About a week ago, laying in bed with Mom, I took off my t-shirt and hurled it across the room at the light switch. The shirt hit the wall in the perfect spot, grabbed the switch, and turned the light off on its way to the floor. I felt pretty cool.
Tonight, I tried to duplicate the feat. I hit an 8×11 glass picture of Decker and I, knocking the picture to the floor, and shattering the glass. The glass broke into literally hundreds of pieces, sprinkling itself throughout the carpet at the entrance to Mom and Dad’s room. We all walk there with bare feet every day.
I spent the next hour picking tiny pieces of glass out of the carpet. I took pride in the work, knowing that I was keeping us all safe from glass in our feet. I certainly would have rather the shirt turned off the switch again, but it wasn’t meant to be. As I was on my hands and knees picking up tiny glass pieces, I realized something – I never mind owning my shit.
I remember in fourth grade that I had a problem doing my homework. I got homework slips with a certain frequency. I remember having a discussion with Robert Littell, the lower school principal about the issue. I had been trying to pretend as though I’d been doing the homework; but for some reason in that moment with the principal, I knew I had no choice but to sit there and absorb his irritation and even, what I’m pretty sure to this day, was anger. I also knew my father would be called. In the moment, I absorbed it and I knew that I had created it. These were my consequences.
I could say I always did my homework from there on out, but that wouldn’t be true. Far from it. Nor did I, from there on out, always willingly absorb the consequences of my actions. But that day in fourth grade was when I remember the start of it.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned to love the fact that you get the results of your actions. Often, your decisions produce good outcomes. It’s awesome to feel the glory that comes from decisions you made turning out well. Like I said, I felt really cool when I turned off the light switch with a heave from across the room. The failures aren’t actually failures. They are chances to own your shit, clean up your mess, and plan your next move.
Your granddad’s 70th birthday was a week ago. We had a huge party for him. I negotiated with the caterer for a lower price per head by guaranteeing a high number. We had less people than we thought we would. The caterer was firm on the higher number. I cost the budget of the party money by doing it the way I did it. Oh well. You do the best you can and you live with the outcome.
I’ve had some huge successes. And I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t help let the less than great outcomes roll of my back. But I have literally learned to smile at the bad outcomes knowing that good ones are just around the corner.
In fact, now there’s not even a glass picture blocking the path to the switch. I think I’ll practice my light switch skills tomorrow night.
Love you guys!