Sometimes we let fears and uncertainties hinder us from grasping opportunities put in front of us, and we can miss out on some wonderful things.
Like gummy bears.
I try not to let myself have regrets in life—everything happens for a reason, and we take the paths we do with purpose. But I have to acknowledge that there are definitely moments in my life that I look back upon and wish I had done things differently.
When I was in the eighth grade, I had a huge crush on this boy who probably didn’t notice me much. At a school dance that year, there was a moment when a slow song came on, and he was standing all alone. Part of me wanted to walk up to him and ask him to dance with me, but the part of me that feared rejection won that battle. I wish I had been braver. What’s the worst that could have happened? Sure, he could have said, “Eww, gross. No.” That would not have been the best situation, but I would have survived it.
Flash forward to the next year, and I quite literally hid from another opportunity. I was on my way back to class one day, and the halls were completely empty—except for the one person (a different guy I had a crush on) walking in the opposite direction as I was. I had a choice to make: I could walk by him and not acknowledge him, or I could say hi and play it cool. I chose option C and dodged into the nearest classroom, which happened to be full of all seniors. I awkwardly stood with my back against the door like I was a fugitive on the run as their confused eyes stared at this strange freshman who said nothing but, “Just give me a minute” before disappearing as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I wish I had simply walked past him and greeted him. It seems really ridiculous that I didn’t, and I wasted a chance to be brave.
Then there was last week, when I let a prime opportunity slip right through my fingertips. A couple of my coworkers and I went to get snow cones for lunch (as any normal healthy adults would do), and this is no standard snow cone place—it is THE REAL DEAL. You can mix ice cream inside the snow cone, you can get cream-type ones, and you can even get toppings. TOPPINGS, people. I stood there like a fool, truly wanting to get gummy bears on top, but when it came time for me to order, I requested only the birthday cake snow cone. Gummy bears are my favorite candy in the entire world, and I didn’t get them. It’s not like the extra $0.25 for the topping would break the bank. I was slightly hesitant because I thought maybe the gummy bears would get too cold (even though they taste great that way) or that maybe the snow cone maker wouldn’t put enough of them on there. Whatever the reason, I didn’t get the gummy bears—and I was immediately sad about that. Yes, the snow cone place is still there, and I’m sure I’ll return there (and make the right decision next time), but it was a chance for something great that I let pass me by.
The truth is that we get a number of opportunities every single day. Some of them don’t seem so monstrous in the grand scheme of things, while others are pretty huge decisions we make. We only get to do this whole life thing once, and I think it’s important to take advantage of the chances you get—especially the ones that, deep down in your heart, you truly want to do. At least you’ll have answers rather than sitting back later and wondering what would have happened if you simply would have dared to chase your dreams, dared to love, dared to speak words straight from your heart, dared to trust, dared to hope, dared to forget about comfort zones for a moment in time, dared to let yourself be bold.
And dared to live with a passion that is, as Barney Stinson would say, legendary.
I’ve been trying to live so that I seize opportunities, and as the snow cone incident proves, I have a ways to go. But I do try to remind myself how short life really is in the big picture—and it goes by so quickly. There are so many moments that we could enjoy that we don’t. There are so many chances that should be taken that aren’t. There are so many possibilities that never come to be because we don’t let them.
It’s not always easy to be brave, and life can certainly throw some pretty intimidating situations your way. But sometimes those are the best ones—the ones that make you uncomfortable yet ultimately bring you peace and help you grow. Whether it’s for love or for gummy bears or for yourself, sometimes you simply have to go for it.
Because you don’t want to find yourself eating such a wonderful snow cone but wishing it had an even sweeter topping.