A Moment to Capitalize On and Not Fritter Away
Monday October 29, 2012

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“Do you know what happens when someone lets go of your hand? You get it back. It’s a good thing . . . It means you have time . . . not to wash the dishes. To do something with it, to get out there, to take it to the next level . . . you gotta get out there. Do something and don’t look back.”
Grey’s Anatomy created by Shonda Rhimes
Whether you are a recent graduate from college, now free from the many responsibilities that a full college schedule demands, newly single after a relationship has come to an end or have experienced a child not needing your help as much as they once used to, in each of these instances it can be easy to become frightened. In each of these instances your life has changed based on who is no longer in it or the schedule you used to keep is no longer dictated by someone else. And while any change can be difficult, a change that occurs that takes away something you have become accustomed to can be unsettling. However, instead of looking at what you are lacking, I suggest you choose to look at what you are gaining.
One of the most jarring “hand letting go” instances is when the people in our lives move on especially when we don’t want them to or weren’t ready for them to. To all my fellow single readers I would encourage you to use this time of not having to “hold someone’s hand” as an opportunity to dive into yourself, develop your strengths, seek out new experiences and try things you’ve always been curious about. I recently read an article in The New York Times “Seeking Love? Find Strength in Numbers” which chronicled a gaggle of women in their twenties attending a lecture in TriBeCa to help inform them on where and how to meet their future husbands. I bring this article up not to applaud it, but to denounce it. Love can’t be scheduled, someone else’s timing cannot be controlled, but what can be controlled is whether or not we choose to develop who we have the potential to become.
Spending days, months and years after someone has let go trying to find another hand to hold is a waste of precious time that should be used to further your passions, further your dreams and build your confidence. Because there is nothing more attractive than a woman or a man who has become someone they are proud of and filled their resume with experiences that consist of more than just trying to find a mate. And while you are going about your business, chasing your dreams, you’ll be surprised who life has in store for you to have the opportunity to meet.
Now some may state that their passion is to be married and have children. I would frankly respond to such remarks by declaring that you’re not reaching high enough. Now don’t jump to conclusions. I’m not saying don’t dream of having children and being married. What I am saying is that such dreams can be attained ALONG with developing yourself and all the unique talents you possess. The best gift any one of us can give to ourselves, the world and if we choose to – our future spouses and children – is to be a well-rounded, learned and accomplished contributor to the society you wish to be a part of.
So whenever that time may come that you find yourself with a free hand, follow today’s maxim and get out there to capitalize on an amazing opportunity that won’t last forever.
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11 thoughts on “A Moment to Capitalize On and Not Fritter Away

  1. Shannon, this is such a great message. I’m in my fifties but remember the time after graduating, moving to a new town to start a new job but feeling like I was supposed to be taking the next step-marriage and family. The only problem – I wasn’t dating anyone. It was so hard to be patient with myself and to take time to build my new life but I’m so glad that I did.

  2. What a fantastic message! I am going to have my sister read. She has found herself recently single and you’ve written exactly what I have been telling her. Build your life then invite someone to share it with you.

    Great post!!

  3. I enjoyed this post until reading the part about you judging that people aren’t reaching enough if their dream is to become a mother and have children. It puts down stay-at-home moms since what they do is a full-time job. You can be well-rounded and a fully contributing member of society fulfilling your role as a stay-at-home mother. It’s not like you can’t cultivate interests by being one.

    Note, I am not actually a stay-at-home mom. I’m a married graduate student working full-time who fully appreciates and admires her mother, who is wonderful and interesting and contributed to society by raising me and my siblings. I think she has contributed much more to society, and is a much more fascinating person than I could ever be, and her passion is her children.

    The selflessness that comes with raising children is amazing. Never say that it is not reaching high enough.

    1. Frances,
      I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I believe that being a mother (stay at home or working) is the most tireless and underappreciated job. What I also believe is that any mother who brings to her children the gift of herself – developed talents and skills – is one of the most wonderful gifts she can bring and embody. To only focus on trying to marry and thus have children is limiting the person anyone can be – man or woman.

      With that said, my mother stayed at home while we were young and went to work when we were in school. I know her children were (and still are) one of her top priorities, but I also saw a woman who had her own passions and talents and who respected herself enough to continue to always develop these passions and skills. Skills and passions that were founded well before we came into her life, and for that . . . I am very thankful and respect her all the more.

  4. I say this sentiment has been more true of the close friendships I’ve lost over the past few years. After enough time has passed I’ve been able to let the exboyfriends fade away, but the sense of loss I feel from two friendships in particular has not diminished much and it’s been two years.

    It feels more akin to making peace with grief than it does heartache. For me, heartache was easier to manage with the support and love of my best friends. But as they are the ones now out of the picture I haven’t found a good way to process and get through their departure. I don’t know if these feelings are shared by others, but I’m trying to take a similar approach to digging deeper within myself and making peace with the loss. After all, life moves only forward and I won’t be left behind.

    1. Kelly,

      Thank you for your support. I can’t help but ask the question, what does that mean if a woman doesn’t marry? Does that mean our life never begins? Certainly a limited way of thinking and certainly a limited way of living.

      Life is as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it no matter what our relationship status, and for society to tells us otherwise may not be something we can control, but since we are part of society, we have the opportunity, and I believe the responsibility to change this perspective.

      Thank you for your comment.

  5. I agree with the idea you are after with this post. But why so judgmental? Why ” declare ” another human being if they are living or thinking up to your personal standards?
    I have a friend and her dream always was to first get married and have kids at youngest age possible. She did just that. She now runs a daycare center and is one of the most learned ladies in child development and – psychology. Constantly taking courses, constantly studying while running her expanding daycare center and her now big kids. But that´s not even the point here, that she so succeeds in life. The point is, she had a dream and she got after it and she lived it. I would never in my wildest dreams have declared to her that she was not reaching high enough. Because even if it wasn´t my dream, it was hers and for me to oppose her inner wants and needs would have been rude and condescending.
    Another friend of mine is battling a losing game against cancer. She tells me that her one thought to keep her still alive is to gain another day to be a wife to her husband and a mother to their still very small children. She wants nothing. more. Just another day of being a mother and wife.
    Third friend of mine is a very successful, executive lady. She lives a hectic life juggling a family and responsibilities that come with it. She always wanted to get kids early on life and to have a husband but her life played out differently. She got raped very early on. She lived in fear and dived to working instead. She feels blessed with her kids now but still feels insecure and let down by life.
    They all are your former readers. Emphasis of ” former “.
    Not everybody lives their lives the way you would like them to. Every person harbors their own desires and ambitions.
    And nobody reserves the right to condescend others for diverging from your own opinions.

    1. The definition of condescension is to assume an air of superiority. If there is anyone that I feel is superior in this situation it is each and every human being to never feel they have to lose their entire self to pursue a goal solely because society makes them feel unworthy if they don’t pursue it.

      My heart and soul is being a cheerleader for people, but especially women, to always keep their sense of self and to never lose it despite what society, culture or other family expects them to do with their life. Each person you spoke about is undoubtedly a wonderful, valiant person fighting their own battles and doing so with grace. And for each one you took the time to speak about, to have a friend like yourself in their corner, reveals your deep love and respect for them.

      As a young girl and as a teacher I have seen far too many young girls and women believe they have nothing to offer except children. See nothing of talent or value in themselves unless they marry or have children. That is the situation I speak to.

      My purpose in this post was present the idea that the dream of any woman (or man) should be to cultivate your own talents, much like that of your friend who took courses in psychology and child development to be a learned and skilled daycare owner, and not choose something because it’s what is at the top of everyone else’s list without exploring what is on the top of your own.

  6. How do you always seem to predict or understand what I am struggling with in my life? It’s just what I needed, Thank you for your posts, I check adoringly; your tips and advice has certainly become one of the highlights to my day!

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