Second Chances

by Anise Flowers

There is a line in a song from my favorite Kenny Loggins album that says “You get one chance at a life to give it all and get it right.” You get one chance at a life.  Wow, that really puts the pressure on to get things right.  This idea can drag you into the mire of regrets.  Do you spend time reflecting back on choices you have made?  Decisions where you think you went wrong?  Should we dwell on those past events?

I certainly have personal regrets.  Regrets about a business that was not profitable and how I would run things differently now.  Regrets about women who abruptly left my life, ending significant friendships.  And more than anything, I have regrets about the unraveling of my marriage.

If I could travel back in time now, I would handle the marriage demise so much differently.  I would know that I had to stay happy for myself, no matter how depressed my husband became.  I would not feed into his sense of unworthiness.  I would appreciate more and complain less.  I would reach for a state of love, even when the conditions around me were pulling for anger and rejection.  I would live my chance much differently.

The song says “You get one chance at a life to give it all and get it right.” But wait, there is more.  The chorus goes on to say “But you get endless second chances to take it One Chance at a Time.”  Endless second chances, as in an infinite number.  To take life, one chance at a time.  For me this means that regrets about the past are a waste of time and energy.  For living life one chance at a time means living NOW, in this present moment -- In this present “Chance”.  What a huge relief for my soul to know that life is a series of new beginnings.  New chances for a successful business.  New chances at meaningful relationships.  Endless opportunities to make all of my dreams come true. 

Have you ever received a second chance?  During my graduate degree in Clinical Child Psychology, we had to pass a General Exam with both written and oral components.  While this was a stressful process, everyone usually passed as long as you completed the necessary preparations.  But not Me. I failed my General Exam.  To say I was devastated does not begin to describe the experience of failure.  I was 27 years old and had been an A student all of my life, excelling at academics.  The fall off of this cliff was enormous and painful.  However, I had a second chance.  I met with the three faculty members to listen to their suggestions.  One professor, Dr Gouvier remarked that I didn’t express my knowledge well enough in response to the verbal questions.  He didn’t doubt my knowledge base, but felt that I needed to be more grounded in psychology and give a more in depth verbal response.  I took this suggestion to heart and passed the General Exam the next time. 

In fact, I still think about this important experience today as it affects my current job.  For the past 10 years, I have been teaching workshops to other professionals.  And I often get asked difficult questions in front of large groups of people. This is kind of like having endless oral exams!! So the skills I learned, the ability to answer those tough oral questions, is critically valuable even now. 

As the song says, you have second, third, fourth, endless chances.  So, I hope you are feeling relieved. You don’t have to live life feelings as if you need to get everything right.  None of us will.  We will all have regrets and mistakes.  The key is residing in the knowledge that second chances are endless.  You are inherently blessed with second chances.  Now you can relax, breathe into the present moment.  And fully experience your life Right Now. One moment, one day at a time.

“You get one chance at a life to give it all and get it right…But you get endless second chances to take it One Chance at a Time.”  -- Kenny Loggins