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LJ Idol: Exhibit A - Second Chance - Week 1 - Second Chances

They warn us to be careful of what we wish for, for it might come true. The vital, yet missing part of the expression is "in ways we are least prepared to deal with".

A friend of mine had wanted to become a mother since her late teens. After several failed relationships, her dream came true: she got together with a good guy, became pregnant, married him, and gave birth to a beautiful girl. Then, when her daughter was a year old, my friend became a mother for the second time, only not in a way that would be the most expected. Her husband's elder four-year-old daughter come to live with their family then, because the girl's birth mother was not taking good care of her.

My friend had known that the elder girl might end up living with them since before starting her own family, yet knowing something and living it have always been different things. She was not quite ready for the responsibility, financially, but also and more importantly, psychologically, for she had not yet grown together with her toddler to know the needs of children her eldest daughter's age. The situation was made worse by the fact the girl was already behind her peers in development, her birth mother's family being what they were. In the two years that have passed since, my friend has learned to cope with the situation, but the first year she and her husband had both their kids with them was very difficult.

Second chances, on the other hand, are both similar and opposite to desperate wishes. There could be any number of reasons for the first chance to fail. And then you are given another, the second chance. The two obvious opposite ways it could go are these.

First, you wish for something strongly and get it. And yet, as someone (or something?) needs to grant you the opportunity to do so, it implies overcoming resistance, and returns us into the "be careful what you wish for" category. Moreover, the failed attempted might be seen as a warning, a question of whether you really should insist on whatever it is coming to pass.

Second, one more chance is granted, given, or gifted to you, as we say in Russian, "for the sake of your pretty eyes". And therein lies a trap. In this case, you did not strive, you did not feel a strong enough need. The opportunity fell out of the sky on you. Will the uncomfortable feeling of letting down whoever granted you this boon be enough added motivation for you to see through the attempt? It remains to be seen.

It was not enough for me. I was at program once that allowed us Russians who speak French well enough to receive an unfinished second higher education valid in France. To this end, you had to attend lectures and practicals led by real French professors for two years, and write a research paper during your second year of studies. You were also allowed to take one year off at any time with no questions asked. The program was payed for by the French government, and free for the students.

I tried to complete the course, and failed, after having already taken the year off. After much discussion with my friends and family, I begged for, and was granted a second chance, my failed last year being written off as a sort of second off year. At the time that I was asking for this second chance, I'd convinced myself I was ready and willing to do the required work.

I failed again. Spectacularly. I will never forget the days of early spring that year that I spent by myself at a friend's temporarily empty apartment surrounded by my law books with no distractions save work and supposedly doing research. In reality I was reading English fanfiction by the ton... and thinking in English too, not in Russian even.

The rest is history, but I was and am deeply ashamed for having led on my professors in such a fashion.

Balance is needed in all things it seems, but how to reach it?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2013 09:52 pm (UTC)
Balance is tricky to find for all of us.

Don't beat yourself up!
Jan. 30th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I am not really beating myself up, since I have gotten very much out of this program, just not the paper saying I qualify as something. But it is still an uncomfortable memory.
Jan. 30th, 2013 09:10 pm (UTC)
I hope it helped you to admit that. I am certain that things happen for a reason though we don't always understand it immediately or maybe even ever. All anyone can do is learn from a mistake and move on. I really liked getting to know you a little better through this entry!
Feb. 4th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Yes, I knew even then that I was more interested in the cultural and linguistic aspect of the course than in the actual research, but the failure was still uncomfortable :).
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 4th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thankfully, I was not depressed that time, only reluctant to work hard, because I have already got a lot from the program, but failure is always unpleasant.

I like seeing such chances pop up, even if sometimes it can be scary to hold on to them at first.

Thank you!
Feb. 4th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
Balance is a hard thing to find. *hugs*
Feb. 4th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yes. Also, little by little I start to hate this word :). But it's all part of the process.

Thank you!
Feb. 5th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC)
*hugs* You're welcome.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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