I was first introduced to the word ‘serendipity’, when I watched the movie of the same name around ten years ago. Though I don’t remember the entire movie, I do remember it being a love story, starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack, and I remember that the movie also introduced me to the famous Serendipity III, a restaurant I’d like to visit one day.
But more than anything else, I realised that day that ‘serendipity’ was my absolute favourite word in the English dictionary.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word as:
“the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”
It is such a happy word, has an element of magic and every time I hear it, it fills me with hope.
Perhaps one of the reasons I love the word is because I have experienced serendipity many a time – so many instances when I’ve met someone by chance or come across something by chance that have either led to a good thing happening or have come as an inspiration at a very crucial time.
Let me cite two simple examples – ones that come to mind since they happened quite recently.
I was contemplating getting back to working again and also starting this blog, wondering if I should begin immediately or wait till I had more time on my hands. What if I didn’t have enough material for my blog? What if it would be difficult to find work again after such a long break? What if I couldn’t find a babysitter? What if this and what if that? I had a list of questions for myself. But later that day, in fact, probably a couple of hours after all these thoughts of doubt had begun looming in my head, a friend sent me – by chance – a Lemony Snicket quote that read:
“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”
It was just the ‘kick in the butt’ I needed!
So over the next two days I started working on my introduction to the blog, got the opportunity to write for PledgeBack and also somehow managed to get hold of a babysitter. All you mums living in India know just how difficult that latter achievement is! Things proceeded smoothly for about a week. With the babysitter around, I was able to spend my mornings working. Just as I’d begun to get into a routine, the babysitter upped and left without warning.
I was shattered. The only time I could now work was when my son was asleep – an hour and a half in the afternoon and if I could stay awake past 9pm, at night. It was really difficult. I’d also taken on making decorations for my son’s 1st birthday party and the tasks combined just seemed herculean, given the amount of time I was ‘allotted’ every day. I had barely begun and I was already thinking of giving up.
Still, I soldiered on. For the next 10 days I hardly slept. I worked on my aforementioned projects and delighted in doing so, even though I was so very tired. Of course, I had moments – quite a few – where I asked myself why it was so difficult to do something so simple. I wasn’t trying to be the vice president of a company, I wasn’t trying to scale Everest, I wasn’t trying to do anything ‘fabulous’ ‘important’ or ‘remarkable. I just wanted to work a little, do something for myself and try to be a good mum. I had moments where I thought this new course of action of mine probably just wasn’t worth it. On one such afternoon, while I was having lunch, savouring a quiet half an hour, the movie Julie & Julia happened to be playing on TV. I hadn’t watched it before and only had the vague knowledge that it was something to do with food. I taped it and began watching it. It was about much more than food!
I had goose bumps a little into the movie, when I realised how much of my life I saw in Julie’s! I’m not saying that I’m trying to do anything quite as remarkable as she did, but there were so many parallels to be drawn. I finished watching the movie in parts, over the following few days. And both Julie and Julia’s stories were once again – by chance – just the inspiration I needed at that moment, to keep me believing that what I was doing was worth it.
But perhaps such chance occurrences aren’t truly by chance and have something to do with another belief I came across in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
So what I believe at the end of the day is that if you want something badly enough and work really, REALLY hard to achieve it and stay truly focused, even in the face of daunting obstacles, the universe will conspire to help you and serendipity will happen.
But will you achieve your goal?
Now THAT question, I’m still in process of finding the answer to!