Lost opportunities are a plague for many of us. They fill us with regret, with a wistful desire to have a "do-over." If only I had done this, or that, I tell myself. If only I had taken a chance. If only ...
My regrets run the gamut, frequently focusing on the things I didn't do. I look at children, at their inhibitions, their love of life, their total confidence that they can't fail. When did I--when did so many of us--lose that?
Did it happen during the black hole of the middle school years? Or did it happen earlier? For me, it was a loss of self, a loss of belief. I felt it seep away and was powerless to reclaim it. Only in my writing have I found a piece of that fearless child who was ready to try, to dare anything.
I speculate that most of us feel that we have lost pieces of ourselves along the way. Perhaps it was an insensitive teacher who made you feel less than you were. Perhaps it was even well-meaning parents who wanted you to follow one path while your heart yearned to choose another. Finding those lost pieces, reclaiming them, takes commitment, resolve, and determination. It requires setting a goal, going after it, then doing it again and again.
So, for today, I am grateful for courageous people who seek the lost pieces of themselves and find them in unexpected places.