The pain of possibility

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I have learned in the first 27 years of my life is this; that for where the majority of us are, opportunities are plentiful. We choose between activities, sports, hobbies, religions, places to live, cars to drive, schools to attend, careers to pursue, etc, etc, etc.

We are fortunate. Blessed with options. Yet, just because opportunities exist, doesn’t mean they are taken. I know I still have a lot of life ahead of me but, so far to date, rarely have I seen an opportunity present itself without some side effect of change and or loss. I don’t like loss (really at all). And often that possibility has been enough to prevent me from exploring any other possibility.

Pain sucks and the unknown is more than a little terrifying, especially for those of us who live in a world where even the weather forecast comes with a 2 week advanced report. We are creatures of comfort (who wouldn’t be) and really, not many of us are big on emotional self-harm. But then where does that leave us?

I honestly have asked myself this question about 276 times over the past 18 months and the half-answer I have managed to generate for myself is very much a rough draft, but goes something like this. Sure, not every opportunity should be taken, but often it seems that I allow the potential paralysis of pain prevent me from moving past rhetoric into reality. -Okay, that is less an answer and more of a biographical self-analysis (thank you grad school).

But reflecting on this has led me to think that perhaps opportunities are not gifts; a thing to merely be received-rather they are choices.  Choices that need to be thought through, yes, but then made. No has ever benefited from an opportunity by sitting back and staying the same. Nor has anyone actualized a chance merely by thinking about it.

And sure, a carpe diem philosophy might sound nice, but that doesn’t make choosing that opportunity easy (at least for me) and I should know… mainly because my partner and I have recently decided to take the biggest opportunity that has come our way yet. To be frank, this newly ceased chance is the hardest thing we have done to date and as proof, the tears have come and gone for 18 months now-and really, I see no end in sight.

I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for what we are walking away from, and I’m sure this decision will be criticized, evaluated, even hated many a time down the road, but in order to walk towards something, you have to walk away from something else…


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