I’ve come to realize lately that things happen in their own time. No matter how much I want something, if it’s meant to happen, it will, no effort needed on my part. Other times, I might want something very much, but no matter how much effort I put into it, it just doesn’t happen – and trust me; this has happened a lot. Then again, something that I completely ignore might just flourish in front of my eyes, unexpectedly and effortlessly.
Following that, I think about how things have “happened” in my life, leading me to where I am right now. I studied civil engineering (my dad’s idea of a secure job) and in 1995 I went on to do a PhD in Digital Architecture (the only way for me to link my degree with two of my passions, design and computers). Hardly a month into the course, a professor asked me out of the blue to make a website for the department, from scratch. He gave me three days to do it; days I spent reading a lot, experimented quite a bit and pulling hair, until I did it, and my first website went live at the end of the 3-day period.
I’ve been working as a web developer for almost 20 years now. I still do, partly because I have to earn a living and partly because I’ve worked so hard to create Istomedia, my company, that I feel like it’s kind of a family member. Then, a couple of years ago, I realized that I had started losing patience: with clients, projects, designs, programming, the constant need for updating and upgrading and the 6-month life cycle of everything technological. I turned to writing as a relief, and realized, startled, that it was all I wanted to do.
Every now and again, I wonder whether my studies and everything I have worked for is going to waste. But I think not: my degree has helped me to study and organize my thoughts. My PhD taught how to properly research topics, question everything, look for new and different ways to achieve a result. My work has taught me how to market my book, design its cover, create the ebook file. Indie publishing requires the same skills: presenting myself and my work to potential clients, networking, promoting my creations, finishing a project within a deadline and a budget etc.
So, at 44, life has brought me where I am. All the things I’ve done, have arguably happened because I need them today. Which is why I try to practice nowadays what Tao Te Ching calls Wei Wu Wei – actionless action: the art of setting your destination and letting life take you there. It’s a nice concept, isn’t it?
You mention fearing that your degree is going to waste (at least over a year ago), but I think this is a very common fear. Many people pursue a path that is not entirely fulfilling or crowded to the point where the opportunity is not as ripe as one was lead to believe. For example, I was told many times that medical coding was a good field to go into because jobs were there and I was pretty quick to learn it. Unfortunately, a lot of people were told this and I stopped putting money toward the degree since it was only a path to money that looked to be stuck in a traffic jam. After that I went to writing because I figured I might as well try for the big dream. Still, it took me years to implement my degree and that happens a lot with those that go into the arts. Getting to the point of the post, I do wonder if there is a balance of pushing for something and the universe at work when it comes to life. It seems odd that it would be entirely one or the other without a ‘negative’ consequence.
Newton’s law, right? For every action… 🙂
Thanks for the sympathetic read!
No problem. Newton can be applied to more than I realized.
Reblogged this on inderjit@~'Silent Winds'.
Inderjit, thank you for rebloging this. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
You are welcome Nicholas
Yes indeed great post and since I do believe in the line that yes All that happens has A reason.
Have a great time Ahead
I fought for the longest time trying to figure out why my life had turned out the way it had. I finally accepted that it happened for a reason. It was meant to happen to allow me to be a voice for those who have no voice.
I’ve read about your ordeal and how you survived it on https://kathryntreat.com/ , and that is a lovely way of looking at it!
Oh yes….your inspiring post reminded me of the astounding and famous speech of Steve Jobs in Stanford Uni. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA)
He mentions at some point how even his calligraphy studies in earlier life wound up useful when he came to create the fonts for Apple…..when you go back and join the dots, it always makes sense. I have found that my own life in retrospect makes perfect sense now. Everything seems to have happened for a reason to bring me to the here and now when I am finally doing the thing I have always wanted to do; ie write. People often rush into things and refuse to let go of situations that clearly don’t work. We stress and we get frustrated but I believe it is all down to the fact that as humans, we are bound to the dimension of Time. But Time, Quantum Physics tells us, is an illusion. What to us may feel like a wasted 10 or 20 years, for the Universe it passes in tbe blink of an eye. The key therefore, i believe, is to remember that time doesn’t matter. We need to trust it will happen when the time is right – the journey may even be more important than the destination and we need to be ripe and equipped for it. That’s the only reason for the delay – that is what I have come to believe.
That is so true, especially your phrase “people… refuse to let go of situations that clearly don’t work”. Knowing when to let go and when to hold on is the hardest thing, isn’t it?
You remind me of something I was reading (I think in PK Dick’s Exegesis); you may be ready for a change, but the others around you need to sync with you before that change can happen. So, if things seem to be stuck in limbo, it’s because you’re waiting for the other necessary components to catch up with you. He compares it to a clock’s gears turning, each following its own rhythm, until they can finally link up and then turn in sync.
That’s a really interesting post. It kind of mirrors my own journey. I have always written stuff bit I never even thought of trying to write books as a job. I was par too piss poor at sales and bad at being told to go away. I did marketing and PR and did well. I thought I was living the dream and then, after being cited as a role model for the junior execs by the M D one Friday I was made redundant on the Monday -because I like to do these things properly and there’s no point in doing anything if you can’t make a funny story out of it. I joked that I could snatch failure from the jaws of victory, I joked that another MT in another version of reality whose life wasn’t going as well as mine had some how swapped us and then one of my friends, who seemed to be genuinely bemused that I was upset, said,
“Why are you so sad? It was really cool that you had a high powered job but it wasn’t real, it wasn’t you.”
I carried on writing corporate puff for a living but I learned to stop self actualising through what I do. It was a few years later, when I realised that I have always written books and that with the advent of digital publishing I could now get them in front of readers without having to spend years flogging them to a crowd of jaded gatekeepers with Oxbridge firsts who only like literary fiction and think fantasy and science fiction are something awfully plebeian and dreadful. I absolutely agree that many things happen for a reason and help us grow. I have a faith but it’s difficult to explain. All the main faiths are trying to rationalise and explain something that is beyond human understanding. But think Rev. That’s such a great demonstration of the difference between blind belief and having a faith.
And wow. That’s the end of my essay.
What an awesome comment, thanks for sharing! You reminded me of my guest post for Danica Cornell – https://danica-cornell.com/2014/02/15/guest-post-go-ahead-make-a-margarita-a-pleasant-nightmare/ . Very similar experiences…
I’m glad you realized you’re not your job, and managed to find your true calling. I’ve had my share of the gatekeepers’ nonsense, and am terribly grateful to Amazon for breaking us free.
As for faith, it’s a deeply personal thing, but I don’t mind sharing that I, for one, have had so many “there but for the Grace of God” moments, that there’s little doubt in my mind that things do, indeed, happen for a reason.
A pleasure! I’m going to go look up that link now. 😉
Well, a positive attitude sure can’t hurt, right? 😉
There’s this story about three men sitting before a cauldron, sipping spoonfulls of what’s inside. One wears an indifferent expression, the second a disgusted one and the third one is smiling.
The cauldron contains vinegar; the point being that all that changes is their attitude towards the whole experience.
It’s so true, good or bad, everything happens for a reason!
You know, all we mean by “good” and “bad” is usually just “pleasant” and “unpleasant”, isn’t it? In Pearseus, I have one of my characters describe their faith. They believe that a man’s spirit needs nourishment, and that’s experience. It doesn’t really matter if it’s pleasant or unpleasant, for only stagnation can kill it. I’m not I agree with them, but I do find the thought interesting. 🙂
Having a positive attitude and being able to deal with situations do help 🙂