I’m coming up on the anniversary of my last day in PR—almost exactly four years ago. And it’s made me think a lot about sliding doors. About how my life would be different if these little things had happened differently.
Like if I hadn’t left my job. Or I hadn’t started this business. Or I hadn’t had the courage to be with Garrett. Or I hadn’t gotten sick and tried alternative therapies. Where would I be?
It occurred to me as I was taking Roscoe for a walk yesterday that I feel like I’m doing the exact work that I honestly believe can best help the world. And I live in the exact home in the exact section of the exact city that I want to be at right now. And I’m in the exact marriage I want to be in. As the exact person I want to be—even, and especially, if that means constant growth.
But I wasn’t here just a few years ago. Not one of these things was in place. And, from an outsider’s viewpoint, none of what happened should ever have happened. Everything seemed like a miracle—even if it felt like hell in the moment.
See, since childhood, Garrett always knew he’d go to school in Boston. He just felt called to. Which was…unorthodox…in his family who had all gone to the same Philadelphia college. Seventeen of them in all, to be exact. I don’t doubt that listening to his intuition was a huge act of courage. And, if he hadn’t, we likely never would have met.
And I only had one rule for college: I wouldn’t go to Northeastern. Because my dad went there, and ironically I felt that it was lame to go to the same school as your family. But one day we toured schools in the Boston, and I hated every single one. They felt stuffy or pretentious or lacking modern architecture and a cohesive campus. And my day meekly suggested we at least look at Northeastern. Because we left, I had bought a sweatshirt and decided I wouldn’t apply anywhere else. If I hadn’t been open, I never would have met Garrett.
Years later, we both needed a place to live at the same time, and ended up moving in together. It’s when I first got sick. And when he wanted to be anywhere but Boston. He applied to residencies all over the country. If he got placed anywhere but Boston, he wouldn’t have been there when I was sick to take care of me. And we wouldn’t be together today.
But he was. And we fell in love. And tried to figure it out. As I was having daily mental breakdowns about the changes in my life. Exploring spiritual awakenings. And realizing that maybe my path was meant to be a different one than I expected. And I don’t know that I would have survived all of that had Garrett not been there.
I remember once I said, “You know, the best thing that ever happened to me was getting sick.” And he said back, “The best thing that ever happened to me was you getting sick.” Funny how life works sometimes.
Then I lost my passport, and it started a chain reaction that led me to give a year’s notice at my company. And I didn’t have a plan, so I found myself in nutrition school and herbalism school while still working full-time and figuring out my relationship with Garrett.
And we moved in together at a gorgeous three-bedroom with a giant picture window overlooking the skyline of the whole city that was way out of our price range. I was scared because I was leaving my job. But Garrett had a feeling we had to. If he didn’t listen to his intuition, we never would have moved to this part of the city. And the place ended up randomly getting price-reduced the day we signed for it.
It was in that home that I’d wake up in the middle of the night and write down words I heard in my dreams—words that would soon become the basis of my work. And Garrett got his first job—literally the only job in the entire city where he could do what he actually wanted to do—and, coincidentally, innovative work that I championed in PR nearly five years before.
After nearly two years in that home, I set the intention that we’d only look to buy if our rent went up. The next door we got an e-mail that it was going up $300 per month. And so we were house-hunting. In one of the most expensive and most competitive markets in the country. Sure we wouldn’t find anything.
Until we saw our dream home. And the next day it was already off the market. So we went off searching again. And then our dream home came back on the market—someone’s loan didn’t go through. So we went back and put in for it. And we were outbid, and devastated. So we went looking again. And somehow that person backed out, realizing they couldn’t afford the down payment they planned. And the seller was so annoyed with how long this process was taking, that it was given to us for exactly what we wanted to pay—less than we expected.
If at any point in there we settled—for a home that wasn’t our dream or a relationship that wasn’t so perfect or a job we didn’t love—we wouldn’t have what we have now. And if we weren’t courageous and listened to our intuition, we’d be living entirely different lives.
I still remember waking up with daily panic attacks. And acid reflux. And crying on the couch in pain. I can’t say everything I described was fun. In fact, it brought me to hell and back daily for almost two years. As I had to redefine who I was—in love with Garrett, spiritual, and willing to leave a life of certain success for a completely uncertain one.
But sliding doors. If any of that had been different, I wouldn’t be sitting here today typing this. It’s a striking thought. Because I can’t imagine what my life would be like. Where I’d live. Who I’d be dating—or married to. What work I’d be doing. How happy—or not happy—I’d be.
I had the thought yesterday that when my Soul was choosing to come into this life, I have to imagine that some version of what I’m living now was what it had in mind. And that’s a powerful thought to have. Even with all of the fear and chaos I had to work through to get to this moment. And, undoubtedly, the fear and chaos that I’ll have to keep working through to stay aligned.
Take a moment and think today about all of the small decisions that led you to where you are right now. Where would you be if anything were different? Who would you be? And what are you most grateful for in all of it?