Alexander Graham Bell once said: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”Most people only quote the first clause of this sentence to express an optimistic view of life. In the context of 2020, there are a number of devastating stories of businesses closing around the world due to quarantine and isolation life. However, from the first half of the quote, we can also view this as – now there are many open gaps in the market for new entrepreneurs to fill. To view it this way, we have to understand the rest of his quote. Are you the type of person who focuses on the missed opportunities in life? Do you wallow in despair or self-pity at what you could have, should have, or would have done, if only ~ ? Is there a time when you were so busy staring at the clouds covering the sun that you didn’t look just a bit to the right or left and see the blue sky that was opening up? As for me, I am not a wallower. If I see an obstacle, I look for a way around or over it. Giving up, or in, has never been a part of my mindset. I remember as a kid, my older brother and I would wrestle each other. Since he was bigger than me, he would inevitably pin me to the ground by sitting on top of me. As he would thump my forehead with his fingers or poke me in the chest, he would tell me to “say Uncle!” to admit defeat. Despite my tears, I would scream back “NEVER”! Eventually, my parents would have to step in to let me up because no matter how long my brother tried to get me to give in, I would rather squirm and cry than do so. So, when I consider the second part of Bell’s quote, I am loathe to understand how anyone might miss the open door. Therefore, returning to reflecting on the year, I think that 2020 created many opportunities for me. I’ll share some here. Closed door – my job turned into working from home full-time – Opened door – this revealed that I could handle more work or focus on other areas of interest. Closed door – my husband’s job turned into working from home full-time – Opened door – his company decided to allow employees to be based anywhere to conduct their business. Closed door – we started to feel confined in a small house with no yard or outdoor space to breathe (even though it was large by Japanese standards) – Opened door – we moved forward our five-year plan to a three-month plan and transferred to France full-time. Closed door – by deciding to move, my full-time job was no longer an option – Opened door – I was able to keep that job under a freelance contract adding to my freelance work, which provided me with more freedom to pursue my dreams of running my online magazine and becoming a published writer. So, now I sit happily in front of a wood-burning stove that heats up our small rental home in France where the sun shines (though its cold) most days. Or, now I can experience the local French markets and drive through the vineyard-lined countryside any day. What was once a desire for space and freedom to move has now become our new normal. The truth is that we could have just focused on the closed doors and started worrying about our jobs or complained about having to work from home all of the time. Instead, we decided to consider how to take full advantage of the digital nomad lifestyle to suit our own plans by reassessing, rearranging, and revisiting what we really want from life. Of course, my husband and I know that we have been lucky in many ways without worries about children or family other than each other. Still, we are both seekers of opportunities and finding more meaning to “When One Door Closes, Another Opens”. May the end of the year treat you all well, dear Fruitful English readers and I hope that the start of the new year brings you the ability to see plenty of new open doors! ~ 😀
illogical– This adjective is used to describe something that lacks sense or clear, sound reasoning. e.g. His argument to put on aluminium foil hats was completely illogical for protecting against alien invasions.
wallow– More commonly used in its verb form, this is used to refer to people who indulge in a particular behavior or mental state. e.g. Jenny wallowed in her sadness for two weeks after her breakup with John.
“say/cry Uncle!”– Used mostly in American English, this phrase is used to admit defeat or loss in a one-on-one competition. e.g. Despite Ruth’s belief that she was going to mark all 150 exams by lunchtime, she had to cry “uncle” by two in the afternoon.
loathe to– This means to be unwilling or reluctant to do something. e.g. Josh was loathe to tell his wife that he had forgotten to pay his latest phone bill despite her reminders.
digital nomad– A newer term that refers to someone who makes their living by working online and living wherever they want. e.g. Years ago, it was unheard of to have a lasting career as a digital nomad. Now, it’s becoming the norm.
アメリカ育ちで日本で９年間英語を教えた経験あり。日本以外にもAbu Dhabiでも英語を教えていたベテランの先生です。 ヨガを教える資格も持っていてとてもアクティブで、「諦めずに頑張って」とモチベーションをくれる指導スタイルで人気。
座右の銘は「We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit」。