When I was 10 wanted to publish a magazine. I was a fan of ‘Rate mal’ a German magazine ‘for boys and girls’ filled with riddles, stories and things you had to investigate. I was not a fan of the typical pink girly magazines and the popmusic magazines were still a few years in the future for me.
So I started a club. I put an ad in that magazine looking for members who would get my monthly ‘newsletter/magazine’ in the post. I had about 10 members. And each month I would spend hours cutting, pasting and writing riddles, stories and more onto A4 paper that my Dad would then take to work to make 10 copies so I could send them to my faithful readers.
At some point this all stopped. Because it was hard work and my parents thought homework was more important. The clandestine copying at his workplace probably had something to do with it too.
It didn’t last.
When I was 14, I wrote a book. It was about a girl in boarding school (because I loved that kind of books), who also was a gymnast (because I loved gymnastics). I basically wrote a book about the life I wanted to have, filled with friends and enemies, laughter, adventures, gym competitions where my main character (or should I say ‘I’) would win. I thought it was a great book. So great that I dared send it to a publisher. And then another one.
It didn’t get accepted. I later tried to find that manuscript, which at the time was carefully typed (yes with an old typewriter) on A4 paper, thinking of editing it with an adult mind. I was unable to find it. My parents, although they remember this ‘book’, weren’t able to find it either.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Later in life, I had many other small or big plans and started many small or big projects: looking for a job in the US and ending up with one in Paris, looking for a job in Italy and ending up back in Luxembourg living with my parents, starting my first website in the 90ies that I had to html code myself, writing my first email newsletter about ‘what’s on in Luxembourg’ that I sent to friends, going back to school to get my baccalaureate and dropping out months later because the math was just killing me, taking classes and actually getting my diploma as a certified real estate agent and then not really doing anything with it, …
So many things started, so many never really finished or if finished never really done anything with it.
Either because they weren’t right or just didn’t work out.
I remember my parents often pushing me to ‘finish what I started’.
I remember my ex-husband saying ‘you always start so many things but never finish any’.
I remember that it hurt and confused me.
Was that true? Did I never really pull through with things I started?
Yes and no.
And why was I allowed to start things and get all the support but when I abandoned them did not get any support at all?
When I look back (and very often in life you can only see things clearly with hindsight) I do see the value of all those activities, tries, failures and abandoned projects.
They were stepping stones, learning curves, growing opportunities.
They led me to where I am now.
They fed me: knowledge, wisdom, experience.
I still start a lot of new things on a regular basis.
Some work out and some don’t.
Some are successful and some are utterly laughable.
I do beat myself up or feel guilty about not finishing or succeeding.
But who says you need to succeed? Sometimes a failure is the best success!
And now I see them for what they are: PLAY.
Play doesn’t need a purpose except to have fun and learn and maybe discover something on the way.
And that is where the magic happens.
So next time when something you started doesn’t work out, I want you to remember that.