I’ve been thinking a lot about opportunities lately. It seems they are everywhere.
In the often repetitive language of guidance that I use with my daughters, the word ‘opportunity’ comes up frequently. When someone has failed to do what they are asked, I will give them another opportunity. When a privilege is on the line but a prerequisite is not met, they lost that opportunity. When a colossal Lego masterpiece falls it becomes an opportunity to build it again, this time better than before armed with the lessons of the fallen. When I speak of the intangible, big-picture type things like gratitude and consideration, ‘opportunity’ is thrown around freely.
I want to teach them to embrace opportunity in their life. With this language, I want them to understand that life is what you make it. It’s your choice. You can choose to have your life dictated to you or you can choose to accept that which is presented and then make your own opportunities. You can’t control the cards, but you can decide how you play.
‘Opportunity’ feels good. It has a sense of ownership to it and presents itself as a hope for the future. Rarely is an opportunity seen as a bad thing. The funny thing is that often opportunities come from negative situations.
I haven’t been feeling terribly happy lately. Let me first say that I have absolutely nothing to be unhappy about – my life wants for nothing meaningful. I am with the love of my life; I have two remarkable, healthy kids; I am blessed with a family that has taught and continues to teach me love and honor; I have friends that endlessly inspire me. That said, life presents challenges and those challenges, regardless of their significance to the whole, can weigh heavily. Better said, such challenges can weigh heavily if you let them. And, lately, I’ve been letting them.
Lately I have allowed these challenges to hang from me like anchors. I have chosen to look upon moments and circumstances as burdens rather than the opportunities they can be. I have chosen to dwell rather than rise. I have chosen to stand and watch rather than move.
And, frankly, I’ve had it.
The challenges are always going to be there. What matters is the response to those challenges. A lack of understanding is a chance to practice communication. Another’s suffering is a chance to practice empathy. Unfulfilled expectations are a chance to practice letting go. The Legos have fallen and now is my chance to start over.
Opportunities, it seems, are everywhere. I’m glad I took this opportunity to write it down.