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Is There Such a Thing as a Missed Opportunity?

on dream jobs and the ocean of possibility

Is There Such a Thing as a Missed Opportunity?

A couple of weeks ago I learned that what I had considered a dream job--an assistant editorship at The Georgia Review, where I had the honor and delight to intern a couple years ago--had come up, been advertised, and been filled. And I hadn't been paying attention in the appropriate direction and had known nothing about it.

The very next day, a friend forwarded me a link advertising that the Tree of Life health retreat center is hiring for a raw chef. Cheffing at "The Tree" was another of my dream jobs. And I'm not even thinking of applying--now is not remotely the time, and now is the only time.

What does this say about the quality of my "dreams" when it comes to jobs?

The first thing it says is not about my dreams but about the vastness of the attentional space I/we all inhabit. Consider how easy it is not to know huge swathes of detail about the life of a person you sit across the table from every day. My dream of working at the Georgia Review  wasn't even as intimate to me as many people are to their spouses, and I simply assumed the opportunity wouldn't come up and let my attention linger elsewhere. There are so many things to attend to!

Staying with the vastness, what's up with the picture of a girl who dreams of being an editor at a literary magazine in the South but also dreams of being a chef at an exclusive healing retreat center at the Arizona-Mexico border? It's that multifaceting, that back-and-forth--the person who has flash-forwards as well as flashbacks, flash-hithers and flash-yons, so that she/I end up "in between" as I often say, the hub at the center of the coruscating vastness of potential plans and layouts for a life of dimensions, sometimes spinning with the spin, sometimes the still point within.

Soberly put, from a more linear perspective, from the perspective of manifestation literature, this is wishy-washy dreaming at its most ineffectual; this is failure to manifest; this is ignorance in the sense of not-knowing because you weren't paying attention to (were ignoring) the right thing at the right time. Were stumbling around bumbling into things and too lazy to figure out a more effective way to spend energy.

On that account, had I really meant my desire for the editor job, I'd never have set it aside as unlikely to come available; I'd have expressed that desire in the appropriate ears loud and clear and sincere (and pushy maybe); I'd absolutely have been reading the apppropriate classifieds etc. to know when the opening came; I'd have leveraged the fact that the staff there already know and like me to full advantage.

Why does this sound like someone else? Because my dream for that job was a hypothetical parallel universe, not the absolute sine qua non of my fulfillment in this lifetime. In other words, although I was chagrined to have missed the opportunity, it's not 100% clear to me that it really would be my ideal job. Because I'm also a person who likes to work as a chef, and an herbalist, and a health coach, and have abundant time for spiritual practices. In the realm of "real" conventional jobs, the editor position was one of the few that I could imagine myself into, could see myself doing excellently and enjoying doing.

Flash-forward, flash-back, flash-hither, flash-yon--here I am now, in a mirror maze of thens reflecting now and someday, so close I can smell their breath--a breath of impossible remoteness. These two mirages of job opportunities marched by in a parade of the infinite.

They paraded by at exactly the time I seriously began to meditate on the question what I'm really supposed to be doing "with my one wild and precious life." In that context, what they told me was:

  • There will always be opportunities along the lines of your dream jobs--this is an abundance universe.
  • If something comes up at the inappropriate time, it's not an opportunity at all, only an affirmation that opportunities always exist.
  • There's no such thing as a missed opportunity--if it was missed, it wasn't an opportunity. 
  • When you start to ask questions like "What am I supposed to be doing here?", the universe will start to parade before you some of the answers you had previously assumed--the easiest starting points--and that's why those jobs came to my attention precisely when they did.

More to say on much of this, but I take this as a signal to keep asking the question and to keep going deeper. What is the unifying principle that brings those disparate  editor/chef "dream jobs" together in a unique way? What intersection between what hither and what yon  should be the confluence where I sit to labor in love?  By asking these questions, I'm on the way to the answer, however long it may take.

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

Comments (5)

  • Stacy


    22 November 2015 at 17:16 | #

    Great post! I am exactly the same way, probably why we've always seen eye-to-eye on so much. I've never been able to shoehorn myself very well and if I let it get the best of me I can feel bad about it. Then again, I feel that it's modern society that tells us that we should just do one thing and one thing only, and that that idea in itself is a little ludicrous. In a way, I feel that the phrase "dream job" -- for people like us, anyway -- is a bit of an oxymoron. Or is it? Because it's always a dream that we could shoehorn ourselves thus, but we can't! :-)


    • Ela


      22 November 2015 at 23:57 | #

      Yes, I think "dream job" can be somewhat of an oxymoron, kind of like "free gift"! That's a pretty succinct way to express some of what I was driving at, I guess--if it's a dream job perhaps it remains in the realm of dreams!
      Been thinking of you--looking forward to catching up when the stars align :)


  • Cinthia


    22 November 2015 at 19:39 | #

    Love this post, Ela! And it's so true, that our "dream" jobs will come up again, at better organized/accepting times of our lives, though I've come to learn that what we think of as our dream jobs often turn out to not be our dream jobs at all. What a lesson! Hugs and have a great Thanksgiving.


    • Ela


      22 November 2015 at 23:59 | #

      Thanks, and lovely to see you on here! Yes, isn't it funny how something that's perfect "in your dreams" may not be quite so much in the muck and moil of real life situations.
      Happy hugs and holidays to you too--and you're going to be down here before we know it!


  • Elizabeth


    25 November 2015 at 11:40 | #

    “If something comes up at the inappropriate time, it's not an opportunity at all, only an affirmation that opportunities always exist.”

    LOVE IT!!!


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