On Failure

I failed.
I missed-it-by-miles, should-be-ashamed, utterly and completely failed.
Last year, I nailed NaNoWriMo, easily crushing 50,000 words in 30 days.
But this year was a whole different beast. The first few days of November were jam packed with school stress and I quickly fell behind my daily word count goal. I’d chip away at it, trying desperately to catch back up, but I just had too much going on.
Then panic set in. I couldn’t stop now; I’d told all my friends I was doing it. What would people think if I didn’t achieve my goal? The dreaded F word clouded my thoughts. I would be a FAILURE.
I stopped writing a week and half into NaNo and, shockingly, nothing happened. The world didn’t stop turning simply because I failed to complete a self-imposed challenge. No planes fell out of the sky, babies didn’t all of a sudden start crying when they saw me.
And, most surprising of all, I felt GOOD. I was bummed because I enjoyed getting to spew creative word vomit for hours at a time and because I genuinely love a good challenge, but I was relieved. I quit literally mid-sentence and was happy about it.
This happiness came by way of a realization: There’s no shame in failure!
It sucks, it’s a bummer, it’s lame, but it’s life. We can’t do everything and some days we can’t do anything. But on those blissful days when we CAN do something, we enjoy them even more, because we’ve felt the sting of failure.
It’s what drives us forward. It’s what makes us want to be better. Failure festers, and feeds ambition.
I failed.
But I failed with pride and with lessons learned.
And next year, I’ll try again.