In this very moment, it’s impossible to know that this very conversation, this left turn or this seemingly inconsequential decision is the one that will change everything. From tragedy to romance, those random moments can shift everything else in your life in wild ways.
These random moments don’t give you notice of their arrival. You can pay attention, plan and organize your life down to the minute. And still, those moments that change everything will appear.
Looking back from right here and now, I can see that I’ve had countless life-path-altering moments in the last 40 years. Some of these moments happened in the lives of my parents. Like the first time my mother saw my father playing drums in a band in Russia. Or the time he walked her home and they fell in love. And the time the travel visa was approved we moved our lives from Russia to America. WOW … that changed EVERYTHING!
All of these ticks in time changed the possibilities in my life forever and left me with an overwhelming awareness that life truly has so many alternate potential paths. There are a million moments that can change everything.
Right now, I’m sitting in a little coffee shop in Bellingham, WA in the Pacific Northwest. A city that I never even knew existed before we moved here. As I look from this moment, I can see the dot-to-dot flashes of change that brought me here.
Today, I’m the mama to a sweet boy and married to a man I didn’t even know existed before I found his profile on a dating website. The moment I decided to click on his profile and wrote, “hey, I like your profile and you have a great smile, message me back” changed the course of my life.
There are so many seemingly arbitrary choices that I’ve made that shifted the course of my life and the lives of those connected with me.
I sometimes do wonder what my life would be like if some of those random choices I made were different. Would I be sipping on a cappuccino in Paris instead of Bellingham, WA?
Would I be an actress and best-selling author?
There’s that one summer day at work when I was casually chatting with my boss about the gorgeous weather in California. And he asked, “so what’s stopping you from moving?” and I replied, after a moment of silent contemplation, “nothing”.
Within 24 hours, I bought a one-way ticket to the sunshine and palm trees of California.
This in-one-moment decision was followed by a month of selling all my stuff and leaving everything and everyone I knew.
I wonder now, if I didn’t jump on that instinct to move, would I still be in NYC? Would I be somewhere else with someone else?
These questions arise in moments of doubt and curiosity. We wonder what the other path, the other person, the other city would have held for us.
I can’t say that it’s impossible to imagine what life might be like if I made a few different decisions. I can sometimes see my life in Europe so clearly, and all of the adventures I may have had.
But the truth is, I believe deeply to my core that we are living a life that is guided by universal forces that are guiding us. You know those moments when you get an idea, an intuition whispers to you to go left or to go to a new restaurant, or to call a friend you haven’t connected with in years? I believe that these are the moments that are filled with potential to open new doors and invite new paths to open up in ways that you may not have imagined.
I believe that you always have a choice to make that leap, to take that chance and take that new road.
The destination may be unknown but the paths are many and all potentially rewarding in their own ways.
There are those moments where tragedy may strike and you may go back over that moment a thousand times regretting the decision you made which may have led to this terrible situation. And yet, it may just be exactly what you needed to make a change in your life. Even something as terrible as an illness may lead you to make significant changes that you knew you meant to make.
I believe that you and I have a choice in each moment. In the words of Einstein, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
While it’s fun to wonder what it would have been like, what’s even more fun is to stay present to each brilliant moment in your life right now as it’s unfolding. You never know which twinkling moment, which chance invitation, which fortuitous conversation will lead to something totally unexpected and miraculous.