Two things I learned about life: Failure and Carnival Tickets

In 2016 when I got my eyesight, it changed everything. I had no idea how much the world was about to change in 2020. I am sure you can relate on some level.

After your 30s it feels like most people realize that life is not the life they thought they were going to have when they were 15.

In my case, that’s a definite.

I had moved to Los Angeles in late 2017, after a long time healing from my eye surgery. I didn’t know anyone here, and I was not very good at living as a sighted person. I knew it would be difficult, but how long it would be difficult, exacerbated by the pandemic, was something nobody could predict.

Sitting alone in my apartment during the lockdown with my nearest longtime friend being thousands of miles away – it gives you time to think.

I still don’t regret this ballsy move into the unknown. I know that being uncomfortable is how you grow, and, up until 2016, I had allowed people who felt comfortable to violate my boundaries and treat me like a child instead of a capable adult with a disability into my life.

As far as becoming who I really am, a total reset was now or never. And I did it. And it was terrible. But, much like childbirth, it had to happen now. I was no longer in my 20s.

How many people sit and complain and never take action? It’s easy to do. It’s easy to worry, “What if I fail?” I didn’t have money or anyone backing me. I had no safety net. I didn’t have an advantage behind the curtain like the thousands of “I came to LA with 2 suitcases and a dream” people who are hiding that they had access to a trust fund.

My only trust was trusting myself to not give up. I mean, really. I find those kind of disingenuous omissions to be offensive. They set an unrealistic example for those of us who come from modest means. I feel that people look at those folks and then when they have hardship – they give up because they are comparing themself to someone else’s rigged game. And it’s totally ok to have a trust fund – just be transparent that you have it so you aren’t setting an unrealistic example.

I did work my way up from living in the back of a car to being able to afford my own 2 bedroom apartment in Los Angeles – but I have the battle scars and nightmares that come with that lonely journey. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.

The reality about life is that it’s not a movie.

Failure is a natural and necessary part of progress. Failure is information that you build on to inform your later success. Just like testing the market before a product is launched. Failure is good, and you only truly fail when you stop.

I never stopped, no matter how many times I spent birthdays and Christmas alone, cried myself to sleep, or went without a meal. It’s all about generating as many chances to win as you can with your valuable fails.

That’s the secret I know.  Life is like the kid who generates 200 chances to win at the carnival. Keep buying tickets, even if you feel stupid for trying. I encourage this kind of stupid.

Now is the time to focus on what you want your life to be. What is the life you want to look back on when you are 80?

Do it now. Keep buying those tickets. And understand that I am right there with you trying to generate as many tickets as I can to win at the carnival we call life.

The only way to go is forward.

Originally published on my Substack. Subscribe here.