The Importance of Loss

Back to the good stuff, if I do say so myself.

I don’t take advice on life from my younger brother. Actually, I don’t take it from any immediate family members.

When we discuss life, we mostly just fight. All parties are to blame, of course, but when pitted against my younger brother I’m always ready to accept more blame because I’m older and should know better, the theory goes. Amidst our current unpleasantness I have been thinking about why I never listen to him. This naturally led to me contemplating how I decide to ever listen to anyone. In other words, which criteria do I use to seriously consider another person’s invariably well-meaning advice? As always, I’m curious to read how others would answer this question too.

For me, however, it boils down to loss. The more loss a person has experienced, the more I listen. If a person has experienced less loss than me, then I don’t listen. After all, what do they know?

So mom and dad, brother and sister, I hear you, but your life choices haven’t resulted in much loss according to my all-seeing eye. Sorry. If I’m missing something, please share. At this point, what do you have to lose?

Loss is important to me because it demonstrates risk. Taking risks demonstrates belief, which demonstrates passion, which, in turn, demonstrates that you are alive. At least this is how I see things. I’m not prescribing this to you. I just want you to know this is how I am. I don’t mean any disrespect. We’re just different. I live the inverse of: “You won’t fail if you don’t try.”

Actually, come to think of it, since I hold the “lost most” card, I do want to prescribe this way of life to the four of you. Live a little. All four of you play it too safe.

Now, I know at least mom is rolling her eyes and asking “Why should I listen to him again?” “What’s he lost?” I’ve lost half of H-‘s childhood. Half. How’d I lose it? By passionately rushing into a marriage that K- and I should’ve seen wasn’t ever going to work. And let me be clear: It is no good that neither K- nor I can ever get back the time lost because of our decision–no good at all. But the flip side to that coin is we each get half of H-‘s childhood. And we would’ve never got any of it if we would’ve played it safe. And without H-, well, we’d all be worse off. You know that’s a fact.

I just smiled after writing that. Because it’s true. I’m actually excited now. (I love writing.) So until you convince me that you’ve lost as much, I’m not taking your advice to play it safe. I’m not going to pad the walls by considering all the outcomes or what strangers or relatives will think. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m going to do–and do it better. Forever. So there.



  1. D. Wallace Peach

    I agree about loss. It brings more gray into one’s experience, versus black and white. People who see all the grayness tend to help me the most. And I never really know when the pain in my life is going to lead down the road to a pleasure I never would have experienced otherwise. My A (like your H) is a case in point.


  2. Blue290

    I use my family as a yard stick. A point of reference ONLY. I am the youngest out of 5 and so far, my batting average has been better. Whether fate, luck or paying attention to what does and doesn’t work, I am better off. Not in a competitive, way but more in a…stable way. You are awesome with your mindset and perspective. Stay the course.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. noelleg44

    I am sure your parents have experienced loss – they probably lost THEIR parents, which is huge. But, if you’ll pardon me for giving unwanted advice, they also have the benefit of life experience, which is not only loss. My own kids are still wondering at how their parents got so smart, something they discovered only recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jaslynhughes

    That’s a really interesting point of view, and I can see why you’d want to do that. I tend to listen to advice from people who are where I want to be or who have done things I also want to achieve. But I think there’s also value in listening to advice from people who have missed out and learn from their experience too.

    I say “listen to advice” because I don’t always take it, cos of course, I know best 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dana Renee

    I had already lost a best friend and a husband (death) by the time I was 30. I find that those who haven’t suffered as much loss offer better advice because they are not as jaded by grief as I am. And thus they have flourished.

    Liked by 1 person

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