We have more than one shot in life

Mar 1, 2019Perfectionism, Time management

We often hear that everyone gets one chance in life to make things right. That there will be this one moment when the universe synchronizes, and if we are up for it, everything falls into place. 

So how does it work then?

We have one shot and if we don’t succeed, we are done and can lay flat on the ground as never again anything will be as good as it could be. We are too old, too whatever, to do something meaningful. Or to love again.

Really?

It’s not written anywhere. This popular idea is harmful. 

Idealizing outcomes of past chances we didn’t take, or future opportunities which may not come at all, will not do us any good. 

It just freezes us in place. 

Let’s see it on my (not so dramatic) example.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet, but life took another way, and I studied Economics. 

Since then, no job seemed to be even close to the perfect vision I had about an animal doctor’s lifestyle.

So, if there were any hardships at work – a difficult task, necessity to stay a bit longer or whatever normal thing it was, I would think, ‘If I’d become a vet, my life would have been different. I would have been happy now!’ I was frustrated and stressed. 

Let’s analyze my way of thinking:

  • I had no idea how things would work out in an alternate reality, so the comparison had no sense.

  • nothing is black and white, and I just didn’t think about bad days in the animal clinic, which would come for sure. I would have to do many not so glorious things as well. The life I was portraying did not exist.

  • thinking about the lost chance released me from responsibility to take action now, so I could pity myself. Sometimes, we like this feeling, don’t we?

  • and, let’s face it, I wouldn’t become a vet at that point in my life because I wasn’t willing to not work for the next six years after taking a huge loan to finance it. I had my education and career rolling and knew that it’s just not going to happen.

It was so unreasonable to hold onto the idea. The only option was to let go of the fantasy. 

Holding onto the past or an imagination does no good. It paralyzes us.

In my case, it caused stress and not enjoying what I was doing even if the work was otherwise good! I just made myself miserable not giving a chance to make a real difference now. Not in the past.

But why did I hold on so hard to the idea to be a vet in the first place?

It took me some time to find a real answer. Of course, I love animals, but was it only about that?

I realized that I wanted to make a change in peoples’ lives and be useful that way. What does it mean? I dug deeper, and for me, it means helping someone get something meaningful through my knowledge and support. Just that. 

So, is being a vet the only possibility I could do this? Of course not.

 I could:

  • become a doctor, a sports coach, a teacher
  • volunteer in a retirement home, organize singing classes for teenagers at the neighboring school (if I could sing… ;)) or find satisfaction in coaching colleagues at work
  • help a friend with her problems during the coffee break or just invite people over for dinner and share some stories. 

I could also become a plumber (my favourite crazy idea)! You may laugh, but if you had a broken pipe at home, you know how a handyman can save your day. It becomes an anecdote you’ll talk about for years!

There are so many ways.

When I realized it, I let go of the Holy Grail, and my life became much better.

I just had to find a way to do things which drew me to become a vet in the first place.

Does it sound too simple? Maybe but it works.

Perhaps your situation is different.

You had a great job and were laid off or had to move to another city and nothing is as satisfying as before. Or you never found much meaning at work, and you’re waiting for this one big chance to make things right.

Or you are still thinking about your past lover or waiting for the ideal partner to come along and make your life great.

There is no point.

We have many chances. We just have to figure out why we don’t want to let go of some ideas. What is the thing we are looking for.

What is the ‘big dream’ you hold into really about?

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