Most days, I post a few quotes at the end of my drivel. The main reason I do this is to ensure you’ve come away feeling like you got your money’s worth. I mean, some days, I write about the fact that I didn’t like to wear socks for a period of time in my young life. It seems I rolled over that morning when I was eight, and decided I’d had enough. No more socks. So the quotes at the end sort of soften the blow of my meanderings.
It is kind of like going out for ice cream after you’ve witnessed a train wreck.
The other part of this comes down to the gazillions of smarter, wiser people than I. They are the ones who say things. We hear those things, and we applaud. We then step back and say, “Now why didn’t I say that?” I include their quotes to bump us on the arm.
This morning I happened upon a quote by Oscar Wilde. From what I know of him, I like the guy well enough. But I had to disagree with him on his statement of yore:
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
It is partially true, I think. Sure. We all make mistakes, and if we are being our best, we chalk those mishaps up to experience. We learn from them if we fall into the smart-cookie-category.
But. Not all experience is mistake.
In fact, most experience is not mistake.
Take Thursday night for example. I had dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday. This was by no means a mistake, but I can ensure you, it was quite an experience. The mere appearance of the Gorgonzola Potato Chips as the appetizer will leave our small group of old women talking for days. Albeit, ours has become a pathetic existence when the addictive appetizer is the acme of the night. OR perhaps at our age, we have simply learned to savor the small boons of life. Either way, the remainder of the soggy chips went home in a box with one of the attendees. There was no other way.
Experience comes in a variety of measures.
If we stick our finger into a light socket, we have, as Mr. Wilde suggested, both made a mistake and had an experience.
But if we just purchased a beautiful antique Tiffany lamp, and plug it into the same socket, we are now experiencing the beauty of the creation. No mistake in sight. Just experience.
Triple-dipping your Oreos into oblivion. Mistake. And experience.
Successfully eating the cream filling first. Experience.
We all know when we’ve made the dreadful mistake. It is fundamentally clear. We drop the lid from the mayonnaise jar onto the floor. It takes a spectacular roll, and lands under the kitchen table. We lean down to get it, knowing full-well where the top of the table lives. Yet, we manage to thunk the back of our heads when we rise back up. Mistake. Experience. Dolts. It will happen again.
But. Here is the truth.
Of all of it.
Our lives are beautiful. They are rich and amazing.
It may not always feel this way. In fact, certain days may feel like one big, cruel, vindictive mistake. For some people more than others.
But deep within it all lies the experience.
The good occurrence. The thing that was “meant” to happen. And not a mistake.
The baby bird in the nest, just outside. The garden, full of sprouting onions and tomatoes. The painting on the wall of the museum. That perfect bowl of soup. Our children. Our loves. Our minutes alone when the moment overcomes us.
In every minute, we see that another one is there. An experience.
And make no mistake. It is there for us. For beautiful us.
“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”
― Thomas Paine,
“Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.”
― John Keats
“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”
― Victoria Holt