If we are lucky we get a second chance. A "do over". A second chance at life; after a long illness. A second chance at a career; after losing a job. A second chance at a strong marriage; after being close to a divorce. And even a second chance at love; after losing a loved one. Some of us embrace the change and jump into the pool head first. Ready to see what this new chapter has in-store. Some of us stand at the edge, frozen in fear. Afraid to move, afraid to take a chance. Afraid to let go of the past; afraid of the future. And then there are those of us who slowly creep up to the edge. We take our time…looking things over. Checking out the pool for any hazards that might lay ahead. Then carefully we dip in one toe. Just to test the waters. We want to jump in but not sure if we should. Our mind filled with "what ifs." What if this doesn’t work? What if the cancer comes back? What if I get hurt again? The unknown can be so scary. Like beginning to date after losing a loved one. At first finding someone new is not even a consideration. Your heart is broken into a million pieces. And you think you'll never be healed. But then the fog eventually begins to lift and you realize you have to live your life. It's time to join the living. You begin to engage with people. Suddenly you are saying “yes” to those invitations you consistently said “no” to so many times. You may even begin to start planning events on your own...just to help you feel like your old self again. You know you will never be exactly the same and you may even feel a little guilty. But you also know that your loved one would not want you to continue to shut yourself off. They’d want you to be open to new possibilities. So you go on living your life. Then before you know it someone catches your attention. Someone catches your eye. It may even be someone you would not have considered previously but the conversations are effortless and last much longer than you'd ever expect. You discover you like the same old movies; the same old songs. His sense of humor is contagious and you find yourself giggling like a teenager. His stories of struggle and survival strike a chord within you. His sense of honor and integrity is immeasurable. And you find yourself wanting the conversations and time together to never end. Something inside you begins to come alive. Something you thought had died a long time ago. It is then that you realize it is time. It is time to move on to the next chapter in your life. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten your lost loved one. That love will never die. But it does mean you are now open to the idea of a second chance.
Who knows in what direction this relationship is headed. For now it doesn’t even matter. What does matters most is that you are willing to take the chance. You are willing to dip your toe…your foot…your leg. Let the gentle waves pull you in as you cross over to the deep end of the pool. Before you know it you are waist deep wondering how did I get here and what will happen next. Do yourself a favor. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t overthink. Just be in the moment. Enjoy this gift that so many others are never given.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it won’t be scary. But I am learning that taking a chance on a second chance can also be thrilling, invigorating and at times super intense. Even with facing the unknown I’m ready to take my chances and go toward the deep end. I’ll either sink or swim. But I’m not too worried. After all, I’ve always been an excellent swimmer.