I have been thinking a lot about missed opportunities, lately, because I have experienced two in the past couple of weeks. I’m not referring to goals that may have slipped by or regrets regarding choices that didn’t serve me well. I’m referring to meeting fascinating people who had amazing stories to share. The individuals I had on my list to interview, and reached out to in one case, both passed away before the interview took place.
This experience has heightened my awareness that nothing should be taken for granted. Ever!
But more importantly, I’m baffled by how easily a captivating potential such as a life story was presented before me (and thus our readers), and then how suddenly it was whisked away. The thought of this almost takes my breath away.
As the story often goes, we tend to have to experience a lesson profoundly before we fully learn and incorporate it – until, that is, we forget again. Not wanting to forget this experience once it becomes a distant memory, I’ve been racking my brain to discover a way to keep this lesson fresh and not take something for granted again.
My research only finds suggestions that we all have heard over and over again. Things like, “be in the present moment”, “notice the beauty around you,” and blah, blah, blah. But I didn’t find anything that inspired me to really take note.
Since the past week is still fresh in my mind, I am paying attention to one specific relationship that I know will change in October.
I have an 82-year-old friend and mentor. She has guided me and offered words of wisdom since I met her about six years ago. We have been meeting once a month at a nice, unique restaurant in Portland, where she lives. We talk, laugh and share stories with one another. The latest story we discuss is her move – her final move – back to the Seattle area where she raised her children and where they still live.
We know our time is limited and although we dream about my someday visiting her on the West Coast, we are very aware that our monthly afternoon dates that consist of French Onion Soup, Duck Mousse with crisp toast and a glass of wine will end this fall.
I met with her this past Monday for our monthly date. I held on to every word, every emotion and soaked in the warm afternoon sun that streamed through the window we sat beside. It was if I was trying to capture every nuance to hold everything permanently in my memory. It then dawned on me that I must have been doing what I scoffed at previously – living in the present moment.
As stated earlier, sometimes we must experience a lesson profoundly before we fully learn the concept. I don’t know if I will truly capture the art of living in the present moment and to not take things for granted before other missed opportunities may come my way again. But, in this one case – I think I seized the experience of it on a small scale. This provides a sort of relief that instead of missing an opportunity, I captured one.
They say, “An opportunity is like train on the move. Once its doors have closed, it’s gone. But do stick around, another one is surely on its way.”