This saying is something that I’ve always disagreed. Since I left for college and started making my own decisions people have continually said this to me about a lot of the places I’ve gone and things I’ve done. Once in a lifetime… It holds so much weight in a single decision. Is this really the one time you will have this opportunity? Do people believe this because they believe opportunities are something that only happen when they falls into your lap?
Yeah, I won’t argue that there are certainly some things that can only happen once in a lifetime like your 21st birthday, getting chickenpox, first kiss, your freshman year of college ect. However, there are so many things that most people classify in these categories that really could be done as many times as you can imagine (taking out monetary/legal/physical ability issues). I believe that opportunities aren’t lucky, they are something that you continually drive your focus into. For example, living in a foreign country such as study abroad. The amount of times I heard people tell me “that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity” in reference to my or someone else’s study abroad plans is ridiculous. Of course, I can’t go back with the same people at the same time in the same country but that’s similar to all of life’s experiences. I believe that as long as you work really hard, prioritize your funds and have the desire to do that one thing, it will get done.
Never let anyone tell you it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you really want it you will make it happen again.
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My Dad shared a quote by Terry Pratchett awhile back that I wanted to share:
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
Every time I travel somewhere and meet new people I end up sharing my stories of the places and experiences I’ve had. It makes me realize how lucky and grateful I am for these opportunities but it also reminds me of who I was and where I am now: emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. How I appreciate the person I was before but value the person I have come to be because of the experience I’ve had.
As a teenager and much of the time I spent in PA I slightly took for granite what was given to me that I absolutely did not deserve. However, the more I see the more I am humbled. This has created a calming peace in negative circumstances and an overflow of happiness in positive situations that is invaluable for a joyful life. For this, I am extremely grateful for the time and financial support I have had to leave in the past few years and hope I can continue this practice of openness and kindness for the rest of my life.
This quote also brings up a topic of leaving. I get serious family fomo and as many of you know I live for the moments that my parents, Alex, Lori and I are all together doing things we love (hiking, drinking beer and remising on old memories). Yet, as cha boy Terry puts it it’s important to leave so that you can come back to see your home with a different perspective. I’d like to believe the people who have known me for some time appreciate the person I am now and hopefully I can bring something different into their lives that I couldn’t before. Additionally, it makes those moments of togetherness so much more special as we get to witness how each other has grown in the time apart.
This is why I leave, to find a temporary home and temporary family but always come back to the people who light up my life.
July 5, 2017