Ellie Vs. Opportunity

I haven’t been on here in forever. I have thought about it every day like a long lost lover, but unfortunately, the tech needed to have my thoughts automatically printed into my blog has not been invented yet, and actually writing things out myself takes energy and articulation that I just don’t have lately.

Today I went to the counselor. I have a new one since I have moved from California to Missouri, but he’s a pretty fantastic guy. I hope that whoever I marry ends up like him when we’re old. Is that weird to say? Probably. I am going to keep it there though. Because I’M weird.

We talked about many topics, but the most interesting was the idea of opportunity. I asked him if he really believed that opportunity was something that came and went, and if you missed it, you were fucked. His answer actually shocked me, because it was a take on this that I had never really heard before. He told me that opportunity was a misunderstood concept. It’s seen as a single event, rather than a process. In reality, opportunity is indeed a process, rather than a fleeting piece of time. For example, take the opportunity of a job. Say you get the chance to interview for the job of your dreams, but for some reason decide not to go. Maybe it’s because you don’t feel prepared for such a massive commitment, or maybe you feel like you aren’t ready to leave your old job yet. Whatever the reason may be, you miss the chance to get this job that you have wanted your entire life.

You may later on feel a sense of, “holy shit, what the hell did I just do, I am so stupid and am going to smother myself with a pillow now, goodbye cruel world,” or something along those lines. But in reality, while you may have missed one chance, the opportunity isn’t gone. You made that decision for a reason, and the things you will go through because of that decision are going to affect the rest of your life. It may not always be good, or neat and simple, but it will cause you to thrive and grow if you let it, and will have you take in experiences you may have not been able to take in if you had gotten the job. Experiences such as receiving valuable time to be introspective, more time to improve your skills, or more time in the job you currently have so that when you do leave it, you won’t feel like you gave it up too soon. All of these things are included in the process of opportunity, and will therefore lead to more chances that you may not have had before.

So, long story short, opportunity is not this “one time only” concept that we’re so often taught in school, in our families, in the media, and virtually everywhere else. Just like everything else in life, opportunity is not just black and white. There’s a whole spectrum of color in between and that’s generally where most people are, though they often don’t realize it. And, while the process of opportunity is usually a very difficult experience that isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, I feel like this idea of the concept is still more uplifting than the idea of hitting or missing so many chances that are given to us in life.

This summer, I had two opportunities facing me. Neither one was right or wrong, and both could have potentially ended either in great happiness or painful disaster. I made my choice, and sometimes I regret it deeply, and stay awake at night wondering if I took the right one. I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do know is that whether or not this one works out or not, it won’t be the last one I have. That’s very hard to remember when I feel hopeless, depressed, and alone. However, it’s the truth, and the nice things about the truth is that whether I believe in it or not, it’s the fucking truth and it’s going to stay that way. The truth really doesn’t care if you believe in it or not.

Whatever you do, it will not be the last opportunity you have, and you are not doomed. Despite your pain, no matter how great it is, it will pass, you can learn from it if you so choose, and you can thrive and become a better person than you were before the process started. I feel like that’s what matters most in life. It isn’t how many mistakes you make or how many chances you take or don’t take; it just matters that you grow.

PSA: I am not by any means saying to never take any opportunities because they will just fall into your lap. I truly hope that isn’t what you are getting from this. I am more talking about the times when you are faced by two very difficult ones to decide between, or ones that either way you might regret not taking the other, to not beat yourself up too much about it; not every decision in life is right vs. wrong. In fact, I’m sure about 70% of all our decisions are between two either neutral  or positive opportunities. And while that sounds like it would make the decision easier, it isn’t at all. It’s very easy to decide between what is right and what is wrong, unless you’re a Marvel super-villain, or just an asshole. The hardest decisions to make are the ones that don’t have clear black and white answers, and those are usually the ones we end up facing more often than the other. Isn’t that a bitch?

I also taught myself something very important recently that I now realize ties into this. Due to the fact that I suffer from chronic depression and anxiety, I am always desperate to find out if something is going to work out or not, because if it does work out, I want to know now so I can stop worrying. On the other hand, if it isn’t going to work out, I also want to know immediately so that I can stop it and move on to get where I am supposed to be. This idea may be logic minded, though it’s fueled by anxiety and toxic emotion. Every day I wake up in the morning and I fight a battle against the desire to rush through my life and get things all figured out. If I do that, not only will it automatically cause me to fail because I am speeding through life like Barry Allen, but it will also cause me to miss many experiences that can make me a better person by teaching me about myself and the world I live in. Whether or not a part of my life works out or not, it’s still a valuable part of my life, and ignoring that would be  a shame. Fighting my anxiety fueled desire to have guarantees and immediate answers is one of the most difficult challenges I have, but while I am unsure about pretty much everything in my life right now, this I am sure of. I need to watch the world, take my time in it, and pay attention.

Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I have had more pain this year than many years of my life, for different reasons that I will explain eventually, when my brain allows me to put it onto paper. But as long as I keep fighting the battles that wage on every day in my soul, I think I’ll be okay. At least, I hope I will be. And you will be too.

Things are so much harder now, no matter how I try.
Junkyard days and toxic waste, still love is on my mind.
I can see the ledge now, Golden Gate is falling from behind.
Well if you call this living, well I just wanna hang my head and cry.

~Foxboro Hotubs – 27th Ave. Shuffle 

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