If you’ve never seen the movie Serendipity, I highly recommend you rent and watch it. Since it is 8 years old, you can probably pick it up from the bargain bin for only a few bucks. Nonetheless, it is a romantic-comedy; all-about-love story (Insert eye roll) spanned across years and built around a set of coincidental events. Some would view the movie as a complete unrealistic example of finding true love and that never in a million years could two people come together like Jonathan and Sarah. I’m not one of those skeptics. In fact, I think we all have a little serendipity in our lives.
When interviewing potential clients, I always like to get the background of how the couple met. Typically, the couple responds to my question unexcitingly as if they are somehow disappointed in the method they met. Keeping in mind we live in the age of dating via Facebook and breaking up via text message, I understand that all couples aren’t going to respond with a unbelievable love story about how boy met girl in kindergarten and after 18 years of living cross-country from one another, the boy rescued the girl from a burning 5-story building and proposed atop Cinderella’s Castle. Maybe they met at a bar on a not-so-special Saturday night or perhaps they met online on an unproductive Wednesday. And sure, on the surface those “chance” meetings don’t seem like chance at all. But I like to look deeper. I like to examine the years before two people met and the decisions that led them to go out on a Saturday night or logon on a Wednesday. It’s those little and big choices made along the way that make the meeting of two people serendipitous.
Everyone always asks how I met Chase. Especially since I’m from the small town of Hudson, North Carolina and he reigns from the apparent greatest state on Earth, Texas. The short story of how I met my husband would go something like this:
“We met through some friends in the parking lot of Remington Grille.”
That’s boring and unexciting. Producers certainly won’t be beating on our doors anytime soon to turn The Parking Lot into the next The Notebook. But the serendipitous story of how I met Chase involves years and is dependent upon a high-school couple, an indecisive 18-year-old, a life-changing move to another country and a flight choice of a new-found friend. Let me explain.
Here’s the abbreviated version of the decisions I made, the decisions those around me made and the subtle role serendipity played in me meeting my future husband.
• Become best friends with Carrie at age 3
• Carrie meets Jeremy at a basketball game
• Carrie and Jeremy date while Seniors in high school
• Indecisively, I go back and forth between college choices (My immaturity was pulling me to Tennessee while Dad & Mom’s checkbook pulled me to Myrtle Beach.)
• Attend Coastal Carolina as a Freshman in college
• Carrie attends UNC Wilmington; Jeremy attends NC State
• Carrie breaks up with Jeremy; Tennessee and I break up
• Carrie and I want to experience college together so we transfer to UNC Charlotte
• Carrie and I are accepted to study abroad for a semester
• We live and go to school for 6 months in London, England
• Become friends with Tom from Jersey while abroad
• Meet Tom’s girlfriend during Spring Break
• Become instant friends with Tom’s girlfriend, Natalie
• Return to the states and keep in touch with Tom and Natalie
• Tom’s job transfers him to Charlotte
• Natalie decides to move to Charlotte and plans a visit
• Natalie books her flight to fly into Raleigh instead of Charlotte
• Carrie and I arrange to pick up and drop off Natalie at the Raleigh airport
• Carrie and I decide to have dinner with Jeremy while dropping Natalie off at the airport
• Jeremy brings his friend from NC State to dinner
• I meet Chase
• The rest is history
What if I would have finished college at Coastal? What if I thought Natalie was a snob? Out of all the cities in the country, what if Tom’s job had transferred him somewhere else and Natalie had never come to visit? What if Chase and Jeremy had never met at NC State and what if Carrie and Jeremy never spoke again after breaking up? If one event or one decision had been different in the years leading up to meeting Chase, it’s likely we would have never met. And those are just my decisions. They don’t even account for the years of choices Chase had to make to end up in Raleigh in May of 2006.
So in my eyes, we didn’t just meet in a parking lot outside of a restaurant. It was a meeting that had been strategically planned and orchestrated by someone and something bigger than the two of us. I encourage you to be proud of the way you met your significant other. Sure, it was in a smoke-filled bar or via a virtual method. There was a lifetime of choices that led you to that exact moment in your life. Maybe you’re single and considering screaming the next time you hear someone say “He’s/She’s out there. It will happen one day. You just have to be patient.” From experience, it’s annoying but so true. Stay focused on the decisions you make today and make sure they’re in your best interest because they will undoubtedly affect your future.
As for me, I’ll continue to tell the elongated version of how I met my incredible husband. It’s a story I can’t re-tell without smiling (Seriously, I’m smiling as I type). Maybe it’s the fact I’m in love with him more today than I was when we met or maybe it’s just the reaction to the little bit of serendipity I have in my life. Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing.