When I was a kid, I didn't understand the concept of the Do-Over.
do-over |ˈdo͞oˌōvər|noun informal
an opportunity to try or perform something a second time: if Smokey sings off key, he gets a do-over.
When I made a mistake, I'd get this super sick feeling in my stomach. It felt like I could never get out from beneath that black cloud feeling of dread and shame. The only way I could start fresh would be to magically turn back time and purge my past from existence.
As you might imagine, not a terribly easy thing to do without a Harry Potteresque Time Turner.
So, my next line of defense was to try to be perfect and avoid mistakes altogether. I became Kimmiepoppins--practically perfect in every way.
adjective |ˈpərfikt|1 having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be: she strove to be the perfect wife | life certainly isn't perfect at the moment.• free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless: the equipment was in perfect condition.
Yup, that's a bit hard to sustain too. And not very helpful in becoming a well rounded human being. While I may have avoided some really spectacular negatives over the years, I also managed to miss out on a lot of cool things because I was too afraid of trying things that scared me.
But the nice thing about a Do-Over is that you can instigate is at any time. They do not have expiration dates.
It took me until I was into my 30's and faced with the death of my father, to finally sort through all this Do-Over confusion. Losing my Dad shocked me into a new awareness.
I found the courage to make mistakes and start over again whenever I didn't like the result of my efforts.
Eleven years later, I can do all kinds of Do-Overs. I'm far from perfect LOL! I still have my sticking points, but I've learned to cut myself quite a bit of slack and I keep greasing those areas where I tend to get stuck.
And every day I'm grateful to my Dad for leaving me his courage when he passed on.
It's my first act of Do-Over courage that will always stick with me the most.
Not only did I embrace the act of the Do-Over by pursuing publishing, which requires the ability to handle constant criticism and revision. But I also wrote a book about Do-Overs. It's about...
how life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives.
"Sabatini creates an exquisitely tangible alternate reality, ordering the cosmos with impressive authorial derring-do, crafting answers to ontological questions with grace, disarming simplicity, and nary a trace of dogma. All while believable teens--teen souls, that is--tangle with affection, selfishness, and doubt. Thought-provoking and romantic, Touching the Surface takes risks with narrative and form, and succeeds on multiple levels." --RBW (Chronogram)
Every time I read that review, I smile because I know that I had a choice and I finally chose well. I could have continued to live the life that I was living, doing things the way I was doing them. It probably wouldn't have been a bad life, but it wouldn't have been the one I wanted. Instead I chose to give myself the room to grow and change. Being courageous was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but once you do it you learn the secret...
one Do-Over can lead to the next, until you find your life isn't full of mistakes--it's full of endless possibilities.
Perhaps the only thing that is perfect in this world, is the opportunity to always have another chance--the Perfect Do-Over is always waiting for you. Reach out an grab it...