It’s going to be October in a couple of days.
Every year in October, certain traditions I had were upheld and canonized in the anthology that is my memory. Every year I can look back on October and unequivocally remember all of it: the bad birthdays, the good birthdays, my first drink ever -which was a Bellini at the Olive Garden; that time I went out and felt heartbroken the entire evening; the Banff trip; the Vegas trip; that time I went to see Ryan Adams at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and I ate at Johnny Rocket’s; and every single October before then.
My birthday accompanies so many things; everyone’s does, but for me it’s this magical and particular time of year that’s associated with every single thing I’ve ever loved, regretted, felt for, lived for or almost cried over. It’s so much more than another year older; it’s another year of wisdom and another year of wondering what the future holds and another year of reminiscing over past birthdays and wondering how my life became what it is now, versus what I thought it was going to look like. Every day I walk into work and think, “how did this even happen? How did I end up here? Here of all places, here in this career, here in this job. How?” It’s been complicated and weird and unbelievable. But everything that’s happened to be right now, I owe to two or three life-altering moments of the past two years.
Firstly, I moved to Vancouver in 2013. On that birthday, I had a low-key brunch with one of my closest friends and her mom. It was a grim fall and I was stuck in a grim place. I went to Seattle. I was thinking of becoming a teacher but I was painfully awkward and painfully bad at teaching. I thought I was going to fail. I knew I was going to fail. Moving to Vancouver and being a bad teacher as I turned 27 changed the course of my whole life.
Do I believe in fate? Sometimes. Sometimes I believe there is someone moving pawns and knights around the board of the universe. Sometimes I believe that everything that’s ever happened to every single person is a part of this unscripted play we’re all in that was directed and influenced by people or beings we can’t see but we just know they’re there. Other times I think that it’s all choice and it’s all random. And when things work out, it’s a fortunate exception rather than the rule.
Whether this is random or planned though, here we all are. Lost friends and gained careers and love and a new family and new everyone and everything… I’m here and it’s scary but I’m also so, so lucky. Or maybe someone else willed this for me. Or maybe I did it all myself.