Finish Each Day by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.
This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.
Sage advice; and a point of view that is beginning to approximate my own. I’m okay with the fact that every day I’m making mistakes. For the first time ever I’m okay with it.
They’re the cost of living. Of living a life that’s not meticulously planned and regimented and controlled. Of opening myself up to the risks that must be taken to find rewards worth having.
That involves saying stupid things, feeling stupid, and asking questions. It involves not saying stupid things and not feeling stupid but exploring doors that have always been closed before. Its discovering that the boundaries aren’t where I thought they were. That most of these boundaries don’t matter, and the ones that do matter aren’t in the place I thought they were.
That kind of living involves an infinite number of mistakes.
What I’m doing is making the effort to learn from my mistakes. The one’s that I recognise I’ve made. They have to be taken on board to the best of my ability. They shouldn’t happen again.
It reminds me of a cynical quotation by James Mayo (“Lord, deliver me from the man who never makes a mistake, and also from the man who makes the same mistake twice”) that said much the same thing. I wasn’t too impressed with it then, it seemed glib and arrogant.
Now it appears smart. One of the the many things you learn to appreciate in hindsight. A portion of the art of living that you learn through living.
There is a part of me that is fascinated by effortless perfection. The smooth performance that is so complete in every aspect, that the person seems larger than life, an impresario resurrected to show a failing world a true superstar.
I’ve made my peace with that part. Its there for certain things. I intend to give reign to that part in mooting, in presentations, in anything where polish is as important as substance. But I don’t need it for the rest of the day. For the rest of my life.