The importance of being Katniss

One of the best things I have learned from Katniss is her outlook on life.

For one, she stays in the present—she doesn’t dwell on the past or fear the future like I incessantly do; she just absorbs the moment and gets excited about everything.

Just as importantly in some ways, she has a short-term memory for things. By that I mean she’s learned from her mistakes (mostly) but has long forgotten about the the time she unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper as a weeks-old puppy, ruining our brand-new carpet in the bedroom or the times—as in plural—she destroyed my wife’s glasses.

Having a short-term memory can be good for us humans sometimes, too. Often our short-term memories kick in when it comes to good things—we quickly forget about something nice a co-worker did for us; a compliment that was directed our way; or how we’re not perfect, but we’re not so bad, either. And instead of positive things, our long-term memories tend to focus on negative things, such as something bad that was said about us, a negative experience from years ago or even a mistake we made. In other words we’ve learned from our mistakes, but unlike Katniss we often don’t let them disappear from our memories.

When I was growing up in Dayton, Ohio, I played high school football, and my sophomore year I was the third-string quarterback. Sometimes we QBs would throw an interception—in my case it was more often than “sometimes”—and a coach would occasionally tell us to have short-term memories when it came to accidentally turning the ball over to the other team. Perhaps you’ve heard analysts on TV say the same thing. The coaches wanted us to shake off the interception and not let it affect our play when it was time to throw the ball again.

Sometimes we QBs would throw an interception
—in my case it was more often than “sometimes.”

I think it’s vital that we learn from our mistakes, which are often our greatest teachers, but once the lesson is learned, we need to let our interceptions become part of our short-term memories when it’s time for us to step up and perform again, just like how Katniss has certainly forgotten about how she previously refused to walk down the street with us while on a leash—she loves her daily walks now, which is a result of her learning and the patience of her mom and dad.

Long-term, however, I hope Katniss never forgets how loved she is. I also hope many of my former teammates have short-term memories of how extremely mediocre I was at football.

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