I believe in taking opportunities. William Arthur Ward once said “Opportunities are like sunrises—if you wait too long, you miss them”. To me, there is complete truth in this quote. Taking opportunities goes hand-in-hand with living without regrets. As cliché as this may sound, it is what I believe to be true.
There are so many opportunities that I did not take when I was younger because I was simply afraid. When I was younger, I didn’t join the baton twirling club and Girl Scouts because I was afraid. These lost opportunities led to regrets. There are plenty of moments in my life that if I could go back, I would take advantage of the opportunities that I had and did not take. I had to do some growing before I came to the realization that if I continued to miss opportunities, my whole life would be full of regrets, and that was something that I did not want to live with.
I came to this realization during my sophomore year of high school. While using the computer one day, I found a letter addressed to me buried in a pile of papers on the desk. I assumed that my mom had read it because it was open. The letter was from the People to People organization inviting me on a three-week trip to Europe. I asked Mom why she had not shown it to me and she said that she didn’t think I would want to do it, so she hadn’t bothered to show it to me. To her surprise, I did go on the trip and, to this day, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I often wonder about the opportunity I would have missed if I had not accidentally found that letter.
Going on the Europe trip was an eye-opener for me. Not only because of what I saw and experienced, but because of what I came to understand. Surprisingly, this was something that my parents had been telling me for years, but I never really understood until I experienced it myself. My parents told me that I should take every opportunity that came my way because I can’t get them back. Because of this advice and because I personally saw the trip to Europe as an once-in-a-lifetime event, I went for it. And I have no regrets about my decision.
To this day, I have tried to live life by taking all the opportunities that I can get because I don’t want to look back on my life when I am 90 years old and say that I wish I would have done this or that. I want to be able to look back at my life and believe that I lived life to the fullest and that I have taken many opportunities that have come my way. I believe that by taking opportunities, you learn about yourself along the way. I know I did.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.