Life Isn’t a Pass/Fail Course

(Note: as I mentioned in “About MMM,” some of these posts are from my former blog, because they fit the MMM theme. This is one of those posts… and it’s been modified.)

As I get older, I find that I tend to learn the most valuable lessons from the most horrible situations. I wish there were a better way— if someone knows of one, please share it with me!

One especially meaningful experience involves someone I once loved very dearly, but am no longer friends with. He seems to think that my life is a lot better than his, and he resents me for it. This isn’t just an assumption on my part. He actually said this to me.

It’s been a while since we’ve communicated, and given how much anger he threw at me the last few times that we talked, I’m okay with that. However, as part of my never-ending quest to turn misfortune into something better, I can honestly say that he’s taught me something valuable.

The last time we talked, he made it clear that he felt like time has passed him by— that he would no longer will be able to find that dream job, that dream partner, etc. Basically, he’d given up. I tried to convince him that wasn’t the case, but when someone has his mind made up that his life is really crappy— it’s hard to get him to think otherwise.

Here’s my attitude… and I understand if others don’t subscribe to this philosophy (trust me, I know I do not have all the answers): Life is NOT a pass/fail course— at least when it comes to most things. Most of the time, you can’t “fail”… because there is no limit to how many times or how long you can keep trying (until you pass away, of course— but that’s a whole other issue).

Every stumbling block, every obstacle, every hole you fall into while you’re trying to get to your goal… is really frustrating and crushing. Trust me, I know. But if you choose to examine the obstacles more closely, they can also be incredible learning experiences that ultimately help you grow. They never have to mean that you’ve failed. Unless *you* decide to give yourself that “F”— and give up.

In Life, there are no referees on the sidelines ready to blow that final whistle. No judges declaring, “game over— stop all of your efforts now!” Only YOU can make that declaration. And if you truly want something more than life itself, why would you do that to yourself?

I understand the feeling of being knocked down and not wanting to get up again. I understand the feeling of being too tired to keep fighting a battle you don’t think you will ever win. Those times are inevitable, and they are a sure sign that you need to take a rest and recuperate. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Laugh. Remind yourself about what’s important in life. Take as much time as you need (be it five minutes or five months) to regain your strength. Then get back up and get moving again.

Easier said than done, I know. But IMHO, it beats the alternative— dwelling in misery and depression. And it’s certainly better than attacking people who you think are doing “better” than you are. Each of us needs all the help we can get.

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8 thoughts on “Life Isn’t a Pass/Fail Course

  1. Carmen-
    I was just mentioning this type of thing to another friend. I have one or two friends who have that same mentality as your friend. They seem to subscribe to a life of miserableness as if that is their life sentence. They have no hope that life will get better, and because of that they never even try. I just don't get how you can be given this chance at life and yet they just let it pass them by and create their own jail sentence. I had a close friend pass away who I'm sure would LOVE the chance to LIVE. Yet others choose to live their daily lives miserable.

    You know though, you can't change your friend's mind. They are either going to be energy vampires their whole lives or they will finally try to get their sh*t together.

  2. You're absolutely right, Tonya. I'm hoping this person will eventually make the right decision— but it definitely has to be their decision. It's such a waste.

  3. Carmen, I'm no psychologist/psychiatrist, but your two descriptions of this person immediately raised the red flag of either clinical depression or manic depression. I've dealt with both conditions in a few people with whom I am very close. Trying to reason with someone with mental health issues is like trying to reason with an intoxicated person: the brain chemistry just won't allow logic! Nothing changes until they truly want and seek help. You're smart to distance yourself. It's not your problem to fix.

  4. Preach on Sistah! So true. I know way too many people who have given up without actually trying. Mostly because they expect it all to be handed to them. I blame Disney and the this whole mentality that 'someone' will 'someday' come and 'save' you. I'm not giving up. I may be 85 and standing in line at the YMCA, waiting for the KENDO instructor to show up so I can take my first lesson, but screw that, I won't give up. And…I think I forgot what my point was.

    -Tina Sena

  5. I haven't been able to write any thing of substance concerning the final episode (ok, the final 2/3 episodes) of Battlestar Galactica til now. I can finally see it in a different way other than the “God Did It” manner in which I was blind-sided by those final moments before Jimi came across the airwaves and reminded me why we came.

    See, I kept seeing it as a “GDI because so many others wrote the same thing. But it nagged at me and tugged at me several times over the last 18 months because I kept seeing the Head-Freaks of Baltar and Caprica-6 as being protagonists for the exact same Deity rather than what they should have been… Black and White. Left and Right. Up and Down. Good and Bad… Christ, Anti-Christ…

    That's what they should have been because that's how we have been programmed over the years to see them as. But truth is, they were actually something quite different. They were, in fact, Optimism and Pessimism.

    mark williams aka GW

  6. I'm LOL, because when I read the first few sentences, I knew you were the author of this post before I even checked the name at the bottom, Mark. 😉

    I agree— I think too many people placed too much emphasis on the deity aspect when RDM kept insisting that it was open for interpretation. I never really viewed it as GDI, but at the time it was hard to convince people otherwise.

    And I love the fact that this show is still getting people to think about things more than a year after it went off the air. 😉

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