A local radio station is giving away a vacation package to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, complete with concert tickets and backstage passes to see Michael Buble. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” they say.
Friends and family look at the pictures I share of travels near and far with my kids. “What a great experience! That was a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” they say.
Once in a lifetime.
I’ve begun to hate that phrase.
Granted, the stars will never again align in a way that conjures up exactly the same experience. From that standpoint, pretty much everything happens only once in a lifetime.
But if you’re talking about a trip to Paris or special passes to a performance or walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night, I see no reason those things must be constrained to only one time in someone’s existence. Sure, it might take some planning, saving, creativity, and ingenuity to make things happen, and they might not happen often. But what doesn’t take some ambition? Some deliberate action?
The phrase once in a lifetime has gotten stuck in my craw. It leaves me thinking that people have resigned themselves to whatever their circumstances and that they have (or take) no power to change them. Anything momentous that happens has been bestowed upon them by Kismet, and they have no control over whether it happens again. That makes me really sad.
I’m hungry. I’m always hungry for more. When I experience something I love, I start thinking about how I can make it happen again. And when I do it again, how can I make it better? What will I do next time?
I’m always thinking of next time.
When I take my kids somewhere, what I really hope to do is whet their appetites for more. For crying out loud, they’re still in middle school. If all the things we’ve done are truly only once in a lifetime, what’s left? I’d like to think instead that they’ll be intrigued, eager to learn more, curious enough to go back and do it their way, rather than my way. I’d like to think I’m just opening a door to next time.
There are truly experiences that happen just once in a lifetime, but I’m pretty sure there aren’t as many of them as we think. We have power over our lives. Whether we experience something once in a lifetime or there’s a next time is our choice.
I prefer to deal in next times.
Hear, Hear! With a 60th b’day just around the corner I find myself looking for those experiences to tuck away in my repertoire whether they are repeats or not…some of my “once in a lifetime” experiences I’m happy to leave that way…but others definitely deserve a “next time” attitude. Planning a trip to Sedona in June has left me considering some of those endeavors including a hot air balloon ride over the desert…. and I’ll think of you next time I might be tempted to say, “It’s a once in a lifetime” experience. As always, thanks for the thoughts!
Shelby, I love your statement “some of my ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences I’m happy to leave that way.” You’ve eloquently captured my point–that YOU are in control of the experiences in your life. Repeat the ones you love, walk away from the ones you hate. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments.
You always seem to post exactly what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it Tammy … I was feeling cranky this morning because I couldn’t go on a recent trip with my team at work and today they said it’s likely the trip won’t be happening again, due to budget cuts. So here I was thinking that I’d missed my chance for this “once in a lifetime” experience with my team … but now I’m totally motivated to make my OWN trip happen! On my own terms! 😀
Thanks so much, Amber. My workday ended on a really crummy note, and then I saw your comment. You brightened my spirit and helped me feel a teeny bit effective again. Somehow, we all give each other what we need, even when we don’t realize it!
Oh, yay! I’m so glad!! And you’re right, we all do seem to connect here in the blog-sphere when we need it the most. Hooray for the interwebs! 🙂