When things are easy it’s sometimes hard to fully develop. There are certain things that everyone needs to go through in this life if they can be said to have really lived. I don’t pretend to know all of them, but I’ve got a shortlist of three that have wrought serious change on my character over the last few months.
In order to become a person you need to fail. Not just make a mistake, but actually fuck something up so badly that you can’t fix it and it affects other people as well as you. That’s real failure. For me that was the ultimate team, feeling what I defined as success slipping away, getting my ambition crushed, and then finally letting down my teammates by neglecting to get us rostered for the series. If that doesn’t sound like a big deal, it’s only because it lacks the context of what ultimate has been to me, going to Northwest, growing up with the best players in the world.
In order to become a person you need to have your heart broken. I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced quite that much, but having someone break up with you is painful and unique, and offers an understanding of the end of the world that must be heartbreak. I always thought the toughest part would be the implicit criticism, the feeling that you just weren’t good enough. But it isn’t. The toughest part is trying to wrap your mind around the fact that someone you care about so much and miss so badly doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore. I hear it gets better with time.
In order to become a person you need to face an act of god. This one is put pretty generally, but I didn’t know how else to say it. Physical things happen to you or to people you love that are uncontrollable. You can prepare against a lot, but sometimes it isn’t enough. For some this is a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a car accident. For my mom it was getting breast cancer. Here again I can’t claim to have faced god myself but I have watched and will continue to watch and support as she undergoes surgery and chemotherapy.
What these things primarily seem to have in common is an uncontrollable nature. When you are young you think the world is yours to act on, but I guess part of growing up is learning that the world acts profoundly on you as well. Sometimes you have to become broken in order to become whole.