The Year of Failing Bravely

2016 was the year I got divorced.

It was also the year I bought a kickass pair of second-hand overalls from the vintage store on rue Tiquetonne.

I ran three marathons, two halfs, a 10km and an ultra. I set and missed my objectives for every serious race among them.

I got a promotion and lost the sense of purpose for my work.

I adopted a dog that I couldn’t handle, and will have to rehome.

I lost friendships and I still don’t know whose fault that was.

I rode on a motorbike for the first time and it tasted of freedom and pure joy.

I cried. Oh, so many tears.

I travelled to Barcelona and Oslo and Stockholm. To the Dominican Republic and Belgium.

I stayed in a chateau wallpapered with love letters.

I read, and read, and read.

I cooked rarely and lost my appetite, along with the joy I once felt for food.

I was jealous. Hideously, miserably jealous. So jealous I thought I’d disappear under the weight of all the things I was not.

I struggled with money, I put off basic adult things like dentist appointments and haircuts.

“I just need one, fucking, win.” I would say, exhausted and desperate, to friends.

Just one thing to go my way this year.

But nothing quite ever did.

2016: the year of failing.

Failing to do enough.

To be enough.

To love enough.

But the funny thing about failing is that it’s hard to do from your sofa. Failing generally involves some sort of showing up to begin with. 

I wouldn’t have failed at Royan had I allowed a myriad of circumstance keep me at home this weekend.

I wouldn’t have failed in friendship, in love, had I not been vulnerable, and transparent and devastatingly real.

2016 could well have been the year I stopped trying. And maybe it would’ve held less tears. I guess I’ll never know. 

But surely there is something brave in continuing to try, continuing to love, continuing to put yourself in situations where failure is a real possibility. 

Surely this, the ability to hope, despite all evidence to the contrary, is bigger than any one failure.

And so I’ve decided, 2016 is the year of failing bravely.


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