“Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.”
― Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
As I was biking in the gym today, I spotted one of my old high school friends, Sarah, entering the gym! I had been meaning to contact her to have dinner with her, and I couldn’t believe my luck in running into her in one of the last places that anybody would catch me in. We immediately caught up with one another, and Sarah showed me the quote written above; she told me that she thought of me when she first stumbled upon it.
I had to read it over and over again because the words resonated so much meaning for me. I have always pictured life in the grand scheme as this huge, behind-the-curtains network of wheels and gears, like the inside of a clock, where every moment that we’ve ever had fits perfectly together for the wheels to keep on rolling and one wrong step, one wrong decision, one missed second would be life’s whole undoing.
It’s like this: Every choice I’ve ever made leads to one thing, and that leads to another, and so on, and the picture of my whole life is slowly being put together by these small moments as jigsaw pieces of my own personal puzzle. And I feel like everybody has their puzzle, and it’s beautiful and mystifying in their own unique way.
I’ve always believed that every action I’ve taken is a part of God’s plan for me. That’s why I don’t beat myself up too much about performing poorly in class, on the courts, or when hardships arise with friends and family. Tribulations occur to teach us lessons that will ultimately shape us to be as close to perfection as we can be, and for me, that’s being a strong, compassionate woman.
It shakes me up a little bit when I think about all the things that I’ve decided to do, that I came so close to not doing. All of the big decisions that I’ve made in my life were guided mostly by my heart and my gut instead of my brain. I’ve always been a feeler rather than a thinker, wearing my emotions on my sleeve, displayed for everybody to see even when I don’t want them to. When I initially think I’ve screwed myself over because I showed too much of my internal self, I reflect on it now and I’m glad; I don’t regret saying the things that I wanted to say and doing those spur-of-the-moment type of things that I probably should not have done. In the same way, I’m glad I’ve chosen to do the things that I had trouble deciding about.
I’m glad that my heart screamed violently inside of my chest in the second semester of my junior year in high school and drove me to go to church by myself; it was the best thing that I never knew I needed. I’m thankful that I chose to go to Holy Names even though I was 99% committed to attending Cal State LA– I was literally a phone call away from finalizing everything, but my gut told me no. And everything else that came after; the parties, the events, the people, the experience– all that has happened to me was cultivated by those tiny, fine spurs of the rotating gears that might have misaligned with one wrong move.
But here’s the secret: there is no wrong move.