The importance of taking advantage of the Window of Opportunity

Window of opportunity: A favourable opportunity for doing something that must be seized immediately (Oxford Dictionary)



I always laugh whenever I watch X-Factor and see some poor bugger saying through sobs “this is my last chance to make it. I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t get through”. What drama, I think. But there may just be a sliver of truth in what the poor sod is saying.

See in life, we all have windows of opportunity. Moments where taking action will or could produce an incredible, life-changing result. Moments that change us as people externally and/or internally. Missing that window may mean we end up taking the long way home, it may mean that our journey home is more painful, less pleasant or it may simply mean at its most brutal that we never reach home which for the person who gets the NO on X-Factor means singing may not be the thing which pays their bills. Fame and fortune eludes them for all time. There are no guarantees even if you do grab that opportunity but there is power in grabbing it even in the midst of an uncertain outcome. Making the most of an opportunity means your life remains full of possibilities.

Who calls this window of opportunity into being?

Nature: A wine maker has a window of opportunity in which to pick his grapes from the vineyard if he is to make the perfect bottle of wine. There is a window of opporunity in which to make the sweetest tasting fried plantain. Fry it too early and it will be like eating a yam substitute, fry it too late and it will be little more than an oil-soaked pile of mush.

Age: I was fortunate enough to have learnt Yoruba at an early age. I cannot imagine how hard I would have found it if I’d had to learn Yoruba as an adult. For me, it’s language, for you it might be something else. Most world class athletes begin training from a young age. That’s just the reality. Physical prowess is at its greatest in youth/early adulthod for the most part. There are always some such as marathon runners, golfers, darts players (is this a sport?) who defy this general rule and for whom the window of opportunity is open for a greater length of time.

Location: you might have a chance at IVF because you live in a certain part of the UK and so you take advantage of this before the opportunity ceases or before you are forced to relocate for some reason. I had a chance to get more support in my recovery process by moving out of London. I had a chance to master French because I was able to live in France for a while.

An individual: may present you with a window of opportunity simply by dint of their presence or support. I have a chance to recover now because I have a person at home who provides me with practical and emotional support but I am aware that I may only have months left of this support. It is incumbent on me to use this support now because there may not be a greater chance for me to recover than there is here and now. I am extremely grateful for this person and perhaps part of my act of gratitude towards them ought to be in seizing the day.

Physiology: just as a woman has a window of opportunity in which she can conceive, so she has a window of opportunity in which to deliver naturally. This window remains closed until a woman’s cervix is fully dilated. And even once at 10cm, if the baby does not come within a set time period, a woman is more likely to need a Caesarean section.

For me at the moment, recovery feels somewhat like giving birth. Like whilst in it, it is absolutely horrendous. 8 weeks plus into my first attempts at eating without compensation, I am still struggling with severely swollen feet some days, joints which are in constant states of pain, a stomach which is so distended that sometimes I can only compare it to carrying a football around with me day in day out, a digestive system which neither knows whether it is coming or going and a weight which I have not reached in decades. This might be bearable if I was not also experiencing bouts of depression and the reality of dealing with the loss of the person who was my everything.

The past few days have been full of tears and the thoughts of going back to who I used to be come thick and fast. I try to hold on to the ledge, I try not to let the current pull me in the direction of certain misery.

I still have my hands wrapped around the recovery tinted window of opportunity even though sometimes I feel as though I am losing my grip. On Sunday, I could feel the tears swelling and swirling. I knew I had a window of opportunity, to get out of the house and make the day count and spend some time with my wonderful godson and great friend. I seized it. I enjoyed my time out even though I knew it would only be a brief respite from the ocean of tears which would spill over once I got back home. Today, I knew I had a window of opportunity, in which to take a shower (do the minimum) because on some days, that becomes a task. I’m glad that I’m seized that opportunity. Maybe seizing one opportunity after another is what leads to eventual and total recovery or success or good health or wealth or whatever opportunity presents itself to you or me today.

I’ll end this post with the following words (borrowed but dearly treasured):

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace




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