They got their coats dirty
A favorite story by my spiritual mentor goes something like this.
A man came to earth. He was wearing a white coat. He went through life being very careful not to get his coat dirty. He abstained from all but the safest activities so that he could be welcomed into heaven when he died. When that day came, he stood before the pearly white gates in his clean white coat. The gatekeeper greeted him, saying disappointedly, “You have failed your mission on earth. You were so concerned about keeping your coat clean, you did not have any meaningful experiences or relationships, try anything new, or take any big risks. You are being sent back to give it another go. This time don’t be afraid to get your coat dirty.”
I love this story because the coat I am wearing right now is definitely not white.
I spent the first half of my life wandering around directionless, with a huge ego on my shoulder. My relationships with family, friends and coworkers have suffered or been permanently injured in some way. I’ve spent the last couple years backpedaling, righting wrongs, and fixing my screwups.
However, if there’s one thing that can be said about me, it’s that I’ve fully lived my moments, said yes to adventures, and taken humungous, life-changing risks.
I’m proud of this about me. I’ve taken my life’s lessons to heart; I’m almost a different person than I was when I first stepped on this planet.
Go get your coat dirty! It’s why we are here.