In high school I had a group of friends that were all very intelligent and they knew exactly what they wanted to go to college for, and they did just that. Me, on the other hand? Well, I was all over the board. I wanted to be a teacher, then a photojournalist, then a photographer. I hadn’t a clue. But they voted me as “the one the most likely to get married first”. Considering I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life I guess that made sense (plus, I supposed I always talked about it. Oh, wait. That hasn’t really changed). At that time I never thought much about traveling and exactly what my future might hold, until I was asked by teachers in the art department of my school to join them and other students on a trip to Paris. That 6 day trip (in which I lost my passport so then spent 2 of those days in the Embassy and 2 more traveling) forever changed me. While many of my classmates are now married (or not married) and have babies on the way or a couple in diapers, I’ve chosen a different path. A different destiny, if you will. Unlike my friends who all knew they wanted to be in the medical field and classmates who chose to settle and raise a family, I’ve chosen to travel. But that doesn’t ever seem to really stop me from asking “what if”.
Grey’s Anatomy is a television show that these same friends got me hooked on watching. As any Grey’s fan would say, “the first couple of seasons were great. They should have stopped while they were ahead,” however, that doesn’t keep me from watching it. Today I tuned in to a new episode after watching the newest episode of Glee. My dad sent me a quote a few days ago from Susan L. Taylor: Thoughts are energy, and you can make your world or break your world by your thinking. Well, maybe my thoughts told me I needed to download these shows and watch them in the order that I did today because it just, well, clicked. I’ll begin with Grey’s since that is how I began this. If you haven’t watched an episode before I’ll key you in to this: it’s just drama, drama, drama. But that’s what we all love, right? So anyways, in this episode, it begins with Meredith, the main character, holding her adopted baby from Africa. As with every episode, we see one thing happening and we hear her voice speaking over what is going on. Whatever she begins with saying is a prelude to what the episode is going to be about (usually rather deep thoughts) and then the episode ends with her concluding thoughts. Today it was this: The baby you have is the baby you were destined to have. It was meant to be. That’s what all of the adoption people tell you. Anyways I like to think it’s true. But everything else in the world seems so completely random. What if one little thing I said or did could have made it all fall apart. What if I’d chosen another life for myself. Or another person. We might have never found each other. What if I’d been raised differently? What if my mother had never been sick? What if I’d actually had a good father. What if. What if. What if.
Hm. Wow. Just think about that for a minute. Done thinking? Yea, I’m not either but I’m going on anyways. The rest of the episode plays out as if things had been different; if her mother hadn’t had that disease that makes you forget things and died, if her father hadn’t been absent, if her current husband had stuck with his ex wife, if her current best friend was her enemy, etc. It was all of the stories put together of how the relationships between the characters on the show were presented- which of course, because it’s about drama, didn’t even come close to ending that way. For the first 20 or so minutes, everything looks perfect. The people that we thought were supposed to be together were together, pregnant or with kids already, and happy. Everyone was happy and everything looked great. But then the truth was revealed that the baby Shepard is pregnant with is really not her husband’s kid, but instead that of his best friend… and this, that, and the other. In the end of the episode, it seemed that the flaws we now know of with these people were still their flaws; even though they had made different life decisions. And when these flaws came out, the “destiny” of the person ended up being the same as we know it is today. One of the doctors says this which I think sums it all up: Some things are going to work out as if they were destined to happen; and some as if they were just meant to be.
You see, we all want things in our lives. We want happiness, we want this spouse, we want this car, we want this job, we want to live in this place, etc. But if anyone else there is like me (and I’m sure you are), we wonder “what if”. In my life in particular, I often wonder what my life would have been like if my mom hadn’t died. What if she was still alive… would I have found my love for photography, traveled to France in high school, gone to KU, had the friends that I had, and then come to Moldova or would I still be living in the suburbs of Kansas City, married, and working in an office? What if I had been accepted to Teach for America… would I still have filled out the application for the Peace Corps… just to see? What if I cut ties back when I was first questioning things… would I have the relationship with my host family that I do now? What if. What if. What if.
While I can’t stop all of these thoughts (and the thousands more that came with that) from happening, I can try to control them. Wondering “what if” really isn’t going to do anyone any good because, as they later said in the show, “we make our own destiny”. And, I strongly agree with this although we don’t necessarily realize it at the time it is happening. One never knows what is waiting around the corner… so why not go and find it out for himself. While I may not necessarily choose who I meet and when I meet them or when opportunities are going to arise, I can begin by making good decisions. Because I can’t go back and change things there is not a point in wondering “what if”. Some things are going to work out because they were meant to be, and others because they’re destiny. But I’ll never know which is which and, well, it is what it is. It’s up to me to move forward and focus on now instead of wondering “what if”.
Which brings me quickly to Glee. The quote that got my head racing: you can't change your past but you can let go and start your future.
I’m really not going to comment on that because I feel like it speaks for itself.
At the end of the day, all I can say is this. Five years ago and I had no idea how many changes I was going to go through that year, let alone proceeding 5. Heck, I didn’t even know Moldova existed and I thought Spain was north of France. I do not know what my future holds for me (even though a couple of Roma fortune-telling women seem to think otherwise). I cannot tell you (or myself) why I’ve made some of the decisions I’ve made in my life or why things happen the way they do. But, regardless, they do. The last 20 months of living in Moldova has changed me in ways that I didn’t even know possible, and quite frankly, I didn’t even know needed changed. It doesn’t matter what got me here; what matters is I’m here and I’m happy I’m here. Something about my being here was meant to be so it could shape my destiny- whatever that may be. And you know what? I’m 100% (ok, 99%) all right with that… at least right now.
Also, I wanted to end this post with a photo of the snow from today but I just looked at them and it doesn't even do close to justice for the amount of snow that is now on the ground. Unbelievable.