The Hard Way Every Time – Jim Croce

Jim Croce

 

The Lyrics:

Yeah, I’ve had my share of broken dreams
And more than a couple of falls
And in chasin’ what I thought were moonbeams
I have run into a couple of walls
But in looking back at the places I’ve been
The changes that I’ve left behind
I just look at myself to find
I’ve learned the hard way every time

‘Cause I’ve had my share of good intentions
And I’ve made my share of mistakes
And I’ve learned at times it’s best to bend
‘Cause if you don’t well those are the breaks
Should have listened to all the things I was told
But I was young and too proud at the time
Now I look at myself to find
I learn the hard way ev’ry time

But in looking back at the lessons I’ve learned
And the mountains I wanted to climb
I just look at myself to find
I’ve learned the hard way ev’ry time

‘Cause I’ve had my share of broken dreams
And more than a couple of falls
And in chasin’ what I thought were moonbeams
I have run into a couple of walls
But in looking back at the faces I’ve been
I would sure be the first one to say
When I look at myself today
Wouldn’ta done it any other way

This is almost too easy…

In a way, this is all about getting past the rough times and mistakes one makes in life. And being too sure of oneself and cocky. I suppose all of us have things we’d like to do over and events and words that we’d like to have back to change….I know I have a few candidates for that.

But, it’s not the mistakes we make, or I made, that are the really important thing…it is what we learn from those mistakes.

Sticking with a bad job finally taught me that I deserve better than that. So, when my most recent job became unacceptable due to an abusive boss, I had the courage to force a change, even at the possible cost of being unemployed. A couple decades back, I did the same thing on another job. I put too much into my work to live with and put up with an environment that is unacceptable.

In a similar vein, I put up with a great deal of abuse as a consequence of being a Vietnam vet. Spat on, cursed, vilified….and my response was to hide out and be silent. I was to pay an enormous cost for making that choice, a choice made in part out of fear. It took time, but I finally broke thru the fear and learned that taking abuse, of any kind, was not acceptable and actively resisting or opposing it was better than any alternative.

And speaking of unemployed…I did lose a job once, at least in part due to a mistake I made on the job. The response to that was excessive, in the opinion of all around, but it happened. What I learned was that I could live quite a happy and interesting life as an unemployed guy. Funny thing about that event was that I had a perfectly good way to hide that mistake had I chosen to do so. But, one of the lessons I had already absorbed was that telling the truth was always the right thing to do…and I believe that still today, regardless of the price. Looking back, leaving that place was the best thing that might have happened.

Making mistakes in romantic relation was the source of a lot of pain over the years. But I finally learned that being alone was better than being in a bad relationship….that no relationship was a better way to life…and so I did for a decade or so. I also learned that changing how one behaves inside a relationship is worth the effort.

Drugs and alcohol caused a lot of problems in my life but I finally learned how to live without them…not exactly an easy thing to do but I know now that there is no substitute for reality and living life on life’s terms….facing it wide awake and paying attention.

Yes, I burned thru my savings twice…for my children…and have less than one might wish for as I approach retirement. Actually, those were not mistakes at all, just a choice I made with consequences that reverberate to today and a couple choices I do not regret. I did learn to trust in my judgement about my children.

Yes, there were a lot of things that might have turned out differently and my life might be radically different than it is today and I might have a lot more money in my 401K but where I am today is the result of all that came before and I’m just fine with the result. I am pretty happy about the place I am in today, mentally, physically, spiritually and I owe it all to the mistakes I made. I like where I’m at in my heart and head.

So…bottom line is that given the chance to have a “do over”…I’ll take a pass. I have skin that I am comfortable in and I like that.

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