a journey into Wonderland
|Create a blog entry (or static item) about an opportunity of a lifetime – a key to achieving something very important. Do not drop your gloves and fan! (<1000 words)
For some reason, opportunities tend to pull us from home or from wherever we are comfortable and land us somewhere new where we have to learn things over and over again. Alice learned that, of course. My life has been full of uprootings and replantings and moments of excitement. When I was a senior in high school, I was chosen to represent my school at a symposium. Which apparently meant living at a hotel for a weekend while I was lectured with a bunch of other high school students I didn't know. I did have fun. I remember that. But I didn't really remember anything else, like what they were trying to tell us.
So, here the insight is that it doesn't matter if we have an opportunity of a lifetime if we don't reach out and grasp it, taking advantage of everything it offers. Or maybe, opportunities are multifaceted. Just because someone doesn't grasp overlying reason for a gift doesn't mean that their takeaway isn't just as important to grasp. I may not remember the lectures or the purpose of that weekend, but I remember the honor and the fun, so maybe that was my opportunity.
Recently, my sister Rose got on a plane to visit another sister, Madeline, who currently lives in Germany with her USAF husband and three kids while Carter was on deployment. Because Rose is an artist, they did some sightseeing over there and managed to visit the Louvre among other things. Maybe that could be considered an opportunity of a life time, especially since she was someone who would really appreciate the paintings in that great museum. I'm not sure I would appreciate it as well. So, there is an element in these keys to our own personalities and interests. If I had gone to Germany, my opportunities would have been different from Rose's, because I am a different person in general.
So, the insight here is that the phrase opportunity of a lifetime is something that changes person to person, depending on interests. Some people will go to Germany and eat only McDonalds because that's familiar. They'll stay in their hotels and never speak to a German person, and never realize that they could have had the same experience for a lot less money on a roadtrip to South Dakota.
A few years ago, now, I finished my thesis. It took years and deadlines, and ultimately the realization that I needed the structure of a class and the knowledge that my professor was leaving the university to make me finish. I realized the part about the class, first. So, that semester, I signed up for a fiction workshop. And then I realized that my professor was leaving our university for a better opportunity and that if I ever wanted to get this thesis done, I needed to get on it, reorganize my committee, and get a working copy to them by the deadline. In this case, I suppose the key was the process. I need deadlines to make me focus enough to write sometimes. But because I had the process and the impetous, the key, if you will, I was able to finish my thesis and finish my MFA, something that I'd been focused on (more or less) for over a decade in one way or another. That had been through getting ill and coming back to things and Rachel's eye and all sorts of distractions.
So, the insight there is that keys come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. And like Alice, if the key doesn't currently fit the lock, maybe I could change enough to make it fit in the future. Opportunities of a lifetime are not just things that appear out of nowhere and change everything. Generally, they come because of effort on our own parts.
And now, as I close my eyes and dream of the next thing that could bring my life into focus, I picture a key forming. I don't know what shape it will take or where it will lead me or what lessons I will find on my journey toward it, but I'm ready to pick up my fan and gloves and make my way there.
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