Secret of Adulthood: The Things That Go Wrong Often Make the Best Memories.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:


It’s comforting because it’s true.

This great observation was made by my mother, when we were getting ready for my wedding. It’s a very good thing to keep in mind, because it’s absolutely true, and it can also help you laugh at a bad situation while it’s happening. (Here are more excellent tips for living that my parents gave me.)

This is also one of these truths that, even if you don’t think it’s true, is a helpful way to think — like my sister’s observation that people succeed in groups.

I always think of the wonderful night in a snowbound New York City which I spent with my boyfriend (now my husband), when our flight was cancelled. We made brownies, drank champagne, and watched the Star Wars trilogy. At the time, we thought that our vacation plans had been wrecked, but in retrospect, that evening was the highlight of the whole trip.

How about you? Do you have a great memory of something that went wrong?

  • I’m not sure if this is what you mean, but when I was in the process of getting a cat, I really wanted one from a breeder and a specific breed: a savannah. Turns out savannah cats are illegal in New York.

    I knew a lot of people wanted me to adopt a rescue cat, but I didn’t really want to put in the work searching the listings and whatnot.

    Having my hopes for a “dream cat” dashed, I looked around for orange tabbies, which I also loved as well from personal, long-term experience with other people’s pets. Not only did I find an adorable, loving, hilarious and endearing cat, I also impressed the rescue foundation with my follow-up efforts and got an invite to work with them to help their other animals. We always say Charley rescued us.

  • Cindy May

    That’s definitely true about things that go wrong make for the best memories. My favorite memory is the time my brother and sister decided to surprise me by creating a scavenger hunt for me to follow after I got home from wherever I was with my parents. I don’t even remember if it was my birthday, or a holiday or just an ordinary weekend. What I do remember, however, is I accidentally spoiled the surprise when I immediately went into the bathroom upon returning home. Apparently that’s where the scavenger hunt ended with the prize located under our pedestal sink. My sister was pretty upset with me, but I was so touched by her gesture that I couldn’t apologize enough for messing up the surprise. (she eventually forgave me).

  • Christine

    I totally agree. Our wedding cake (which my mom made) fell over before we could cut it. We had a bottle of sparkling cherry wine explode in a vacation condo with my husband’s family…. I could go on and on. But we laugh every time we recall these memories.

  • Elizabeth Wolf

    I was locked out of the chapel at my wedding. The violinist had to keep playing his piece over and over until they could get me in. It’s our favorite memory.

    • gretchenrubin

      What a great story.

  • Micki

    My husband and I recently had to come back three days early from a long-planned beach vacation we had given our son for graduation due to his sudden attack of severe back pain. It left him unable to walk much and on pain medication. However, we came home, told only those who needed to know that we we home and to let him get some rest. We spent 3 glorious days resting and sleeping (which we both very desperately needed). It ended up being one of the most relaxing vacations ever, and brought us closer!

  • PolarSamovar

    My family says it this way: As long as things are going according to plan, it’s an expedition. Once things start going wrong — it’s an adventure!

    • Ann Blackman

      I love this. What a great perspective!

    • Terry

      That’s brilliant! I hope you wont’ mind if I adopt this one. It’s going to be a huge help to the college students I advise.

  • Noel

    my then girlfriend (now my wife) and I went to pick up our invitations for our upcoming wedding and while walking through the crowded market, we both fell inside a manhole which was waist-deep!

    We can’t stop laughing whenever we recount this funny situation. I guess we we’re truly meant to be so yeah, it is sometimes true that the best memories come from things that went wrong

  • Ann Blackman

    I have plenty of “best” memories of times where everything was great as well as others where nothing went as planned but …. The things that go wrong DEFINITELY make the best STORIES!

  • Allison

    I just completed my freshman year of college, and all year my friends and I kept saying that we were going to climb to the peak of a local mountain. It has the most beautiful view of our town and is somewhat of a rite of passage for first years. Finally, we determined that we would hike the Saturday before our final week. We stayed up all Friday night and embarked on our sunrise hike at 3:45 Saturday morning. We got to the top while it was still dark (and freezing!), huddled under a blanket, and waited for the sun to come up. We waited and waited and it got lighter and lighter, but the fog that surrounded the peak never cleared. A sunrise hike with no visible sunrise! We had a good laugh about it and it is now one of my favorite memories from an eventful year. Plus, it gives us a good excuse to go again.

  • Jack off

    I like to have sex and watch porm

  • Jack off

    OI like to have sex and watch porm