Recently, I’ve started reading a book about sychronicity, a concept I became fascinated with that essentially means recognizing coincidences as a part of our story rather than simply dumb luck or strange randomness. Or, quite simply, seeing the world in a frame of ‘there are no accidents,’ which is not coincidentally the name of the book I’m reading.
I’m not entirely sure that this is an example of synchronicity, but a fascinating parallel struck me while I was falling asleep last night.
They say you can’t go back to exactly the way things were, when you leave home and grow up, because things change and you change. Ever since I was 12 or so, I’ve reminisced about my childhood in such a way that I’ve longed for it to reappear. Even as an adult well into my quarter life, there has been this itchy feeling inside of wanting to rediscover that ‘at home’ – ness I felt as a hyper little kid living in small town Pennsylvania with all its seasons and colors and easy going glory. Oddly enough, in some ways where I am now takes me back to where I was then. From the companionship of a white fluffy dog (then an english poodle named Rambo because that’s how 4-year-old me pronounced the word “rainbow” and my parents had the sense of humor to never correct me, and now a sassy America Eskimo named Aspen), the rain and energy in the air of New England that also characterizes Portland, the feelings of wonder and possibility I had then and have regained now, the way I spent my time styling my hundreds of barbies and the direction my current career in the beauty industry is heading (though, fortunately, I don’t chop people’s hair off unwillingly or draw lipstick and rouge on their face with markers… those poor barbies). Even the color of my hair right now is the shade of red of when I was a kid, or at least since sixth grade when my compulsion towards having beach blonde hair began.
There are enough similarities between my childhood and my life now to leave me questioning how much of my landing in this place is merely coincidence and how much is a meaningful part of my greater life story. Feeling at home – in my body, in my mind, in my physical location – that’s something I had as a kid, then spent decades wondering how I could reattain it. I have that feeling now, after making a lot of big decisions in the last year – quitting my job, traveling, finding a new home in a the Pacific Northwest – that felt chance-like at times but line up to tell a beautiful, coherent story of how I got here.
These thoughts on synchronicity came to me last night when I posed the question to myself: how is my life like a story? Where are the themes that keep repeating themselves? All of this may just be my mind’s attempt to make sense of it all, just as it does when I’m having weird dreams that sound incoherent when I wake up but piece together flawlessly as I’m sleeping. However, just as it’s easier for us to laugh off our bold aspirations or deny compliments instead of believing them, it’s probably easier for us to look at everything as merely coincidence. I’d rather keep taking these signs of synchronicity as evidence that I’m on the right track. Instead of brushing things aside, I’d rather recognize them as learning opportunities. That’s why I continue to read, write, interact … because the more I do, the more doors open up for me. The more aware I feel of my story, the more that these dazzling synchronicities appear.
What are the themes of your life, if your life is a story?
With courage, love, and intensity,
p.s. Check out this ‘time traveling’ photographer who places herself back into her childhood photos here.