Confessions of a Failure 

By Kristian Buckner | Feb 26, 2014
Photo by: Tumblr

I had a dream.

I had a plan.

I was so close.


It's been a while since I've written on this blog, and I'm not sure that anyone cares, or really that anyone noticed. But I want to confess a few things. There might be a few of you, especially those of you who are around the same age as I am, who can relate to this and are experiencing the same thing that I am right now. I hope if you are reading this and you understand, that this will help you through.


Last year as recorded by this blog and otherwise, I had an incredible year. I became a legal adult, I travelled to foreign lands, I went from the top of the totem pole to the bottom again, which was actually a good thing. It was marvelous, full of emotion, adventure, and health. Nearer to the end of the year I was fully experiencing working many hours at my new job and being a full time student, and generally being very busy.

As December 31 rolled around and I was about to welcome in a new year, I marveled at all the beautiful things I had accomplished. The person I was, and was becoming. I was very proud. But the pride fell to a sadness when the realization hit me that 2014, while it may be special in it's own ways, wouldn't be near as incredible as 2013 had been. I wouldn't be able to travel as much, I wouldn't have big life changes that would be cherished memories one day. It would just be forever encapsulated in my memory as the year that followed the best year of my life. (Or at least one of them, for who knows what the future holds.) But the new year came and went, I started a new semester at college and continued to work as I had before. It all seems quite normal, maybe even dull.

Yet what reads between the lines of my daily life is a 19 year old girl who feels like she's running, sprinting to keep up with everyone else who seems so much more intelligent and capable than her. A girl who lost her mediation cycle with yoga due to lack of time and felt too tired to exercise. A girl who is far from acing her classes, is finding negative feedback more common than positive, is trying to keep and make friends, and trying to get a raise at work. My life had changed in so many ways. I couldn't find time for the things that I needed time for. I stopped writing because I wanted to focus on everything that was going on. But mostly, I didn't have time to write something significant, or so I thought, and I wanted to write about something that was worth actually reading.

Please, do not get me wrong. I do not want you to feel sorry for me. And while I cannot keep you from judging me or telling me the stories of when you were my age you worked more hours and still made the deans list, or you know somebody, who knows a girl, who has a baby and a full time job at so-and-so while successfully getting her degree in such-and-such. What I can tell you is that those people who are literally always going, never sleeping, etc., those people? Those people, while they may be succeeding, they're struggling. They're tired. And I promise you, there is something that they aren't succeeding in. Whether it's grades, work performance, mental stamina, or relationships.

Something I've learned over these past few months more than anything is that if you have a full plate, and you're stretching yourself in every which way, it's impossible to be the absolute best at everything. If you put work or relationships before school, than you can't be the best at school. If you put work and school before relationships, your relationships can easily fall apart. If you put relationships and school before work, well, you might as well quit the job before you're fired.

What I tried to put over everything is what I have failed at the most: making my dreams come true. Maybe this is that point in life that everyone puts their dream to the side, feeling tired and inadequate, saying to themselves that all along all it would've ever amounted to anyway was just a dream, and they settle for something else completely. While I had a plan, carefully thought out and timed, on what I would do with my life, where I would go, how it would be, it seems like that plan is deteriorating as the days go on. Being honest with myself I don't know if I'm capable of what I thought I was before, or if that's even what I want to do anymore.

So my confession to you is: I don't know what I'm doing. And to all you people who have judged me in my failures, or told me that I'm not trying when I know that I am; not knowing what to do is OK. To all the people who are feeling like me right now, it's OK that you don't know what the heck you're doing. But you know what's not OK? Not smiling, that's not okay. Not laughing and enjoying life because you are too darn busy to see it around you and too afraid of failure to indulge, that's not OK. Yes, school, work, relationships, that's all important. But something that I'm learning is that stress-crying in your bed, and stuffing your face with Cheez-Its, and giving up on your dreams, that's not how it should be. You should never give up on something that you feel passionate about, even if it seems impossible. Personally, I don't want to look back on my life and say, "Yeah, I was too stressed and gave up on what really made me happy."

So maybe the plan I had won't work out as I thought it would. Maybe the dream I had won't be what my reality turns out to be. Maybe I don't know what to do next. But I know one thing, the most important thing in life is the pursuit of happiness, through love, through work, through whatever makes you happy. And from now on I won't be depriving myself of that. If I fail? I fail. That doesn't mean that I can't get back up, and try again.




Comments (4)
Posted by: Vicki Hyatt | Feb 28, 2014 11:14


What a heartfelt piece of writing. I can't help but think you are being too hard on yourself. Sorry for the trite advice, but please try to remember life is a journey, not a sprint.


Posted by: jessi stone | Feb 28, 2014 13:23

Yesterday DeeAnna and I were at the UNC - Chapel Hill campus and we couldn't help but be envious of all the college students as they made their way to their next class. It's because we remember how exciting those days were - the beginning of the journey. Yes, it is stressful and new, and your English teacher will give you C's on your essays even though you never got below an A in high school, but those teachers will help you grow. In 10 years, you will look back on your college days with great appreciation - believe me! So enjoy it and don't over think it. Take that criticism and let it push you forward. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself and get up 30 minutes earlier to do your meditation - no matter how tired you are!

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 28, 2014 15:29



I have so enjoyed your writing over the while.  It so much reminds me of what my own daughter is certainly going through in college.  She just doesn't express herself as much.


Here are some thoughts you might choose to consider or ignore:


1) Give up TV for the most part.  My family of 5 might watch 5 hours in total per week.  The real treat is an occasional movie.  If you think about how many hours of TV you watch per week, that's how many hours you're NOT doing what?

2) Most young people text too much.  If you text more than 10 messages/day, you might consider weaning yourself off that.

3) Give up social networking.  Do you REALLY need to know what other people are doing right now?

4) Treat yourself to a weekly ritual.  Perhaps cooking yourself a healthy, quality meal at the end of a week.

5) Make a standing weekly appointment with a close few friends.  If you can't make it every week, then make it bi-weekly.  Make it dependable enough that you don't have to ask your friends if you will see them.

6) Find a good church.  Church is one of the last "human" things to do that is never hurried.  It certainly helps to keep a good perspective and to surround yourself with positive energy.

7) Aim to give anything "best effort".  Occasionally go beyond that.  Don't dwell on less-than-perfection more than a "little while".


This kind of thing is just "growing up".  It's harder when you come from a loving, caring family environment since you'll always crave and miss being nurtured by those that love you.


Please don't stop writing.


All my Best,


Posted by: Gail Heathman | Mar 05, 2014 17:09


I hadn’t gotten around to reading your blog recently, and I’m so glad I did. From my own life journey so far, I offer some these thoughts:

 Sometimes we’re succeeding when we’re completely unaware of it, as when something we do or say inspires another to keep trying, or hoping, or loving – or forgiving. And also when, as you just did, we write something that strikes an answering chord within another person, regardless of that person’s age.

 You are wise to already have learned that no one can be the best at everything when they’re spread too thin. I ran across a quote once that I still repeat to myself occasionally – I don’t know who said it: “Life is like an ill-fitting garment – you adjust it here and there, but it never quite fits.”

 And it is the nature of life that no matter how we plan – Life happens. Once when I was facing what I just knew was the end of all my future happiness, a man said to me, “Life goes on.” I thought that was the most heartless thing anyone could say to me. But you know what? He was right! And what I couldn’t know was that I would find many unexpected friends, joys and fulfillment that I could never have guessed at when I was so filled with despair.

 What I have learned after over 6 decades of life (!) is that we go through all sorts of seasons, like nature. Sometimes we grow…sometimes it feels as if we’re just sitting still, accomplishing nothing, stagnate. And then suddenly something awakens within and we’re productive again. Once upon a time I just knew that by, oh, age 30 I would know everything and have my act together! Well, I’m still waiting on getting my act together, but I’m kinder to myself.

 I see you as a gift to the world with your sensitive writing and beautiful spirit. Remember the YES Camp when you “failed” to catch a salamander and you found a rock to carry and made us laugh? I still smile today when I picture you with that rock and that smile – that smile is another gift to me from you that keeps on giving.

 And for the bad days – hey, I love Cheez-its, too! Maybe they, too, are some sort of gift.

- Gail Heathman





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