Why do we make the same mistakes over and over again?

ll 192 Ah, Ireland

We are creatures of habits. One of my students told me her story of getting her second DUI the day she got her driver’s license back. The very day, she went out to celebrate with her friends and she decided to drive home. Just like the first time, she was under twenty-one and with a large group of friends. She said that cops target young people. That’s probably true. A young Latina girl in LA, I think it was Long Beach, with a large group of rowdy companions, probably would be a draw for police officers. But, you say to yourself, how could she do this twice? She says that now it will never happen again. She’s learned her lesson.

What about your smart good looking friend who dates one beautiful druggy girl after another? They are so exciting with that sort of stringy hair and the come hither look and the wild eyes. Those boots that have been everywhere, and the face and eyes say you know I would do anything. And by that, I mean—Anything. So, you do it again. The same mistake.

My student will hopefully never get a DUI again. But over 200,000 people in California get a DUI every year. In the horse and buggy days, it had to be easier. When you had too much to drink, your horses could still get you home, probably without knocking into other horses. A car is a lethal weapon to be out driving unless you are completely sober. But, almost everyone has gotten into a car with at least one drink at least one time. Except Mormons.

Life isn’t worth living if you don’t still get to make some mistakes. Making mistakes means you’re alive and cooking. When I try to become more disciplined, it’s to avoid mistakes even though error is what makes us human.

Many of us have dated the wrong people, married the wrong people, said the wrong things at parties, kissed the wrong person, made a meal that fell apart, had too much to drink and then did all of the above. When I was younger and we had first started the press, I made mistakes too numerous to mention, hiring the wrong people, publishing books that turned out to be the wrong books, but we moved forward and learned from our mistakes. I like to understand what I could do better.

Some people seem to get older and older and never learn from their mistakes. They keep drinking too much, they keep waking up hung over, they keep reaching for the woman who isn’t their wife, they keep wishing their life were better and not doing much to make it better. Instead, they spend too much money trying to cheer themselves up, go out to eat instead of staying home and eating simply. We’ve all made these mistakes.

In my next life, the one that starts tomorrow, I will wake up having learned from all this. I’ll be this better Kate, this amazing future Kate.

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Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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