Emily Dickinson said it best in her poem: Forever is composed of nows.
Your life is created by what you do right now. Right this moment. And the moment after that, and the one after that, and the one after that.
Every moment, big or small, determines our lives. Every thought, every decision, every action that we make puts our lives careening down a different path - one we can’t even fathom the outcome of. Even the smallest, most seemingly inconsequential actions can lead to something life changing or earth shattering.
Like that oft-quoted phrase - when a butterfly flaps its wings in North America, it creates a storm in Asia. Or something like that. You get the idea.
Small things have big impacts, ones we usually aren’t even aware of at the time. From what you eat for breakfast to when you leave the house, to the clothes you choose to wear. You have no idea what impact those small decisions will have on you, or your life.
My life changed all because I liked a band. Or more specifically, because of a message board.
They were my favourite band as a teen - Canadian alt rock group Our Lady Peace. And way back when, decades ago, when internet message boards and ICQ messenger was still a thing, I joined the OLP official message board. Seems like a minor, small, non-impactful decision, right?
Well, that small, minor decision to join and post on a band message board led to the biggest impact of my life - meeting my husband - online! And remember, this was long before the days of smartphones and apps, and dating apps like Tinder where I could just swipe right or left to accept or reject future loves.
I met my husband, who lived in a totally different country, through posts on a band message board.
The message board evolved into chatting on ICQ (if anyone can remember that messenger service!), and eventually, many months later, meeting in person. He flew from where he lived in Scotland, to where I lived in Canada to meet me. We had a great time, and afterwards, when he went back home, we continued a long distance relationship with phone calls and emails. Again, this was before video calls were a thing, too.
Some time later, as I neared the end of my university degree, I decided to fly to Scotland to live with my then-boyfriend while I finished my degree over there. I remember sitting on the plane by myself, flying to another country to live with someone I didn’t really know that well (in person). After all, he could be a total creep or loser or…who knows?
Fast forward twenty one years, and here we are. Still together, now back living in Canada (well, i’m back, he’s living here with me). After I’d spent 5 years living in Scotland with him.
I’ve now lived more than half my life with him, my loving, adoring, sweet, kind (but with a bit more of a potty mouth than me!) husband.
Imagine that. It’s hard to imagine, really. Something so simple - because I liked a band. And he liked that band, too. And that we’d met virtually in a message board on the band's website.
Meeting him online freed me from the small bubble of my life that I left trapped in, at the time - my family lived in a small town that I didn’t like, so I moved to go to university in a bigger city, but I would have had to have moved back afterwards, I’d think, to my old hum-drum life. But meeting him allowed me to explore living in a different country, a different culture. It allowed me to travel to places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise - places in the US, and also in Europe and the UK. It changed my perspective on…well, everything really. It took me from sheltered, introverted small-town me, to opening my eyes to the world - literally and figuratively - places like Egypt and Croatia,Turkey and Paris, Venice and Dublin, London and the Alps.
I like to remind myself that everything, no matter how mundane, can lead to bigger, brighter and greater opportunities - things we may never even imagine at the time because one small thing leads to another small thing, and another and another…and when you string them all together the small things can can up to one big, life changing thing and when you look back, awestruck, at the first small thing, to where you are now… it can help to remind yourself that forever is composed of nows.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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