It my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. Caroline will be 22.
Earlier today I called her (she is away at University) and sung to her, “Twenty-one today”, over the phone. She laughed and asked why. My answer of course was that I will never again be able to sing that song to her as she will never again, on any future day in her life, be 21 years old.
This got me thinking about opportunity.
I clearly remember her birth and first few days. I spent a lot of time with her, caring for her and building a bond that has grown stronger with the years. Caroline and I seem to connect intuitively and tune in very quickly to each other. We share a lot of laughs and like many of the same things. Our special relationship is very precious to me.
After she was born, many of my friends asked me what were my hopes for her. I think many expected me to say I wanted her to be this or that, to shape her life with my dreams and ambitions.
None of that was true. From her first breath all I have ever wanted for her is to have the opportunities to be what she wanted to be, to create her own dreams and to be able to follow them to her own satisfaction.
My own dreams, goals and actions ever since have been about helping that to be true.
Caroline has grown to be a bright, strong, caring, principled and independent young women. I have been so pleased and proud that she (on the whole) has made great choices in life and is set on a path to achieve an ambition she has had since she was seven years old. To go into law. To stand up for what is fair, and right, and just.
Tomorrow she will be 22 and she will, in the morning, sit her final exam for her first degree in psychology. Assuming all goes to plan, she then intends to study for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in London. Another step towards her ambition.
She is standing at the door of opportunity and I know she will walk through and seize the chance to be the best she can be.
But it has also struck me that we are all standing at the door of opportunity.
Every day brings us chances and choices. Decisions to make that will either take us and our loved ones forward towards our dreams or, perhaps, away from them.
As I look back on my own life there have been times when I had spectacular opportunities.
To go to university a year early and study a course that would not exist a year later. To leave employment in medical research and venture into a new and challenging role in the private sector with no idea whether I would or could succeed. To walk down the aisle to marry my wife. To start working directly for clients as a self-employed consultant. To move house and area into the unknown. To venture into online learning to increase my reach to a wider audience.
I can’t say that I have always walked though every door of opportunity. I can say that whenever I have it has enhanced my life, my relationships and my happiness.
My daughter stands at a major door in her life and I know she will walk through it.
We all stand at doors at different points in our lives. Lets seize the opportunities that are open to us and make the best of our lives.