“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.” ~ Al Franken
Someone once said, “Life is difficult and then you die,” and I have to admit I used to subscribe to that idea. But not any more. My new mantra is, “There are no mistakes, only lessons.” Three or four times in the last months various groups that I belong to on social media have asked some version of the question, if you could give your younger self, or the younger generation, or your children, friends or family one bit of advice what would it be? The first time I wrote there are no mistakes, only lessons, I got lots of likes and loves back and that’s when I realized that I was giving that advice to myself in real time.
As Albert Einstein said and I’m paraphrasing, we can live as if nothing is a miracle, or we can live as if everything is a miracle. I prefer to live as if everything is a miracle because living the other way is too bleak.
This week my dramatic structure class watched and discussed the movie Sliding Doors (1998). It’s about a woman named Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who lives two different timelines depending on whether she was able to get on the underground train or not. And as the movie progresses we see the consequences of this one seemingly insignificant event. If she gets on the train she comes home to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman. In that timeline she leaves him and begins a relationship with the man she was talking to on the train. In the other, she’s nearly mugged and arrives home after a trip to the emergency room. By that time the other woman has left. Of course, one of the timelines must go away at the climax of the movie. One of my students said, (No spoilers here) “I wish she’d been able to continue on with the timeline where she was happy.” To which I replied, “Yes, but she ends up in the same place in the end.” And then we had a discussion about choices. If we’re faced with two or more paths, we can’t see into the future to know the consequences of our choice. But I said that I believe in the end it doesn’t really matter, because we often arrive where we were meant to be anyway. Maybe that was the message of the movie. If we choose to do the work, we can learn the lessons no matter what paths we choose.
When I look back at my life, I can pin point times when I made bad choices because I believed I didn’t deserve miracles. I made myself miserable. Like the time right out of college when I took a job that made my stomach sink when they offered it to me. My body knew this was not a good choice and I should wait for something better, but I was worried about money. Barry and I needed jobs so we could survive. So, instead of trusting that I would be taken care of and find a position that I would love, I tortured myself for two years in a job with a toxic environment that I hated and made me sick, literally.
But since there are no mistakes, only lessons, that hated job propelled me into a Masters program in theatre. And that led from one thing to the next until I arrived here, teaching theatre classes, writing my novels, this blog and podcasting about stories that I love because of the things they’ve taught me.
After years of practice, when the mistakes or unexpected curve balls come, I allow myself to have those inevitable negative feelings, but then I breathe and take a step back. “Okay,” I say to myself. “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” Sometimes the answers come flooding in right a way, and sometimes I get the answers little by little. But either way, I now trust that the Universe has my back and eventually, I’ll be able to understand the bigger plan.
Case in point, I’ve been saying and even writing that I’m working on the audiobook for my first novel. Well, just a few weeks ago, as I was attempting to start that project anew, it came to me that I didn’t want to do the audiobook myself. I didn’t feel I had the talent or the passion for it. So I’ve decided to hire someone to do it. I’m weighing my options and waiting for guidance on how to accomplish that goal. This is one of those times when I need to wait for the right time to make it happen.
Little by little my life is expanding. I recently started doing short videos on Instagram and on my writer’s page on Facebook. They’re little musings about a story that has made me come to a new realization, or heal some aspect of myself that I didn’t even know I needed to heal. It feels good to have a reason to get up every morning. It’s good to have creative projects that I’m passionate about doing that might connect me with people who need what I have to say. Nothing I do is very earth shattering, but I believe that if I can help one person, I’m fulfilling my purpose. I’m excited to see what comes next!
Welcome new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a glorious weekend and stay safe.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
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