[2 minute read] (ESL learners – click on the bolded words to see explanations and notes. Try the exercise at the bottom after! 🙂 )
If you are one of those people who constantly worry that they are missing out… If you peruse social media like a cat ready to pounce and frantically call up all your friends to see what’s going on where…
Let me tell you something.
Yes, you are. You are indeed missing out.
In fact, you are always missing out. By the very laws of time and the universe. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, there are, at any given moment in time, dozens, maybe even hundreds, of events, get-togethers, parties, conversations, or what have you happening in your neighborhood, city, or at least within an accessible distance from where you are. And if you are one of those people who are prone to hopping on a plane and disappearing somewhere for the weekend, the number of events we must count gets multiplied exponentially.
Since there is no way you can possibly be everywhere at once, of course you are missing out. On everything. Except for one thing.
There is one thing you can choose to do at any given time. One thing you can give the gift of your attention. One thing on which you’re not missing out. This is your one “yes”. And attached to it are a million other “no’s”. If you choose to go to a party, you are at the same time saying “no” to spending time with your family, to a quiet evening relaxing at home, to catching up on work, to studying to become a better professional, to moving forward in that online course you’re taking, and to a million other possible things. They say when one door closes, another opens; in this case, when you open one door, all the others slam shut.
You might not have certainty if the door you’re choosing is the best one: if it will lead to the most fun evening, the most productive use of your time, the right person for a date, the best chance at making new friends, or even just a plain and simple enjoyable evening. In fact, you can’t have any assurance that the door you choose won’t lead to total disaster.
But, you can rest assured that every “door”, every choice you make, will inevitably lead to *something*. Maybe you’ll regret it at first, then realize later it happened for a reason and feel thankful. Maybe it’s just a mistake you can learn from. Maybe it will have a perfectly mundane but harmless outcome. And maybe it will be one of the best experiences of your life. But it certainly won’t be any of these things if you spend all your time and attention worrying about the things you’re missing out on. Since it’s inevitable you’ll be missing out on a great deal of things anyways, it’s pointless to let such worries ruin your one experience — your one and only presence.
Life is not about always choosing the best choice. Sometimes it’s about falling flat on your face. Whatever happens, only if we dedicate ourselves fully to what we’ve chosen can we actually make something of the situation, whatever it may be.
This is the real beauty of life the the choices we make — seeing where it all takes you, while at the same time making the most of the situation to be the best person you possibly can.
ESL Notes (14 words / expressions)
Definitions written with reference to Cambridge Dictionary
to peruse: to read through something in order to find the part you’re interested in. (Back to the text)
to pounce: to jump or move quickly in order to catch or take hold of something. (Imagine a cat trying to catch a mouse). (Back to the text)
frantically: done in a hurried way, in a state of excitement or confusion. For example, if you have to be at the airport in one hour and you can’t find your passport, you will probably search for it frantically. (Back to the text)
to call up: an informal way to say “call”. (Back to the text)
in the middle of nowhere: very far from everything. (Back to the text)
get-togethers: informal word for “meetings” of a social nature, that is with friends in order to hang out and have fun. (Back to the text)
and what have you: and similar things. (Back to the text)
to be prone to: likely to do something. Often used for negative things, such as “prone to accidents”, “prone to ear infections”, “prone to headaches”, “she’s prone to make rude comments”, etc. In my case, it creates a slight comedic effect as it’s used for randomly traveling to other places on the weekend, making it sound a little bit like traveling is out of your control, it’s something that takes control of you and that you can’t do anything about. (Back to the text)
to hop on: to get on a means of transportation (informal). (Back to the text)
to catch up on: to do something you haven’t been able to do recently, in order to stay on schedule. (Back to the text)
to slam: to close something like a window or a door in an aggressive and loud way. It can also be used to describe two things colliding in a very forceful and loud way. (Back to the text)
you can rest assured: you can be certain. (Back to the text)
mundane: very ordinary and not interesting. (Back to the text)
a great deal of: a lot of; a large amount of. (Back to the text)
Want to start using these words and make sure you don’t forget them? Try this exercise! Think about these questions (discuss them with someone) or write down your answers, using the word or expression in your discussion or answer.
- If you open a newspaper, which section will you want to peruse?
- Have you ever seen a cat (or another animal) pouncing on a mouse, bird, or other small animal?
- In the morning, do you have lots of time and get ready calmly, or do you do things at the last minute and get ready frantically?
- Do you think you could still do good work if you do it frantically? (at your job or around the house)
- Are you usually the one who calls up your friends to hang out, or do they call you up first?
- Is there any cool place in your city or country that’s in the middle of nowhere? (a restaurant, hotel, monument, etc. in a very remote location?) Have you ever visited it? Is it popular?
- What do your get-togethers with your friends look like? How often do you get together? What do you do during the get-togethers?
- Describe some things you have in different areas of your house: use “and what have you” at least once.
- Are you prone to headaches? Do you know anyone who is prone to exaggerating when they explain something or tell a story?
- Do you more often want to catch up on reading, or catch up on Netflix shows?
- Do you ever slam the door, the windows, drawers, etc. when you are angry?
- Is there any TV show or Netflix series which is extremely popular, but which you personally find mundane?
- What’s something you spend a great deal of your time on? A great deal of your money on? A great deal of effort on?
Feel free to try writing some more sentences, or a text, of your own to practice some more.
Thank you for reading! These ESL notes, links and exercises each take several hours to make, so if you found this useful, the kindest thing you can do is to like the post, leave a comment, or share with anyone who needs it. Have questions about any other words? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to reply!