Road trips with my parents have always been a highlight of my life, believe it or not. When I was little, my mom would drive our old Chevy Corsica and my dad would read us snippets of The Lord of the Rings. As we got older and the road trips got more infrequent, the time spent with my parents was relegated to whenever I had time to get back to my hometown (usually once a month or once every two months).
I have the best conversations with my dad when we get on the road. He tells me about his childhood (reminiscent and melancholic), about what he was like as a teenager, about what my mom was like when they were younger (they’ve been together since high school), and waxes poetic on the meandering madness of the universe in general.
We’ve talked at length about his conflicting ideologies — logic is King, yet the Universe is wise. During this particular trip (wherein my parents saved me from the arduous and lengthy Greyhound trip back to Vancouver), my dad and I talked about heeding the warnings on the universe.
When the universe gives you a big signal that you’re making a mistake, you do well to heed its warning. It only comes once. If you choose not to heed it, you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.
Warnings and gifts seem to appear right when we least expect them to. It’s easy to misinterpret them as benign or unintrusive or devoid of meaning. Upon closer inspection (and introspection), these signals take on a different life. They have the potential to provide deeper meaning or insight into a given situation.
My first big warning from the universe was when I lost my job as a programmer. Strange as it was, it was easy to follow orders (and shove down my inner monologue) and do what I was told. There was no creative control. There was very little risk. It was comfortable. I could’ve continued my vocation, even though I was miserable. If I had just quit my job, I could’ve returned to being a programmer at any time. Maybe I would have.
But I heeded the universe. Through my very heartbreaking termination, it had warned me that I was heading in the wrong direction with my life.
The second big warning came just after my wedding. My relationship with Mike was, at best, strained. We struggled to keep up with our bills — financial solvency was a ways off, yet — and our communication was completely broken. We barely saw one another for a good four months while I whittled away at a degree that was ultimately doomed to failure. In 2009, Mike had decided that he was sick and tired of his current vocation as a programmer and wanted to become a police officer.
I was left reeling. Our relationship became even more strained (I didn’t think that was possible) and I struggled to keep it together while I felt like everything was falling apart. When the universe presented an opportunity (a gift, really) to go back to my hometown to figure it all out in peace, I took it. I spent four months piecing together what was wrong and struggled to find ways to repair the damage that had been done.
Our relationship wasn’t irreparable, even though at times it appeared to be. I was determined to make it work. I knew that a life without Mike wasn’t something I was prepared to indulge. So I fought for us. He fought for us. We slowly improved our communication, our sex life, and our financial situation. By the time my Autumnal Faceplant of 2010 came around, we were happy and at ease.
If not for the universe providing me an opportunity for growth — if I had stayed in Vancouver and muscled my way through my tumultuous feelings and damaged relationship full time — I might not be with Mike today. I certainly wouldn’t be expecting a baby in a month and a half. And I sure as shit wouldn’t be running a biznez.
Logically, I would’ve been able to figure all of these various issues out given enough time and energy. I might’ve been able to suffer through being a programmer for another couple of years while I figured out what I wanted to do, providing an extra paycheque during some particularly difficult financial situations. My relationship with Mike might’ve been okay had we gone through therapy together and employed another person’s insights into our issues (I’m a firm believer in the power of therapy, baby).
In actuality, I’m grateful for the universe looking out for me. I’ve known plenty of people that have been given the same opportunities and the same sorts of warnings but have failed to heed them over and over again.
The universe will only make its intentions known once, if you’re lucky. In my experience, it’s best to keep yourself open to possibility and try to learn from as many situations as you can. You never know when it all might come together and shine big and bright on your star.