I don’t know if I believe in fate, but I’m not sure if I can dismiss everything as coincidence either. Are we here for a purpose or do we assign purpose to make life more meaningful?
I do believe that everyone has fiercely powerful relationships that only appear when you’re available to notice them. When you find those people, time is irrelevant. You may develop this powerful connection over time or it may be immediate. It may last years or end in two weeks. When you find it, however, you’ve got to hold onto it for as long as you can. And when time or circumstance necessitate separation, you have to be ready to let go.
I think about this often.
I moved to Virginia with a boyfriend of over four years. We graduated with our Bachelor’s degrees, and he wanted to pursue graduate school. I agreed to move our life together without hesitation. We were in our new apartment for six months before he found a relationship so powerful, he had to walk away from us. Nine months after that, they were married. And I was still in Virginia feeling purposeless.
I’ve often thought about that time in my life. Natural feelings of heartbreak, abandonment, jealousy, resentment, and hatred would flood back during that first year of my new life. Over the years, however, I’ve finally found peace with it. In fact, I’m rather happy for him. To meet someone and feel so passionately in love to marry within a year… I hope that everyone has the ability to notice such rare moments and rush towards them.
The counterargument is clear: while we all deserve to be selfish, we should be mindful of the wake our decisions can leave behind. Perhaps he did not leave in the most graceful way. But leaving or losing someone in any capacity is never met with grace. And it often takes hindsight to piece together the past in a less hysterically emotional way.
The point is: I’m here.
Without the unique set of circumstances that brought me to Virginia and kept me here despite the abrupt change in situations, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
It’s been six years since I packed up my townhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina, and made a new home in Virginia. Since then, I’ve embraced my love of nature wholeheartedly, performed onstage by myself countless times, learned a new language, lived out of my truck for six months, and gone back to school. I’ve found people who accept me like family, ridden a horse a year older than me, volunteered on an organic farm, and hiked 16 miles in a day just to sit on a waterfall for lunch. I’ve run until my bones broke, sang until my voice was hoarse, and stayed up all night just to hold onto a good conversation with a friend.
These experiences are unique to me and my situation—most of which would not have happened if something hadn’t changed. If we hadn’t moved our life together… If he hadn’t found a reason to let go of us… If I hadn’t used the fork in the road to move down an independent path… If I hadn’t had the strength to start… If I hadn’t ventured into new friendships, jobs, and adventures…
If I hadn’t been acutely aware that I needed to realign my life when faced with a sudden change…
And I’m still here, running towards every fork in the road to make new decisions about how I want to define my purpose and make my life have a meaning I can get behind.
I don’t know if I believe in fate, but I’m not sure if I can dismiss everything as coincidence either.
I do believe that we should keep our heads up and eyes open so we can see the forks in the road instead of aimlessly walk down paths without recognizing other ones are there. We should recognize opportunities to pursue passion, meaning, and powerful relationships that can make our stomachs ache with longing, our hearts race with anticipation, and our limbs sigh in contentment.
Our lives should be in constant realignment, constantly in search of the breathtaking moments and constantly aware of the wild ride we all have the privilege to be on.