What exactly is a good “excuse”?

Yesterday, I decided to drop my computer from a high place.  *Sigh*  I don’t recommend others attempt the same.  The results can be expensive.

And THAT, my friends, is my excuse for not writing yesterday.

Here’s the full story, so that you don’t think I go around just trying to find ways to destroy my livelihood.  I was moving my computer from point A to point B, stupidly attempting to balance it on top of the lap desk when I lifted it above my head to get around something and, apparently, tipped it just enough that the whole thing came crashing down before me.  Keyboard went splat.  Little chiclets all over the place … the “W” was never found (I think the dog ate it); crash, bang, boom … ka-ching!  (That would be the sound of the cash register when I had to go buy a replacement. Merry Christmas to me and all that.)  I’ve been complaining about my keyboard for months.  I write on a Surface Pro 2 at the moment, and find their keyboards to be small and chintzy feeling, but the convenience of the Surface Pro is worth putting up with the keyboard.  A new one was in the future plans … just hadn’t intended to do it until the holidays were out of the way.  So, couldn’t write.  Purchased the new keyboard after picking my son up from school and was busy most of the rest of the night.

It’s decent as far as excuses go, but it made me consider what IS a good excuse?  For whatever … for eating crap, for not working out, for not living out my intentions … for everything that I do NOT do that I planned to do.  Truly, what IS a good excuse?

In my facebook news feed this morning was a story of a runner with MS.  It’s worth the full 12+ minutes to watch the whole story.  Here is a girl who could have sat down and let her disease own her … and instead she found a way to push past it and achieve greatness.  She had an excellent excuse and yet, she chose not to use it.  A quick search of the internet turns up countless stories of athletes who have been faced with adversity … and have chosen to rise beyond their diagnosis or circumstances to achieve greatness.  Pretty much all of their attitudes can be summed up as “Yeah, it sucked.  I cried.  I decided that it wasn’t going to hold me down, so I brushed myself off and came back even harder.”

Is there a “good” excuse?  I mean, of course there is .. all of these stories are good excuses.  No one would blame an injured player from taking a step back.  No one shakes their head at a cancer fighter who needs to take time off to heal.  THESE are good excuses.  Not feeling like it?  Too tired?  Achy from the workout a few days ago?  These are not so good excuses.

I think the part that inspires me the most is the “getting up and brushing it off” part.  Every story I read, the athlete confessed to feeling anger, hurt, frustration at their diagnosis … but each of them made a decision that they were more than the adversity and got up from their set-back more determined to succeed than before.  We all feel held down by something at some point or another.  Whether it is a crazy schedule, a demanding job, family responsibilities … or something bigger and more daunting such as illness or injury … life gets in the way of our plans.  Focusing on the next step, the counter-move, is the important part.  Lemons into lemonade and all that.

I have a favorite quote (no idea who first penned it) that I repeat to myself a lot:

” An excuse is a justification for a lower standard.”

Do I really want to live my life at a lower standard?  Who am I trying to justify the lower standard to?  There are reasons things happen, but so far in my life, at least, there have been no really good justifications for sitting down and quitting.

This whole inner-reflection time was launched by my keyboard fiasco of yesterday which is about as poor an excuse as I have ever tried to enlist.  Today, there are no excuses.  The new keyboard works perfectly, the day is planned out and I have everything I need to make it a success.


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