I’m sorry I couldn’t stay.
These are the words stuffed in my pockets. I’ve almost left them in a voicemail. I’ve tried to write them in a letter.
I’ve felt guilty for learning how to let go.
Letting go always sounds like defeat, like weakness. It feels like wearing a shirt that says: I wasn’t strong enough to stick it out.
It’s the strong who stay.
That’s what I’ve always believed, always stood on. The strong plant their feet, put down roots. They bleed stability and have a permanent home so that the rest of the world always knows where to find them. They’re dependable in that way, they never move because they have to be the rock for everyone else.
I can’t be a rock. No matter how much I want to be. I want to be that person, the one you can always count on. I want to write my address in stone. I want to always have my phone in hand. I want to be accessible. I don’t ever want you to think that I’m not around.
But I can’t be that. I can’t always be the thing that sits still. Because there are plains, trains and automobiles and a world that I was born to see.
I’m learning how to live with the fact that I will never be perfect.
Sometimes, I have to learn a lesson a few times before it sticks. I will inevitably, at some point, disappoint someone. I will not be able to lay everything down all at once to bandage someone else’s problem. It may break my heart, but it will happen.
And the world will keep spinning and I will apologize, and that will be that.
I will miss days, weeks, (months, maybe) at the gym and it won’t be the end of the world. I will get a less than perfect score on a test and not need a paper bag to help me breathe. I will survive having days that don’t get stamped with an A+.
Because perfection should never be the goal. Perfection. is. not. the. goal.
Love, grace, laughter—these are the words I want to tie up my years with. I want my life to be defined by the least and most complicated things. I don’t only want to pursue the things that I know I will master—I want to do hard things, things worth doing.
Those are the things that you fail at. The things that you have to learn a million times over before you even pass the first level. They are not the things you’ll be applauded for. They are a ribbon that you cannot hold in your hands. They’re things that stretch far beyond my little human hands, things make me feel like a tiny speck of dust. Those are the things I want.
I don’t want easy A’s and papers with gold stars.
I want red marks, lines crossed out, and notes written in the margin that say: you’re almost there, but there are a few things you left out.
Doing hard things, things beyond yourself will inevitably mean one thing: you won’t get it 100% right.
There are some things you can’t study for, can’t Google, can’t guess multiple choice on. There are just going to be those moments where you put the pen to paper and say, this is the best I’ve got. And you will get it wrong.
But we aren’t fated for ruin or failure, that isn’t the final mark we’ll get on our cards. We’ll be imperfect and we’ll smack ourselves for getting some of the easy ones wrong, but we will learn and live and it’s better to figure out now that perfection won’t happen, and that it isn’t the goal.
There will be more days when I realize that I can’t always stay, and I’ll learn how that’s not always something to be sorry for.