A hand squeezes a lemon over a glass on a picnic table.

Thankful for the Opportunity

Too often, I find myself so caught up in my work and responsibilities that I forget to take a step back and reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. This past year has presented many challenges and victories scattered into my daily routine.

Changes throughout the year

I’ve moved to a new area and into an apartment with my girlfriend, I’ve made new friends, got involved in my community, achieved many accomplishments with my business, and have been free of major eczema complications for the first time in close to a year. These are all great experiences and a lot of things to be thankful for, but how are they all tied together? After some deliberation, I’ve realized that what I’m most thankful for this year is “opportunity.”

What is opportunity?

Opportunity is defined as “A time when a particular situation makes it possible to do or achieve something,” according to Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. Upon further reflection of the word and my experiences, I feel that I’m extremely fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve had. Especially when I consider there are individuals out there that aren’t as fortunate as I’ve been during my life. It’s humbling and a fact that many people take for granted.

What created my opportunities?

When I look back at my good fortune over the past year, there are many things I could say are the root of the opportunities I’ve created; hard work, relationships, or even luck come to mind. Sure, they all play a factor, but deeper than that, is where the real truth lies. In my case, I feel that the adversity I’ve dealt with concerning my eczema has helped create them for me. Those struggles have often left me feeling defeated, depressed, anxious, and leaning towards self-doubt. All of these perceived negatives surrounding my condition have forced me to adapt and push harder for what I want, even when I haven’t been up to the task.

When life gives you lemons...

We’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That phrase rings particularly true in my world. When my eczema was at its absolute worst, and my self-esteem was in the gutters, I could have easily succumbed to my struggles, but instead, I’ve used them as a tool to move towards progress. I took advantage of the opportunities at hand and transformed my experiences into a tool that allowed me to push forward during my toughest times. Trust me, it’s extremely easy to make excuses — and I’ve made many. But excuses don’t help you prevail. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities you’ve got.

What about you?

This Thanksgiving, my charge to you is to reflect on the opportunities you’ve had, have, and the ones to come. How can you use them as a tool to gear you towards success? How have they made you stronger? What have you learned from your failures, and how can you use them as a stepping stone towards improvement? As a whole, contemplate your past and where you want to go.

As Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Carpe diem.

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