Small-town Chinese food outings were part of the fabric of my college days. I fondly remember nights spent deciphering menu typos and misspellings. The food was always delicious, regardless of the spelling, especially when flavored by good conversation and laughter. Fortune cookies offered a final opportunity for a smile — especially when followed with “in bed.”
Once a friend got “Everyone knows you are the best.” While that still may be the best fortune, I’ve come across a contender…
Sometime in the years after college, my tastebuds and friend group tended away from Chinese. I don’t remember where or when exactly, but about three and a half years ago a new fortune entered my life: “Relish the Transitions in Your Life – They Will Happen Regardless.”
My time in graduate school was waning, and no words could have been sweeter. It was exactly the bit of philosophy I needed then, and perhaps still do. The magic of it finding me was oddly comforting. I stuck it in my wallet, just over my ID. There, it has served as a near-constant reminder, grounding me through a slew of transitions: an engagement, my first place-based heartbreak, long days of job hunting, a wedding, new jobs, moves, new places, and a multitude of daily trials.
Whether by nature or nurture, I’m a planner. My way through transitions has always been to make lists, plan logistics, and control change through over-management. The fortune’s soft whispers from my wallet have reminded me to stop, breathe, and pay attention. It is hard to relish today when you are already planning tomorrow.
I don’t know where the fortunes come from. Perhaps they’re all copied from random websites, or there’s a person who sits and writes random phrases all day. (What a fascinating and exhausting job that would be!) Maybe they’re duplicated thousands and thousands of times. But one way or another, this bit of wisdom made it to my wallet to cover my birthdate, much to the chagrin of grocery and liquor store clerks. The small slip of paper might fall out in a hurried exchange of cards or become so rubbed as to be unreadable. Even if the artifact disappears, the words that have become a mantra of sorts never will.
Perhaps I’m biased because I’m still young, and change seems to come from all directions, but I’m beginning to think that life is all transitions. And honestly, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
What words ring through to you? I’d love to hear them!