See, I believe the focus should be not so much the dirt we "get on our hands" as the history, mystery, and experience we receive as a gift from daring to go where "angels fear to tread." It is the only place we get perspective on other people's lives. Sometimes, we get a glimmer of truth about ourselves but usually not until much later.
All that I am began in 1964 and ended here today, so far. All the good, the bad and the really unsavory stuff I've done, I believe I've both benefited from and paid dearly for along the way. When I finally met my truest love, my loving husband, I felt that I had "evened the score" on my Karmic dance card. I'd hurt and been hurt and finally I was back at zero and had a clean slate to work from. I could feel the Cosmic Cast Iron Frying Pan in the Sky hovering above me, waiting to swat the back of my head if I screwed up this time but I was now older and wiser. I knew I had gotten to a place in my life where my future could be grand.
All the suffering, inflicted by others and purely self-inflicted had been working toward this moment in time. It had prepared me for the love of my life; this thing I'd been dodging and unprepared for was finally mine to have. I deserved it. And, here I am many years later, content with my truest love, my husband, my life settled down and peaceful.
In order to be completely honest, completely human and "there" for my Self and my dearest friends, it is imperative that I never again forget my blackened soles and the dangerous paths I tread with my quivering angel hovering a step behind and whispering "Don't!"