I believe in mistakes.
When my university’s campus police yelled, “Hey you faggot, stop!” and persisted to open-field tackle me even after I ceased my stumbling down campus avenue, my heart stopped. My heart didn’t stop because I was tackled by someone who probably had the nickname on the high school football team of moose, or meat. My heart didn’t stop because the primary liquid flowing through my blood stream was no longer blood, but rum and coke. My heart didn’t stop because an overweight man was using my chest as a lawn chair. My heart stopped because I realized I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.
I’ll tell you right now I’ve never been an angel. I was always getting into trouble as a little kid. Timeouts and soap in the mouth, were common, if not expected, and if I was especially mischievous that day, my mother whapped me with a spatula. Nevertheless, I am not that little kid anymore. Society views me as a grown man. Fortunately, for me, being whapped by Officer Moose with a spatula is not a socially acceptable punishment.
When I woke up the next morning, I realized the severity of my mistake. I had to get a lawyer, as well as find ways to pay my fines and my lawyer with money that I didn’t have at the time, and to add insult to injury, the school was going to find out. Fifteen-hundred dollars, a code one from the school, and the single worst call I’ve ever had to make to my mom; it was all handled with humility.
But what now? My friend and ironically, my partner in crime, suggested that we go uptown to celebrate that I have been remitted back into society over a few pints. I considered his proposition and thought to myself, if I subject myself to the same lifestyle I have been living, have I really learned anything? Winston Churchill said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” I needed to change some things in my life and demonstrate to myself that I had learned from my mistake. I wasn’t going to wrap myself in an orange sheet and start acting like the Dalai Lama, but I just needed to slow down and take a step back. No more Happy Hour on Tuesdays or Sundays and no more five night hiatus’ uptown. Moreover, most importantly, when I drink, I need to drink responsibly.
I believe in mistakes because they are learning opportunities in disguise. Mistakes are bad. Mistakes are miserable but learn from them so you never have to relive them. I have learned a lot from my Tuesday night walk from uptown and I like to think of myself as wiser person because of it.
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