I am no expert on how to open up a futon bed. Unfortunately, that lack of expertise resulted in my sleeping diagonally on 2/3rd of a mattress, feet hanging over the edge, rolling like a boat in heavy seas as the futon frame rolled with my movements. That is how I found myself looking up at the ceiling of the guest bedroom, surrounded by morning light, and wondering what time it was. 5:50AM to be exact.
I live in the mountains, surrounded by tall redwood trees. The denseness of the leaves, as well as the height of these majestic beauties means that sunlight take a while longer to filter down to my house and alert me of the start of days.
But it wasn’t until that awkward experience at another house that I realized I was being robbed of a full hour of daylight. Now I know that I can look at apps and even old fashioned newspapers and see that daybreak is at 6:07AM and not 6:45AM like I would wish it to be. Yet the realization that at home I experienced one less full hour of sunlight kept my eyes open that morning and I wondered: what else have I been missing out on?
Missing out by choice
There are times of the year when waking up really, really early is easy. Other times not so much. While I mentioned being “robbed” of an hour of daylight, in pure truth I am purely culpable of robbing myself of that extra time. No discussion, case closed: I was missing out on that hour (and 2 weeks a year, after you add it all up) by choice.
Yes, there are instances in which we decide to miss out on something by choice. That choice may be propelled by fear, laziness, worry or discomfort. But it is essential, for our own personal development and for the purposes of working towards propelling ourselves towards our best future, to acknowledge that we are making a choice, even if that choice is to do nothing.
When is the option to do nothing no longer an option?
Maturity (or lack of it), experiences (or lack of them), circumstances (limited or not) provide us with different vantage points from which to make choices from. We can make the choice to miss out on an opportunity because we are inexperienced or feel limited by our circumstances. And yet 5, 10 years later, when presented with that same opportunity, our increased maturity and awareness of our strengths, as well as our ability to diminish circumstances versus being devalued by them, allows us to look at that same opportunity with fresh new eyes.
In our younger years, it seemed tolerable to choose not to choose – we had time on our side and could calmly return to these opportunities at a later time. We could choose to purposely “rob” ourselves, to purposely miss out, and feel okay with whatever excuse we came up with.
Yet there comes a time, and for each woman it’s different, when (even with 40, 50 years ahead of us), the thought of losing another minute, by choice, is no longer an option. When this time comes, a woman no longer accepts blaming anyone else for being “robbed” – the blame falls squarely on her shoulders and it is that exact conviction that motivates and propels us forward, to attain a place in life where if anyone is going to be robbing me of an extra 2 weeks of productivity a year, it’s only going to be me and no one else.
Missing out by lack of knowledge or experience
Now it would be fair to say that there are millions of things (knowledge, education, experiences, situations, etc.) that I am missing out on and most of them I don’t even know about. It would also be fair to say that while I could intentionally, from today forward, experience something new each day (or even each hour) and still have missed out on millions of things when I die.
I stated earlier that in every situation, experience, breathing moment of our lives, we have a choice. I acknowledged that I would never experience everything and everyone in this world. But I have the choice to
- A) never bother investigating what I’m missing out on or
- B) leap into new experiences and by choice decide to miss out on an experience because it just didn’t fit or
- C) leap into new experiences, acknowledge they don’t fit, and leave traces of the experience as bread crumbs for my future self.
(Remember how I said that with maturity, experiences, and circumstances, our decisions can vary between the years of our existence? I truly doubt that something tried once may not fit better later on in life, if tried again. What do you think? #nomissingout)
So, today, after having chosen to no longer stand still and think that your greatness is just over the horizon, out of reach, to be admired from afar but never be truly lived, what choice will you make? Will you continue to miss out on purpose or refuse to experience new situations that may reveal an essential missing ingredient of your greatness? Let me know what choice you make #refuse2miss
How to find out what you are missing out on
I know, I know. I can already hear you saying “how can I possibly know what I’m missing out on, since I’m not missing it right now?”
Yes, you may be content with thinking that you know everything you need to know about yourself this very second. But what if part of your greatness requires harnessing a skill that you haven’t even started yet (a skill that you were born to practice, share, master!)? Are you willing to look around the corner, even if you think all that’s there is a scary, lonely alley? You’ve made the choice to no longer stand still, so if you are game, try the steps below. Let’s get started on minimizing what we are, either by choice or lack of knowing, missing out on.
(And if you are slightly hesitant, easily coming up with excuses as to why you are okay with what you know and are choosing to ignore right now, take 5 minutes and go through the exercise of identifying the power of your why.)
Step 1: Ask
Ask those around you that love you, care about you, and know you intimately well, if they can identify something you are missing out on. These are the people that may know you better than you know yourself at this point, or may have seen you go through seasons in life where you willingly left things behind, parts of yourself. These are the people that realize the value of what you are missing out on and want to see you gain it back! Give them the opportunity to share with you – who knows, they may have been waiting patiently for just this moment.
What if the advice is just too far-fetched?
Once you get this feedback, simmer on it for a while. Some of the advice may seem far fetched (and may have you wondering if these people really know you at all) – if so, see if you can test out a small portion of what you are missing out on. Before completely throwing the idea out the window, test it out. (This all goes back to choosing to complain about lack of time while in reality choosing not to take advantage of the more available time there already exists.) If you test it out and it still doesn’t feel right, then the choice to miss out on purpose will be an educated one.
Step 2: Do something new every day
Order a different coffee drink, take another street to work in the morning, wear flats if you always wear heels, change your laptop mouse from right to left handed, choose to smile and say hello to the first 10 people you see, spontaneously book an airline ticket to a city you’ve never been to before.
The size of whatever new you try doesn’t matter. It’s the act itself that will reveal something new to you. A new coffee drink may reveal that you are missing out on a great new honey/caramel concoction; a different street may reveal (and confirm) that you enjoy a new challenge here and there and need to incorporate more of them in your daily routine; visiting a new city may confirm that while you say you love to travel and be surrounded by new things, deep in your heart you are a homebody and you’ve been missing out on that with thoughts of needing to travel to place that really don’t do much for you right now.
Kudos on choosing to no longer blatantly miss out on your best you! What are you choosing to learn today? #nolongermissingout
(By the way, I’ve walked some of those scary looking alleys, peeked into some dark doors…and have come out finding out some great new coffee shops or chatting up a fantastic musician or even got a behind the scenes peek of how fortune cookies are prepared. You truly never know what you will learn unless you first decide to leap in and try.)
I love reflecting on purposeful, thought-provoking life experiences and turning them into life purposes. I am a writer dedicated to sharing life-lessons to empower women to attain their best life by turning experiences into passion-driven action.
When I'm not studying life, I'm intentionally living it. I enjoy art (admiring it and creating it), nature, and I'm a beginner sewer in the attempt to sew my own unique clothes.
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