There’s this common accusation that social media is harmful because we all retouch our lives so much on it. We only share the good, and then we compare our dreary day-to-day with other people’s highlight reels, and we feel less than. None of it is real.
From a whole different angle, there’s the perception that we don’t have a proper “culture of failing” in Austria or Europe, that if failure were more accepted like it is in Silicon Valley, people wouldn’t be so risk-averse and our economy would be much more innovative.
So let’s talk about failure.
I completely, utterly, entirely fucked up my first month of 2017.
I started a new job on day 2, after which I took a completely unplanned and unnecessary 4 day vacation (to Germany, of all places, which is just as cold as here), during which I could’ve gotten things done.
I then failed my practical driving exam for the second time, at which point I decided to cut my losses and just quit, which means that over the past year, I threw out €4.000 for absolutely nothing.
Then, I got sick and had to stay home for a few days. I handed in half-hearted, embarrassingly bad assignments. I spent time that I should’ve spent studying crying my eyes out. My panic attacks came right back and messed my schedule up so badly. And I sat through them, because I have learned that trying to force myself to calm down makes everything worse.
At various points this month, I seriously considered moving to a different country, taking out a loan and getting a ton of plastic surgery, giving away my cat, getting a house on the countryside, and joining a religious cult.
I spent hours just reading, and writing, and crying, when I should have been working on my task list. I didn’t do close to my best on any of my exams, or assignments, and sometimes I didn’t even do my best at work. I went to the gym a total of maybe three times in the entire month. I did count calories, but any deficit I racked up was shot right to hell this past week – anyone who has ever struggled with this knows how incredibly hard it is to function, let alone perform, while restricting.
By almost every one of my own measures, I failed.
But I managed to complete eight university courses this month alone, alongside a 35 hour work week. The standards I set myself are a lot higher than that, and I’m going to try a hell of a lot harder next month. But for now, that’s going to have to be enough.