April 28, 2024

There Really Are Windows

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There’s a magical moment in spring when the air is crisp, the sun is warm but not scorching, and the garden beckons with promise. It’s that sweet spot when the soil is just right for serious weeding and plotting where each plant will thrive. This brief interlude arrives before the heat becomes too oppressive or the weeds too overwhelming.

Life offers similar fleeting windows of opportunity. Consider the brief span when asking someone to prom is not only acceptable but also allows enough time to find the perfect outfit. Or the narrow window after college before diving into a career, when trekking around the world is a feasible adventure without derailing future plans. Later may still be an option, but it often requires a more intricate dance to make it happen.

Another crucial window is the contemplation of life after the structured routine of a career. It’s the space between the overwhelming final days at work and the hectic pace of family life, where envisioning the future feels less daunting. Lately, many people have mentioned this “window,” as if a multitude of possibilities suddenly appeared where there once seemed to be none. Once you see these possibilities, it’s challenging to ignore them.

We often believe that planning for major life changes, such as a career shift or redefining our identity, can wait until a more convenient time or until we feel more prepared. I’ve met many couples who delay addressing long-standing relationship issues because they don’t consider them “serious enough,” only to wake up one day and find the issues have escalated. Similarly, I’ve encountered individuals who wish they were pursuing a different career path but feel stuck in their current situation without a clear path forward.

The list of reasons keeping us stagnant is as long as the situations that confine us, which is disheartening. If we keep putting off looking through the window of opportunity we’ve suddenly noticed, will we ever take the leap? Are we so paralyzed by fear that the idea of taking action seems insurmountable? Yes, that fear is precisely what keeps us stuck.

The most challenging part is not just experiencing this stagnation ourselves but also witnessing it in others, where the struggle feels palpably close and personal. It’s intriguing how we often find ourselves in situations we wish to escape but resist making the necessary changes. This resistance might stem from the fear that we’ve missed our chance. Yet, in reality, that window of opportunity is likely still open.

For instance, I’ve resisted starting yoga despite knowing its benefits as I age, fearing that I’ve missed the ideal time to begin. However, this fear is unfounded, as many others also started as novices. Is this fear of looking inexperienced the same barrier preventing us from exploring new paths? Could it be as simple as not wanting to feel a bit foolish?

Admittedly, some goals may no longer be within reach. You might not become the youngest person ever drafted for a major sports team or be named a principal dancer in a prestigious company without prior training. However, what opportunities await you now? It’s those very opportunities I urge you to seize.

Although it took me a while to realize how fleeting these perfect spring days are, they do pass quickly. What remains undone becomes more challenging to achieve in the heat of summer. The same principle applies to planning for your future; the time to plan is now, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor later.

Want help making your plans or strategizing how to best take advantage of a window before it closes on you? Feel free to reach out for more support – I look forward to hearing from you.

photo credit: nicolas salorieu

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