We’ve all long been taught that failure is not an option! We must prevail, we must survive, we must continue, to strive for betterment, for perfection. However just like I’ve argued previously there is goodness in boredom. Sweetness and success can also be found in failure.
Failure may be too strong a word for what follows but it is the perfect summariser of the more overture intentions of my ramblings. While many relate embarrassing memories to failure and to moments best forgotten. I find myself with a more complex relationship to such memories, ones that are positive, character building and with moralistic leanings. Without our past shortcomings and failures would we be who we are? We as a modern generation strive for betterment by recognising and acknowledging past epochs but we struggle to fully embrace them. We acknowledge without ingesting, without fully processing, acknowledgement is good but it isn’t enough, we need to own them. No matter how small or insignificant they seem you’ll never truly know what you can gleam from them, what you can learn from them if you don’t embrace those failures, explore them and own them. Such a moment for me centres on a Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar.
Allow me to begin with the forethought. My father has long been a lover of a great number of things and has inspired me in many of my passions. I will not list them now as feel like I have done a lot of that recently. I have this strong memory though, not of the exact transpiring moments but rather my attitude and feelings within it. I remember my dad had found something new and he loved it and knew I would, he was so proud of his find and I know without a doubt he had been waiting to share it with me. I remember though being too caught up in a television show or in a game of some nature so much so that I took no interest in what my dad was proudly gifting me. I took no interest and gave no thanks, I took the moment for granted, the gift, everything for granted. This may seem like a small moment but it is one that has long stuck with me.
Which brings me to the beginning of my original tale, which has become one of my oddest and sweetest memories of my childhood and of my dad. I had just finished football practice and we were making our way home when my dad stopped for a quick pitstop to grab his weekend paper and taking the opportunity to sneak in a couple of oversized Crunchie bars for us to cheekily enjoy before lunch. It was a treat for me and him and he was so pleased with his little idea, how could I tell him that I hated Crunchies? Easy, I couldn’t. So instead I ate the chocolate, revelling in our small moment of rebellion rather than the chocolate, to this day it remains the only Crunchie bar I have eaten but remains the best I will ever have. The memory, as arbitrary as it is is one of my fondest. In the moment there was recognition, the ingestion of past errors and moving on, of being in the moment, of being a part of a we rather than an I. Many believe we come of age in a sudden grand gesture instead we learn and we build and we change in small moments. In defining snippets, insignificant gestures, pieces to be ruminated on. From our first real heartbreak, our first taste of freedom, of taking responsibility, of being present, partaking, recognising what we have, what we have taken for granted, accepting past failures, enjoying a chocolate bar with a parent.
I have never mentioned any of this to my dad and he may be disheartened while reading this. Please don’t be though, firstly I would like to apologise but more importantly I wish to thank both you and mum for instilling in me the ability to recognise and to be able to own up to past failings. We all have many and we need to remove the shame in which we shroud them, we are ever bound to make mistakes but it’s what we do with them, what we do next. Address them, look into them, pull them apart, don’t let them sit and wallow and grow. You’ll be surprised what you can find in those lesser life moments they may in fact be the route to some of your sweetest and happiest memories.