My aunt has always told me to think about one obvious thing, that we only have one life to live. Duh, you might say, but how many of us regularly forget to enjoy the things life is giving us? So, according to her, as we only have one chance to live a life full of happiness, we should take our existence seriously unserious. My aunt is a proof of that living after that motto is a healthy recipe for a good life. The lady I admire so much has worked as a UN ambassador, but before a life in politics, she spent a couple of years being a professional horse rider, a three people relationship in the swinging sixties, decided children would not work for her, and then found the sixty year old love of her life at forty-five.
She, and her equally politically successful engineer, then showed any doubters all that mature love is just as striking as the young one by getting married in their enormous rose garden. Surrounded by their small dogs, screaming roosters and friends from around the world they could have been on a poster for match.com.
When she was about to turn sixty the happy couple decided it was time to do something completely different from boardrooms and investigations, consequently they bought a horse farm out on the countryside. Ten years later they now live a life where mocking out the stables, and chasing after runaway stallions, is nothing out of the ordinary. Instead of retiring on the Riviera they, based on the farm, focus on local politics on the side. They are living a life that gives them time to watch the tomatoes grow in their greenhouse and to have endless cups of hot chocolate while reading four different papers. With this move they gave themselves the opportunity to pick the pace of their own life, and it is making them very happy. Even on a morning when the temperature is below 25 degrees and there are horses in need of their 6am feed.
My aunt and uncle have created a life without listening to what old conventions say they “should” do. They are living for themselves, and they took the opportunity to do what makes them excited about life.
For the happiness that has given them, I hold her as a great example of how to look upon opportunities. Life will give you a bunch of them, and how you yourself are responsible for taking the ones that will create a base for our own existence. My aunt might be successful career wise but she has always told me that I “shouldn’t care too much, and to “not overthink decisions”. Not when it comes to my career, and not when it comes to love.
That because one should take the choice that feels right in the moment, “life is long enough for you to do more then one thing” and changing your mind is not a very big deal. If I live my life focusing on being happy right now, instead of thinking that it will be so much better once I’ve done this or that, happiness, and a purpose in life, will come. And as Stephen Richards says, “happy people produce, bored people consume”.
My aunt claims the same, and means that if I choose what feels thrilling right now, it will not matter too much if your decision turns out to be wrong later. At least I will have created something, be it materialistically in assets, or maybe more importantly, intellectually in an experience. On top of that I will hopefully have learnt something and I have taken the opportunity to grow in terms of life excitement. To be enthusiastic, but calm when it comes to handling opportunities, really should be something to strive after.
As we all should aim to be happy with our relationships, and with what we are doing, we should constantly aim to grab some of the interesting opportunity that is thrown before us. But equally important is to not feel as if we’ve failed if some of them pass us by. My aunt (who by now I think you get that I think is splendid) says that she in some ways regret not having children, but at the time she could not see herself being a mum. If she then would live her life beating herself up over a lost opportunity, all the other choices of great moments in life would have been diminished. They might not have been as lasting as your child growing into an adult, but at the time they gave her something in her life to be glad about.
Opportunities really should be taken if they feel right, not chosen based on conventional standards, nor on opinions from people who are not living your life.
Opera Winfrey, who without a doubt is a woman who have both created opportunities herself, and taken the ones coming her way, once said, “I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear” She is right, and with saying this she really boil down the whole opportunity thinking right down to a thick sauce to pour over your own life.
Both Opera and my aunt are right when they say that life is about choosing love over fear. There is no need to worry as much as most of us do. Things will work out in the end, especially if you persistently try to choose opportunities based on happiness and love. I hold my aunt as a living example of that.