“Life is not a dress rehearsal.” “You only get one shot at this life.” “Y.O.L.O. – You Only Live Once.”
I always see quotes along these lines and while I get the intent behind them, it’s a lot of pressure to get everything right the first time. Pressure to not make mistakes, take a wrong path or make a bad decision. My life to this point is a culmination of my successes, yes. But, it is also a culmination of my mistakes, as well. Because I simply wouldn’t be where I am today without either. Right? If you don’t make mistakes, fall flat on your face or have to stick your foot in your mouth on occasion, are you living at all? No. You’re playing it safe. You’re floating through your days, and the only mark you shall leave in your wake is a slight ripple from passing by.
I have been thinking a lot lately about second chances. Doing something now that I was too afraid to do way back when. Taking a journey down roads, I did not have the courage to when they appeared the first time. Letting people back into my world who hurt me. Call it a “Risk Assessment” of my life up to this point. My ponderings have led me to one very solid conclusion; I am very adept at playing it safe. Very adept. Too adept. I am starting to feel like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz – I need courage.
Courage to give missed chances another go. Courage to reopen doors I had closed with solid finality at one time. Courage to look at all the chances I didn’t take when I had the chance, and hope to hell I can do something about it now. Courage to go back to situations I handled poorly the first time around and tried to make it right. Courage to let certain people back into my life because while I know, we can’t change the past, we can start fresh from now.
I never used to believe in second chances. Certain things that were a deal breaker for me when I was younger, now aren’t nearly as important as I thought they were. Like giving people another chance and letting the past go. Knowing and appreciating that I am not the only one who has made mistakes and if I am to cut myself some slack, there are some I must do the same for, as well. Also, it’s knowing that just because something didn’t work out in the past, doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be. It just means that the timing was off, and I need to take that into account. Maybe it was supposed to happen later in my life. Maybe when the opportunity arose back in the day, it just wasn’t in the stars at that particular moment. Completely writing it off now seems silly. What if the timing is right now, where it wasn’t the first time? Do I want to let it go again? Do I want to live with the regret of never taking the chance?
There are many chances I will never see again. Moments I will never get back because I was either too stubborn, afraid or hurt to see through to the other side of the situation. It is within these I discovered the beauty in second chances and within them, I finally found my lesson.
Every single day we are alive is a second chance to get it right. Every single day is an opportunity to fix what is broken in our worlds. To see what is lacking, empty and unhappy and make it better. To take leaps of faith, to reach out to people we loved and lost for whatever reason. To open doors we have closed, break down walls we have built and find our courage to live life not as a dress rehearsal but as i was meant to be lived and experienced – fully, honestly, courageously and filled with love. Each moment we have on this earth is a chance to do what you dream of. To find what you love and hold on to it. To trust that while not everything will work out, at least, you had the courage to try. To know that at the end of your days, when you look back, you will see all the chances you took, lessons you learned from them and all the amazing things that worked out because you just took that chance.
Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Take second, third and fourth chances while you can. Find your courage. Go down roads you didn’t take the first time to see where they lead. Don’t shut down the possibilities because of fear. Take the chance to say something you have held onto for far too long. Take a chance to change your life every time an opportunity arises. They won’t all work out. But some will. Some will work out in ways you never imagined.
You only live once. Give and take second chances.
Look for what fate hurls back into your life. Look at the events that conspired to bring you back to something you thought lost forever. What you do in these moments will make all the difference.
Explore the possibilities.