Failure is an option

Mornings are for coffee and contemplation. Coffee and contemplation, good sirs.

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2017 has been wild in so many ways, but it also opened up my eyes once again to the concept of failure. I used to be so ashamed of failing at something and it never occurred to me to be open about what I sucked at doing.

It also doesn’t help that we’re often inundated with content about our peers excelling, thriving and breaking boundaries. I used to feel overwhelming pressure to create something *incredible*.

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I don’t know what shifted but this year, I stopped viewing my “failures” as shameful memories. It helped shaped my life course, after all.

In 2010, I dropped out of my first year because I didn’t get into my desired course for second year. I had been wanting this since I was 16 years old and not making my Big Dream happen was overwhelming. You see, I had always been an excellent student and this failure rattled me to the core.

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I spent a year working a few different jobs, from retail to a short stint at a tattoo shop. I met so many people (who I’m still friends with) and had a moment to pull myself swiftly towards myself.

I then decided to go back to Rhodes. This decision got mixed reactions from other people. I was told to get a grip, apply to other universities and that I needed to keep my options open.

I’ve never dealt well with people giving me advice I didn’t actually ask for.

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And so I went back, got two bursaries and eventually got my degree. I did stumble along the way there though. I’m pretty candid about finding things tough, especially in the academic space.

When the time came to graduate, I knew I wasn’t going to attend and I decided I would celebrate it on my own terms. I went to collect my parchment and spent a week saying goodbye to my friends.

In the failures I’ve dealt with since, I’ve known I could come back from it. It may take time, but I didn’t see it as this earth-shattering thing anymore.

A friend once called me fearless because I tend to dive headfirst into anything I want, shame. Failure taught me how to do that.

And this year has kept showing me that I can be ambitious but to be grateful for smaller moments. Being able to survive a tough year isn’t just about accolades or achievements. I know that now.

So contemplation over, the real highlight of 2017?

Every single time that I got out of bed even when I didn’t ever want to.

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