Not to brag, but my life has been a litany of failures since childhood. I was born fresh outta luck and haven't found much so far on my journey, but somehow amidst all this failure I've ended up with a pretty happy life.
I grew up in a pro-union family that relied on factory jobs right around the time Ronald Reagan decided to destroy unions and start the decline of American manufacturing.
I had fits about hating my name, about wanting to grow my hair long. I was also too young, too stupid and too in the 1970's to understand what that was all about.
I was a straight A student in grade school. The school was not challenging, I never had homework and never learned how to study. My straight A's in grade school became B's in high school became C's in college. I even got kicked out of college after my freshman year, but bullshitted my way back in...sorry Marquette University, you've been had by a world class bullshitter.
I was living the wrong gender, went to the wrong college, picked the wrong major. When I graduated I married the wrong person, lived in all kinds of places I hated. Stayed in an abusive relationship because I mistakenly thought it was wrong to get divorced. And even when I knew I had to get divorced I mistakenly believed that I wouldn't be able to survive on my own.
I found myself 45, divorced, living in an attic, worrying about health insurance and struggling to pay my bills while wondering what was going to become of my life.
And that doesn't even take into account the mistakes I was getting ready to make! I didn't start my transition because I thought I was too old. I burned bridges that probably didn't need to be burned. I bought a house at an age when I should've been planning more adventures. I fell madly in love and lost it, I spent one last year at a job I absolutely hated.
But the thing is, I learned so much from all of those failures. If I only focused on the immediate results, yes, I led a horrible, awful, failure of a life. But looking at the long term and seeing where I ended up, my life has been pretty amazing.
In my childhood I learned how to be self-reliant.
I learned how to survive.
In my school struggles I discovered how I learn. Spoiler alert: It doesn't align with traditional schooling.
At Marquette I learned how to talk my way out of bad situations. Again, sorry Marquette. Y'all are awesome and didn't deserve to put up with my bullshit. Also, I need a diploma with my new name on it.
In my marriage I (finally) learned how to stand up for what I wanted. To be the person I am, unapologetically. I learned that my needs are valid. That being in a healthy relationship didn't mean completely putting your wants and needs on hold.
Falling madly in love made me realize I am worthy of being happy. Losing that love allowed me to embrace all my feelings, find the joy in sadness and prove, once again, that I can survive.
Yes, I burned bridges, but I also struck out on my own and accomplished things and went places I never thought I would do or see.
Putting off my transition because I was "too old" made me realize that I'm never too old. As long as I'm breathing I'm ready for whatever comes my way. As long as I have desires, I'm not too old to have them and to follow through on them. I'll stop pushing myself when I'm dead.
I'm still in that house I perhaps I shouldn't have bought, but the point of owning property is that it is an investment. Soon enough, I'm sure I'll be able to sell this house and continue on my adventures.
I quit that job I hated, but now I own my own business. I've set goals that I didn't reach, but I learned from the attempts and eventually reached the goals or found new opportunities. I wouldn't have had those opportunities if I had been too afraid to fail.
My life has been nothing but a succession of failures, but it is an amazing life. Right now, I can't wait to find the next failure around the corner.