I have never been one to do anything the easy way.
When I was little, my mum used to say, “We can do this the happy, laughing way or the sad, crying way.” Based on the stories she tells of my temper tantrums (and yes, I am old enough in some of those stories to remember a few), I chose the sad, crying way more than a handful of times.
Rather than talk through problems when I was 5 or 6, I made plans more than once to run away from home. My dad, probably laughing, pulled my suitcase out of my closet for me once because I was too small to reach it. Needless to say, I didn’t get very far.
As I got older, I continued to learn lessons the hard way. Rather than ask for help from my ski instructors when I learned to ski, I was moved down a level into my sister’s group. Bri is two years younger than me so that was incredibly embarrassing. It also made me hate ski lessons and learn to become a pretty darn good skier anyway.
I learned the importance of saving periodically when typing not from following anyone’s advice, but because Word crashes and things disappear and then there’s a whole lot of yelling, mostly from me.
I learned not to hide when my parents came to pick me up from friends’ houses when my dad informed me that going to friends’ houses is privilege, not a right. Privileges can be taken away. And they were.
I had to reapply to the correct program at the university I ultimately attended because I clicked the wrong button on the drop-down menu when I was filling out my first application.
I brought home a non-Jewish guy as my first (and current) boyfriend and expected my parents to like him simply because I did. That battle took a long time for us to win!
I chose to cram four years of college into three by taking advantage of AP credits and taking way more than the recommended number of courses rather than spend a year abroad in Italy, which is one of the reasons I was adamant about teaching abroad.
I decided to learn to drive a car with a manual transmission by buying a car with a manual transmission. Several tense weeks later, I could drive my new car.
I learned that it’s better to get out of the car and check how close you are to the curb rather than simply testing it out. After a $600 paint job on my month-old car, I never made that mistake again. (Instead, 4 years later, I was more concerned with driving into the bushes on one side of my driveway than about driving into the bay window that stuck out of the other. Oops.)
I discovered that pie tins are not the same thing as glass pie plates when a cheese melai (don’t know what that is in English, sorry) that I was dying for simply refused to get ready.
I wanted an adventure, so I accepted a teaching job at a brand-new international school in Malaysia, expecting that everything would go as described and as promised from the beginning.
I neglected to check my calendar when booking a trip, so I had to cancel it and pay to rebook my flights when I realized the trip fell on Yom Kippur, a very important Jewish holiday.
I forgot to write down the location of my parking spot at KLIA, one of the largest airports in the world, and spent 40 minutes running around the parking garage with my friend trying to find the car.
But then again, there are some mistakes you really only need to make once. As a teacher, I see this every day; in my attempt to be a functioning person, I live it.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison