something as well as you imagine that you should be able to.  We might all fail less at anything if we could just get out of own way …!

“What if I fail?  Oh, but what if you fly!”



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6 Responses

  1. Jean Sharp says:

    No longer make resolutions. I haven’t made any since my late teens.
    I make crafting and reading goals, and manage to keep those.

  2. ChrisG says:

    Oh I love that ‘what if I could fly?!’ ! I’ve decided that I totally buy into ‘there is no failure, only feedback!’ After all if Edison had given up on any attempt up to 999 he wouldn’t have ‘Let there be Light’ 💡 I’m actually enjoying being a little quiet, a little reflective and waiting to see what unfolds and what feels like an exciting prospect next – having retired in September I’m only just really unwound from pressures and loving the slower pace to notice Nature and take stock.

    • winwickmum says:

      “There is no failure, only feedback” – I love that! It’s not always easy to remember that at the time when we’re disappointed by something, but if we’re brave enough to try again, who knows what might happen?! Retirement is a huge life change so you are doing absolutely the right thing by taking your time to adjust, and I hope that you find wonderful things to fill your days with! 🙂 xx

  3. Laura Miller says:

    This really resonated with me as ten years ago I gave up smoking. I had tried many, many times and finally I made it. Each time I tried and ‘failed’ I looked at it as being a step nearer my goal. Every journey begins with one small step and then is a series of steps, so that’s how I approached it. I love your acronym. Fail shouldn’t mean a negative, but a positive step in the right direction. Thanks for the reminder. xxx

    • winwickmum says:

      Ooh, giving up smoking is not easy, I know many people who have really struggled with that so all credit to you for sticking with it! You are absolutely right, a “fail” should be seen a positive step – we need to get better at reminding ourselves of this! 🙂 xx

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