It’s not what you’re looking at that matters, it’s what you see...
A question posed in a recent sociology lecture was how many opportunities do we miss because we are too afraid to take a risk? The answer for me was quite simple, too many! Opportunities are right in front of us all the time it’s just a matter of finding them, seeing them and seizing them.
For me, the biggest opportunity of my life so far was moving back to Edinburgh. Being Scottish and always having felt the outsider, I relished the thought of moving back, especially after the turbulent few years that have just passed.
My mother made the decision to move the family (herself, my brother and I) down south, to a place just outside Cambridge, UK just after my father died. Being so young when this took place I would have to say that I have been brought up around Cambridge and it’s really all I’ve known. Of course I knew Edinburgh, I still had the Scottish accent when we first moved ect... but really I only knew of it what little I could remember from early childhood, what little (very little) I’d been told and occasional visits. However I am still Scottish, and am thoroughly proud of it.
The opportunity came after two particularly bad years. Even I, ever the optimist, cannot put a good spin on everything that happened, other than that of hindsight and learned lessons. After moving out at 16 to live with a family friend 30 odd miles away, (who thought it a temporary issue) and getting a job in the local supermarket the move became ever more permanent and therefore created more rifts and misunderstandings, after another turbulent few months, having no other place to turn, came the opportunity that saved the day, week, month year...life?
This opportunity came in the form of my aunty. My dad’s sister. And if I’m honest it was there all along, I just never saw it. This opportunity bought with it many others, the most appealing being the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and re-invent myself.
HOWEVER – Enough of the life story already!
It is this opportunity that I find most rewarding and frustrating! With the advantage of a new perspective and whole new lease of life, I see people all around me stuck in a rut, desperately trying to get out and go places but are held back by fear. I know it is easy to dream of even write of but having done it I can say it is 100% worth it.
I do realise that it is only worth it if it succeeds, and that others have more to lose than I did but really the long and short of it is that you’ll never know until you try.
Do you lie awake at night thinking what if? What if I took off tomorrow and never came back? What if I walked into the office tomorrow handed in my notice and told my boss what I think of him and his team building exercises? Do you lie awake thinking I made the wrong decision? Do you long for independence from parents, the confines of a 9-5 routine or a broken relationship? Wishing things were different. Or do you simply want to break out and do something new? Write a book, build your very own Grand Design, learn a new language, book a random holiday, climb the nearest mountain, I could go on...
Does it ever cross your mind to think of what is stopping you? Not just passing thoughts while day dreaming such as what would the kids say? Or how would I fund it? But really think of what has stopped you from realising dreams ambitions or opportunities? What is it that is really stopping you from coming up with solutions to funding issues or childcare? Is it the same thing that stopped me from grabbing the bull by the horns and telling my mother exactly how I felt?
Is it fear?
After the last few eye opening years, I have come to believe that you should feel the fear and do it anyway! Ironically enough that very belief is in fact the title of a book that caught my eye when I tucked myself into a corner of the library to study a few weeks ago!