Oftentimes, many of us rue the day we willingly let opportunities slip by, due to irrational beliefs about our inadequacies. There are countless factors and excuses that have held us back from getting on board with life. We feel we have missed the chance to move forward, by surrendering our onward ticket. However, once these chances fly by, does it mean they are lost for good, never to return, crushing all hope for second chances? It would be disheartening if this were true; surely there must always be a second chance or choice.

When catching a plane at the airport you need to be prepared; have your necessary documents, including ticket, passport and your bags packed. We are reminded to get there early, leaving a sufficient window of time to board the plane so we do not miss our flight.

In comparison, life is similar to catching a flight. Opportunities present themselves and if we don’t get on board sooner or later they take off, leaving us in their wake. Like planes, opportunities fly in and out, some earlier some later than others and it’s left to us to decide which one we wish to board. They take us to different places, provide experiences, we meet new people, learn new things and we broaden our horizons. When we miss these opportunities, we often come up with a myriad of excuses of why we didn’t take the flight but deep down, we are aware of the debilitating factors holding us back. We look prepared but inside we are plagued with self doubt and fear.

If we happen to miss our flight, there will always be one later. Some people reconcile missing opportunities by saying that it just wasn’t meant to be this time around. Of course, there is the fear, what if next time never comes? What if it was a rare opportunity and there is no way of knowing when it will reappear?

Are we to settle and wait by keeping an eye out for it, in the next five, ten, fifteen years? Surely there’s another option than this, as waiting is like being on constant standby. What are we waiting for? Time, maybe, but there is no such thing as the perfect time. There’s only now. All time does not exist outside of the present.

Inevitably, we get older, growing more accustomed to the way things are and change is a challenge. The idea of giving in and settling becomes more attractive as it requires no effort. Then again, maybe it does require effort, because then we are stuck performing a charade, seeming to be happy and fulfilled when deep down we are not.

If we miss a flight, it is easier to yell at the airline staff or blame traffic. Same goes for missed opportunities, we blame others or things outside of us. These excuses could be legitimate but they don’t alter the fact that you are now stranded. Of course, there are factors out of your control, like flight cancellations and inclement weather, but if you did all you could to make it there on time, then there’s nothing you can do and if you didn’t, there’s also nothing you can do.

Sometimes we pack unnecessary things for our travel. We carry things we don’t need, burdens, fears and the rest of it. We always end up paying for the excess baggage that we insist on lugging everywhere. Sometimes we miss our chance because we are too weighed down with the heavy and useless. It has been said, to make room for the new, you must let go of something old. This is much easier said than done, especially when the old has comforted us and kept us safe.

At some point, everyone has let an opportunity slip through their fingers. With hindsight, we are filled with regret and disappointment, but it is helpful to realise that opportunities, like landing planes, fly in and out at different times in life. It is your decision whether you’ll be onboard or not. To glide sky high or stay grounded? The choice is yours.