I was going through my old Christmas magazines (I’ll write more about that later) and came across an interview with Dr. Maya Angelou. She’s a wise lady. And she’s able to articulate the wisdom of her years in a way that is eloquent but simple. She said something I’ve heard before but I guess I’m in a place right now that caused her words to have more force than I would ordinarily grant. She said, and I’m paraphrasing, that she tries to be better and do better every day. That she fails 10 times out of 12. That she forgives herself, asks for forgiveness, and begins again the next day. It’s such a simple concept, and yet it seems to escape me when I most need the idea.
I toyed with naming this blog ‘good intentions.’ Most of us are filled with them. What matters is the ability to follow through and the insight to recognize the inability to do so. At times I am guilty of lacking said insight. The result is a sort of paralysis on the follow through. We do so much. We take on so much. We strive for so much. I am a woman with two children and a law practice who enjoys writing and refinishing furniture and nesting in my home and spending time with my family and friends and I could go on. I want to be my best self in everything I do. Sometimes I’m not. When I let it get to me, I find it difficult to move forward. To continue improving.
I’m not over-committed. The truth is, there are things outside my ability, and this I forget to accept. During the holidays especially, the paralysis can take hold in a strong-arm grip and not let go until I either break or shake free. Either way, it feels like I’ve let down everyone by not living up to my own expectations even when I’m the only one who is let down. These are my own expectations, and I expect a lot from me. Now don’t misunderstand. I don’t expect perfection. Not even close. I do expect that I will succeed in all that I undertake. When I don’t, I struggle to move past the failure. I dwell without real analysis or self-awareness. Intellectually, I know I cannot walk a tightrope between two skyscrapers in New York City. But that fearless self of mine forgets the limits of her universe.
I will do well to remember Dr. Angelou’s words. Each day is new. Begin again. Not an ‘again’ that feels like a hamster on a wheel circling into the same endless rotation without forward motion. No. Leave the rope walking to Phillippe Petit. Ask for forgiveness when I have failed. Forgive myself when I think I have failed. Begin again.