Present Tense

“You Will Fail”–Love, The Universe


My husband and I were having dinner with good friends the other night.  There was lots of laughter and chatter, until one of the couples received a text from their daughter who is away at college.  She had shared some bad news. 

She did not get into an academic program that she’d been working toward for the past two years.  It was devastating for her and by extension, her parents.

We all expressed our sympathies and reviewed everything she had done to ensure her success and acceptance into this program.  Her mom told us that getting into this program was all she had planned for.  She had no idea how she would move forward.

After the initial shock wore off, we started talking about what we’ve learned from our collective disappointments.  Since all of us were over 50, we had quite a stockpile to sift through.

The bottom line:  life is a series of disappointments and successes.  That’s really what it all comes down to and when you have the luxury of looking back, you can see how many of your most devastating failures or setbacks, were actually pivotal turning points.

We all rebound from losses.  ALL of us.  Loss may ding us or make us more wary, but eventually we find a way out.  That’s how life is set up.  Time keeps flowing like a wave to carry us to the beach; sometimes gently, sometimes in a violent crash.  But, it happens.

Look back on your most painful losses or failures. Think about a time when you didn’t get something that you wanted so badly.  You asked why, felt cheated, repeated to yourself and anyone who would listen that you had done all the right things to make this happen for you.  And yet, it didn’t.  You cried out that life is unfair.

Yup.  It is.  And it’s not.  Life just is.  Life is a series of ups, downs, joy, triumph, pain, suffering, loss, victories, good meals, bad meals, cuts, scrapes, financial losses, financial gains, speeding tickets, death, destruction, natural disasters, treachery, lessons and second chances.  That’s what we get when we pop our head (or our ass, which isn’t optimal) out of the womb.

Take a moment to think back, as we did sitting around the table, to those personal moments of loss and failure.  What came into your life as a result?  The vast majority of these challenges were overcome.  So many times when we’re forced to take the fork in the road, it was a great fork.  We grew, we learned, we adapted and sometimes, we even bloomed.

Maturity, time and age really help to dull the effects of the inevitable disappointments we face.   Events that used to send me into a tailspin barely register anymore.  I know that it will work out, that l will adapt and evolve. Yes, there are still things that knock me flat on my ass like the death of my dog, Chili last fall (more on that here).  I’m still brushing myself off from that and have not quite processed the take-away.  But, I will.   With enough time.

March 1, 2014 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. You my friend, are the most encouraging person. Profound; yet gentle in the delivery. You have made me laugh, cry, and think. Keep it up….I love it!

    Comment by Paula G | March 1, 2014 | Reply

  2. It still chokes me up when you mention Chili. I guess it still takes me to the loss of my own dog. Powerful feelings.

    Comment by Teresa gatton | March 1, 2014 | Reply

  3. This is great and SO true. This has become my belief over the last 20 years of my life through all the ups and downs. You really do just have to go with it and try to come out a better person. Very well written and I love that you threw in speeding tickets . . . you crack me up.

    Comment by Jason Burns | March 3, 2014 | Reply

  4. I was just thinking about this a few days ago. Life has a way of working out. I didn’t get into journalism school while in college at age 19 (after working towards admission for 2 years (**** &****!) just as your friend’s daughter) and “settled” for a BA in political science. On to law school, marriage, 3 kids, 3 dogs, then on to library school. I’ve been a law librarian for about 8 years now and am right where I was supposed to be all along.

    Comment by Amy | March 6, 2014 | Reply

  5. Thanks for being brave…..

    Comment by dawnya | January 27, 2016 | Reply

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