Looking for the instead.

Recently I heard two people on different occasions redeem the idea of doing something the wrong way. A piano teacher called straying from the set music playing a ‘jazz note’. Artist Bob Ross said, ‘we don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.’

We all punish ourselves with the idea that there is one, perfect way of doing things and if we don’t manage that then something has gone wrong. I have painful memories of trying to do something I should have realised was beyond me. Equally, I try to cover up the trips and unsteadiness by avoiding walking in public, or opting out of ever showing my ‘mistakes’ at all.

But what if the things that people think are wrong could be seen as our jazz notes? What if we look for other ways of getting through? What if the ‘instead’ is as good?

When I’m sitting on a park bench I often think everyone that passes me; the parents with their buggies, the couples walking slowly by, the old women out for fresh air, the joggers, the dog walkers, are living a better life than me. A life free from mistakes. A life I wish I had.

But how can I be so certain? Maybe the parents wish they could have time to sit and rest, maybe the couples, the old women, the dog walkers and the joggers long for a time when they could stop striving and just sit down.

If you feel pushed into a corner of doing the things you think you’re expected to do, if you’re stuck with all your unfulfilled dreams and shoulds, I suggest you consider the insteads. Maybe things that you think are not going right are in fact going a better way. Maybe you should look out for them and see the jazz notes. Not wrong, just different.

That’s where the unexpected brightness lies.

One thought on “Looking for the instead.

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