I looked after our friends’ little boy called Sonny the other night, the whole night and morning while they went to a wedding. He’s a freaking cool little dude, only two and a half, and I’m kind of smitten for him. And he did all sorts of stuff ‘wrong’. Sunk his disorganised little teeth into a slice of hot pizza after I told him to wait. And you know when you say ‘stay on the path or it’ll hurt your feet’ and they immediately plunge straight onto the hot gravel and scream. And face plant it at the beach head first into sand and yell as you try to get sand from their eyes. And clumsily spill anything and everything down their front. They say things weird, and get most pronunciation wrong and half the time I could barely understand what he was even babbling about.
And it’s adorable. Their constant failings are so sweet. We cherish them. I remember when our daughter stopped saying ‘zucchini’ instead of ‘bikini’, as in ‘where’s my zucchini so I can go for a swim?’, we were kind of devastated. It was a lost moment in time, as she had done it for so long, and we never corrected her because it was funny and cute.
Why then are we so incredibly hard on ourselves when we ‘fail’ as adults? Even teenagers these days seemingly can’t make any mistakes. As we get older, we are as a society collectively throwing our hands up at people, even in their early twenties screwing everything up, doing the exact same thing we did in our early twenties. Because everyone these days has to be so ambitious, and getting their life together and go go go.
So I propose this. Let’s celebrate all the screw-ups, fuck-ups, mess ups and seriously celebrate the art of picking ourselves up. Let’s keep curious instead of terrified of error. Use our creativity to think laterally when we run into a wall instead of calling it all too hard. Let’s remove all terror around failure and embrace it. At all times. What would your life look like if you treated your own ‘fails’ with the same generosity and kindness we do a toddler?
Sent with love,