Learning How to Be Wrong (Also Happy Birthday, Baby Yaya)


I used to get into playground arguments as early as first grade. I read a lot of books and I had pretty good recall - still do.  If I see something in print, good chance I will remember most of it. So I was prepared to defend my knowledge, to the death if necessary, out among the chain-swings.

I can't say with certainty that I could fight for the same truths I defended back then. Kipling still wrote Toomai of the Elephants; yet Pluto did a stint as Not-a-Planet not that long ago.Thanks to other intelligent and searching people in the world, science continues to make advancements. Truth doesn't change, but what we know of it does.

There are many ways to be wrong. When I started writing this post I was going after How to Cop to Having Been Incorrect, because that's like the seventh layer of adulting. On the grand scale of how to be wrong, though, it would serve us well to have several options in the toolbox.
  1. Be willing and ready to backpedal.  Willing and ready are not interchangeable. Willing means you know it can happen; knowing is never easy. First you have to know it's going to happen eventually, and then you have to know what you're going to do once you realise the thing has been done. You were wrong. I like to document it myself. 
  2. Recognise the moment you were wrong in a timely fashion. If you don't figure it out for a year or more, it's not too late to acknowledge you were wrong. Much better to notice right away, so you can mitigate any damage resulting from  your wrongness. You aren't always responsible for fixing damage, but it's important to be realistic about why it happened. That leads us to 
  3. Accurately assess whether you should try to correct damage, and how. Apologising is important but it doesn't fix anything. Usually the best way to know is to ask anyone involved in the moment of wrongness. You don't get to tell someone else how much you hurt them. You do get to decide how much to do about it. 
 A major way to be wrong involves things you did to yourself. Sometimes you wake up and realise that where you are now has got nothing to do with where you wanted to be - literally or allegorically.
You got here through a series of decisions made by you - clearly some of them were wrong.
  1. Be willing and ready to own what you did. Admit it to yourself at this level, not anyone else. This awkward practice becomes incredibly useful once you learn to do it before you make the bad decision. If you go in fully aware that you are going to own the consequences of your actions, the rest of your decisions will fall into line more easily, and poor outcomes will be less likely to derail you.
  2. Be ready and willing to change tack. Once you acknowledge that you are standing in the middle of wrong, get out of it. Do not insist on bringing with you the baggage that allowed you to be wrong in the first place. Spiritual Growth sometimes equals adulting: be willing to put away childish things. You can still own them from an increasingly greater distance. They still exist in an omniscient sense but they no longer serve you.  Go forth. Here's a hint, though: you will always be a child to some degree. This becomes a source of amusement in later years.
  3. Be willing to be wrong again. Don't waste the energy it will take to avoid being wrong. That bubble is boring.  I can't tell you enough times how important failure is to success. In fact, failure is not wrong at all, though you may find in review that some of your calculations were insufficient. Avail yourself of the opportunity to be more thorough in your planning next time.
Sex Education was mandatory in 5th grade when I was a kid. My sixth grade class was split - half the students were in 5th grade so, when Sex Ed week came up we had the opportunity to take it again voluntarily. I stayed in the library until that got boring, and then I attended a couple days of Sex Ed just to hear talking.  It was explained both times unequivocally that pregnancy is caused by sex, and that masturbation was a healthier alternative to a lot of things. Yep, really.

When I got pregnant, I knew how that happened. I understood it was my job to safely escort this new person into the world, that I would have to make more careful decisions because it wasn't all about me any more. I still made many stupid decisions, but we survived, yeah?  We will survive the ones we make going forward, too. Alia herself made the decision to be born at 29 weeks, 2 months early, making  her a Leo instead of a Virgo. She kind of claims both.

Happy Birthday, Alia C. Ewing Johnson.Love you like bacon! Love you like Madonna's early career! Love you like flooby ears! Love you like GLITTER!

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