Missed Opportunities

I love the word “serendipitous”. It means, according to the Oxford dictionary: “occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way“. It’s like a strike of luck, only gracious.

I love not only the word, but also what it designates, that gracious strike of luck itself. I love that magic space around it, that warping of time and emotions around a single point, from which something totally new, unexpected, and unbelievably different, in a good way, emerges with ease.

I know you know the feeling. It’s like you “get it right” exactly when you need it the most. Or when a project you’ve been working on for months, all made from minuscule pieces that must fit together, suddenly fits together. Or like when you repair something, totally immersed in the process, and you just nail it, with one lucky turn of the screwdriver.

Alas, this doesn’t happen as often as I want to, though. The “by chance” part makes it disgracefully rare. I guess that’s part of why I like it so much, because it barely happens.

Most of the time, what actually happens is that we’re missing it, just by a bit. We’re preparing, we put everything together, and then, boom, some minor detail blows it all off. We are oh, so close, but we don’t make it. Something happens. Something unexpected, or something that we didn’t know how to handle, or didn’t know it must be done too, or whatever.

Most of the time, we deal with missed opportunities, not with serendipities.

And it’s because of that that we need to learn how to deal with them. When we’re struck by luck, we’re stuck by luck, that’s it, there’s nothing for us to be done anymore. But when we miss it, we have work to do. And that work is important, because we never know when the right conditions will form again.

So, after many, many missed opportunities, I learned it doesn’t really matter what it happens, but merely how you deal with it.

You missed this shot? Ok, what do you do now? You cry? Maybe. But it doesn’t really help. You’re angry? Most likely. But it doesn’t really help either. Even more, it creates more trouble than it seems to solve. You start to put the blame on someone, or something else? Overwhelmingy popular, this one, it’s done by almost everybody. It wasn’t me, I did everything I could, it’s because it rained that day. Or because it didn’t rain that day. Or whatever. Needless to say, this is the least helpful of all.

What kinda works is breathing.

I’m serious.

Breathing in air, and breathing out bullshit. All the bullshit that stayed in your way. All the bullshit that you trusted, that you counted on as being reliable, that you lied to yourself it’s working. Breathing in and out, as consciously as you can, until you realize one fundamental thing: you’re alive. You’re still alive.

And as long as you still breathe, you’ll get another chance.

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

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