Here’s the nitty-gritty of it: losing. It sucks.
As kids, we were taught how to win, to keep our eyes on the prize we hope we will get in the end; but we were never taught how to deal with defeat or how to recover from loss. This, the fine art of losing, is something that we teach ourselves as we go through life with defeat and loss. It goes without saying, then, that our lives have been, are, and will be riddled with events that will drag us down the pits. It’s an equalizer of sorts, defeat is, because no human being, no matter how powerful or rich, has never been rejected, let down, or beaten.
Consider art and our approach to it. If losing is an art then our proficiency for it can be honed and deepened as well. We start out with tentative steps and build our confidence through practice. In the beginning, we depend on the people around us to keep us moving but eventually learn to operate on our own, without prodding or encouragement.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must endeavor to lose. On the contrary, we must always strive for excellence. However, the possibility of failing never occurs when we’re inert or complacent. It is present only when we reach for the stars above or jump hoping our feet will land on safe ground. The reaching and the jumping are the stuff that builds character, not the stars nor the ground themselves.
The journey is more significant than the destination.
The Fine Art of Losing (and feel free to add to it):
- Howl at the moon and let the world know your pain – then be still and make your peace. Wounds fester when kept under wraps.
- Don’t blame. Not yourself; not others. But if you can’t help it, do it. Let it all out then shut up and know that there are things beyond your control and you are human.
- Things can be sometimes unfair. Do something about it instead of yakking.
- Loss and defeat are opportunities to learn and grow.
- Remember: Losing means that you fought, and it’s always better to have fought than not at all.
And we fought the good fight, didn’t we?
We lost. We didn’t place. We could have been last, for all I know. I howled, you heard me, and blamed myself as I usually did, but then you kept me from sinking into the mire of regret. You patted my back and told me, “OK lang yan, Ma’am”. I saw you laugh and tell people, “Hi there, we lost” with all smiles. You called after I texted and howled along with me then texted hours later that you still couldn’t believe it. You squeezed my arm and sat beside me while I pondered. You told me you looked forward to singing in Haraya, already looking towards our future together.
I kept saying “3 weeks” but was recently corrected by my mother. She was right: we only had 2 to learn 3 songs and sing them brilliantly, and jump over the hurdles of getting used to one another. We did all that despite our rocky schedules and other responsibilities. We are cut from the same cloth, you and I: as architects-to-be you don’t only have books to pore over when you’re through with classes. You have plates to finish and models to construct, just as I have music to write and pieces to practice. Isn’t it amazing that we were able to bond and sing together without asking world to stop turning until we accomplished our task?
I am proud of you: each and every one of you. I will always thank the universe for leading me to you. Let us keep making music together. Let us continue fighting the good fight.
For a personal account of the UP Lantern Parade and more on losing the Carolfest (lol), click “Hi! We Lost!”: Losing the University Carolfest 2007.