Gratitude for Lost Opportunities

Facebook has a new feature where users can see what posts they had made on that day in the past. I’ve enjoyed seeing the stories as they come up. One of the recent ones reminded me that last year this time I was eagerly waiting to hear if I was selected to be a Book Riot contributor.

Looking back, I am now really glad I didn’t get it. That would have taken a lot of time and diverted much of my writing efforts. My novel was in its infancy, and I know how easily it would have been pushed aside for the deadline of having at least one publishable piece a month for their website. I was sad at the time, but even then I was thinking ahead.

When I think back to the jobs I didn’t get, I know some of them would have been interesting, like working at a detective agency. I loved Moonlighting.


In my head the job would have been just like that.

A more recent job that I didn’t get has me feeling as grateful now for the lost opportunity as I was mourning at the time. It was an administrative position for an insurance office. I was desperate to get out of my life-consuming automotive job, and I could do this position in my sleep. The latter point was exactly why I didn’t get it. The hiring manager took the time to call me personally and said that I was capable of so much more. He didn’t want to hold me back.

In that moment I knew what it felt like to be told I wasn’t living up to my potential. At the time I didn’t want to – a kickback job was what I wanted and needed. But he was right. After a short while I would have been bored. I probably (never say never) would not have started down the path to my current job that I love without his push. I’m grateful now, but at the moment I was devastated.

On Facebook the other day someone asked, “Which do you long for more: the past or the future?” My response was essentially that I’ve lived the past, so I know how it turns out. I’m looking forward to the future, but in its own time.

I’m at a point in my life where I want to be in the now and see how all those paths I didn’t pick (or was never offered) turned out to be for the best.

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