Today is an Opportunity

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.

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About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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21 Responses to Today is an Opportunity

  1. camiile says:

    I was just lying here feeling the same way. Funny how things come your way just when you need them. Thanks for inspiring me. Tomorrow I will get up and look for oportunities

    • THAT inspires me. I had some good friends help me put my feelings into perspective today, so I am thrilled to have been able to pay it forward.

      I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to read your comments just now. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.

  2. David says:

    Mitchell,

    Again, you have hit my nail. Lately, I too have been thinking “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, also “I have had it”! This is thankfully new to me. I am not used to feeling this way. Yet I know only too well I am the only one that can change it. Thanks for reminding me, and letting me know I am not the only one sometimes feeling this way. That is why we have “bootstraps” to grab onto and pull up on. Write On, Brother!

  3. Jared Karol says:

    Mitch, thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this. Seriously. This is good stuff. At this point in my life, with all that’s going on with work and kids and writing, I am conscious of opportunities and of taking them, AND (yes, and?) I need to be more conscious of creating opportunities for myself when they may seem to not be there right in front of me. Thanks, as always, for a fresh and enlightening perspective. Now, I’m going to take this opportunity to go to bed. . . 🙂

    • Yes, AND…..I’m glad you liked it. I often feel that I am being conscious of that which is before me, but I so often seem to miss the clearest paths to a new opportunity.

      Thanks, as always, my friend.

  4. Maggie Batt says:

    A lot of changes on the planet are making those of us more sensitve to it and empathetically taking it on as we literally “feel” the suffering of those around us. For instance a ton of earthquakes are happening across the globe right now. Mitchell, without interferring with your free will, I’ve sent you some energy (it’s what I do) if you choose to accept it, breathe it in! Your heart strings to others are so immense and beautiful, but I feel you’ve taken on someone else’s stuff. Don’t own it. Imagine sending cords back to others like fishing lines reeling in. I more personal information to tell you but won’t post here. Please e-mail me if you are interested.

    • I hope you know how much I appreciate your presence in my life, Maggie. Thank you for sharing your energy with me – I breathed deeply. And thank you for sharing your time and thoughts.

  5. Toni says:

    I feel you brother! I find myself in those moments too.

  6. bad jeff says:

    Once again you have put “it” in perspective, AT THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT TIME!! Thank you my friend and PLEASE KEEP IT COMING!!

    Bad J

  7. alikeleestory says:

    Once again, and as always, I LOVE this! It’s beautiful that you RECOGNIZE the issue when you are down, being aware is half of it. DOING something about it is the other half.

    Some like to say that I give off the impression of having a perfect life & how that isn’t how the real world works. That I somehow must think I’m better than everyone else, etc. ::shakes head:: What they fail to see, I believe, is that I CHOOSE to not allow a lot of petty sh*t get me down. Why would I focus my energy on that, take pictures of that, blog about that, etc? Problems are always, always going to be a part of everyones life. I’d rather just grin & bare it, keep on truckin’ & keep my mind hopeful.

    : )

    • Amen, sister. And thank you, once again, for taking the time to read and share your thoughts with me.

      This connection we have made means a lot to me, Robyn.

      • Robyn says:

        I’m just sorry that it sometimes takes me awhile to comment on your posts, but I always love reading what you have to say!

        Me too : ) It’s always lovely to be surrounded by like minded individuals!

  8. tessasdad says:

    I think sometimes that kind of feeling the is just part of the ebb and flow of life — especially life as a stay-at-home dad. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to be able to be home with our kids. It’s an opportunity so many can’t have, yet there’s a certain monotony too it at times that just makes us feel kind of blah. It’s hard to express I think too because a lot of people can’t relate. They’re under the impression we have it easy and have nothing to gripe about. At least that’s my 2 cents about it. Good stuff man 🙂

    • Couldn’t agree more, Chris. I have definitely found that the monotony is one of the greatest challenges – and one of the greatest opportunities to grow in a patient and selfless direction. This whole stay at home dad gig seems to amplify the normal ebb and flow of life that you speak of, which in turn amplifies the corresponding feelings. It is then up to us to adequately process those feelings, both positive and negative. And anyone who says we have it easy can take over for me on Monday morning and I’ll call Monday afternoon to see how they are holding up.

      Thanks for taking the time, my friend.

  9. Colby says:

    It is always such a joy to read your postings and “hear” your voice in my head! Your insights are gentle (0r sometimes “in-your-face”) reminders to me to take stock of my reactions/attitudes and readjust. Thank you for taking the time to write it all down! Love you! 🙂

  10. mudly says:

    I’ve been working pretty hard lately to focus on the opportunity through the challenge. Because I know its there. Its always there. Sometimes I feel like I take on the challenge, because I am actually looking for the opportunity.

    • You take it on because you are rad like that. (yep, I said ‘rad’)

      Those opportunity are always there, but it is so often difficult to muck through the emotions associated with the challenges in order to recognize the opportunity. I’m working hard at reining in the emotions.

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