While we were at a conference last week (it’s actually a bit ridiculous how excited I still get about data analysis and research…), Lindsay commented that she doubted she would be getting her MPA if she hadn’t met me. After the initial aww reaction/shock, I thought of the one who encouraged me to apply to grad school in Missouri. The school wasn’t even on my radar and I know if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here (particularly since she mentioned it just a few days shy of the application deadline).
Naturally, I’ve been thinking about it ever since. What makes it even crazier is that I didn’t really intend to stay in Missouri after my MPA. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend over lunch about how we never pictured ourselves staying in Missouri after finishing school. Three years later for her and two years later for me, we’re still here. Because of that, though, I got to meet Lindsay (and thank goodness for that!).
Where would my life be without those series of decisions? At times it completely baffles me how different people can shape your path at different points of your life. And somehow it all connects and makes sense. I know I’ve quoted him before, but Steve Jobs knew what was what.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Being a research nerd and a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, I also love her quote that “That’s the thing about a human life-there’s no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.”
This whole concept was, oddly enough, a conversation I had with the individual I spent time with at Project Homeless Connect a week ago. Neither of us have many regrets or spend much time thinking about how things could have been (which I actually really admired about the individual). It’s not even that we made all the right decisions — it’s that we put those decisions in a larger context, if that makes sense. We trust that it all connects.
In reality, there’s probably no way to really know with absolutely certainty what decisions or variables are right, but I’ll always contend that all the choices I’ve made have been the right ones for me. It could be naivety, but I don’t like to entertain “what if?” thoughts. Even thought I’m an overly-cautious, Type A perfectionist, I’m not a coulda-woulda-shoulda gal. Maybe in a few circumstances I am, but on the whole, I’m with Steve. If you trust in yourself and the connection of everything, it really does make all the difference.
And that’s my deep thought for the day.