Say YES to serendipity
I love the word serendipity, not just for how it sounds to me (like the pitter patter of raindrops on a pond) but for the meaning: "The occurrence of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way."
Although serendipity is meant to happen by chance I've learned that we can greatly increase our chances of happy or beneficial events happening by simply saying 'yes'.
Broadly speaking this could be adopting an attitude of saying yes to life, and more specifically it could mean saying yes to random conversations, opportunities or offers whenever they come up.
Simply saying yes, even if shyness, doubt or fear are begging you to say no, can lead you down a magical rabbit hole.
Since I got to America a few days ago I've been saying yes a lot - mainly to conversations with strangers - and the serendipity has been overflowing. Let me share an example with you.
The first day I was in town I went for a little browse around the shops. I’d forgotten to pack some cleanser (there’s always something, right?) so I popped into a store that seemed to be part health foods, part art gallery. It turns out that this a very creative town so many of the shops also double up as art galleries.
Anyway, the woman behind the counter was deep in conversation with another customer so I had a quick browse but couldn’t find what I was looking for.
Just as I was about to walk out the door the woman called over to me, ‘Is there anything I can help you with?’
I was about to say no and go on my way - I was pretty certain there weren’t any cleansers in the shop - but for some unknown reason I felt the sudden compulsion to say yes, so I turned back into the store and went over to the counter.
The other customer left and I told the woman what I was looking for. Not only did she have some cleanser in stock after all, but my saying ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’, led to the most magical conversation.
On hearing my accent she asked where I was from and so I told her I was over from the UK on a writing retreat. She asked me what I wrote so I told her about my World War 2 fiction, and this was when things got really interesting.
It turned out that her dad, who was nicknamed Red, was part of the D-Day landings as a motorcycle dispatcher. He literally had to ride off the boat at Normandy and had the highly dangerous mission of delivering important documents to different divisions.
Due to the vital nature of their role motorcycle dispatchers were a prime target for snipers and Red ended up being shot by a French woman from a top floor window of a house.
The writer in me was practically chomping at the bit at this revelation, itching to know more about the story. Who was the woman? What did Red do next? Did he make it to safety?
Thankfully he did.
Robin (the woman and I had exchanged names by this point) told me that although he had a pistol tucked inside his boot, he didn’t stop to shoot back for fear that it might be an ambush.
He made it home from the war more or less in one piece and having got his need for adventure out of his system.
Having properly bonded by this point Robin then fetched me a map of downtown and proceeded to circle all the best places to eat on it.
Then she asked if I’d like to meet up again while I’m here so she could tell me more about the local history - it turned out that she used to be a tour guide.
‘And if you need a ride to go get groceries I’d be happy to take you,’ she added. ‘I’m a great believer in car karma.’
I left that store with my heart aglow. Robin was the first person I’d spoken to upon arriving and she couldn’t have made me feel more welcome.
And to think you were about to say no when she asked if she could help you, my inner voice chided as I carried on along the street.
It was an important and much needed reminder that the best and most interesting things seem to happen when we say yes.
I’m writing this to you on the fifth day of my stay and I’m happy to report that my time here has been full of magical and serendipitous happenings, mainly through me saying yes to having conversations with the people I meet.
I know we tend to be more open to the new when we’re travelling but maybe we need to adopt the same approach in our day to day lives too.
And so I have a fun little challenge for you. This week, as you go about your life, try saying yes to even the smallest and most seemingly insignificant things and see what happens. I’d love to know if you have any magical moments of serendipity.
Until next week…
Great story Siobhan. Taking up your challenge, recently I gave away a bike. Soon after I received a txt asking me if I wanted to meet up with the recipient. I said, Yes. I wasn't seeking relationship or romance, but as it turns out , she's lovely...