While I don’t know a lot about basketball, I know that Monday night's loss hurt — a lot.
I watched the national championship game on a projector at The Daily Tar Heel office. As the final 4.3 seconds ticked down, we realized it was over. Even with a 15-point lead at halftime, we lost.
No national championship. No final victory paper.
The silence was heavy. I looked around to see heads in hands and tears in eyes.
But the game got me thinking.
Maybe losing isn’t always bad. Sometimes, failure is the best thing that can happen to us.
I mean, who would have thought that we would be watching the Tar Heels play in the national championship this year? Who knows what next season holds.
The same can be said for the seasons of life.
I’ve been afraid of failure for as long as I can remember — ever since elementary school recess, when I would try to swing a little higher on the swingset.
A lot has happened in the time between then and now. In high school, I pushed myself until I burned out because I was scared of who I would be if I failed. I set impossibly high standards, and when I couldn’t reach them, I questioned everything.
But failure is inevitable.
No one can avoid setbacks, mistakes or losses — and I now know that they are necessary. My failures helped me become a more interesting person because I learned from them, and I learned how to recover from them.
Who wants to read a book where everything goes perfectly? The answer: nobody. Every time you fail, you add a new plot twist to your story.
As my dad often reminds me, “Life is going to knock you down. What’s important is how you get back up.”
He has helped me realize that my fear of making a mistake is just dead weight. The more times I bounce back from my failures, the less afraid I will be to take risks, ask questions and build confidence.
I hope that the next time I feel scared to do something, I’m not going to let my fear hold me back. And maybe I will fail spectacularly.
There will always be next season.
Harry Styles put it well — it's not the same as it was. I have a feeling it’s going to be better.
In the meantime, I put together a collection of songs to be a soundtrack to help us mourn and recover from the national championship. But I think it is more than that: It is also a soundtrack for every bump we are going to hit on the road ahead.
A preview: It includes songs by Mac Miller, Rex Orange County, The Lumineers and Billie Eilish — with a little Nirvana mixed in.
There is something intimate about sharing music with someone. It’s like sharing a piece of their heart. This playlist has songs that have helped me on the worst days — and it has songs that I listen to on the best ones.
Spoiler alert: They’re not all sad, because failure isn’t a bad thing. After listening, I hope you see that too.
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