The accidental path8:11 PM
Have you ever heard the sentence "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."?
This sentence pretty much sums up the lives of a vast majority of people in this world, including myself. We all grew up making or having big plans. As kids, we were all asked early what we wanted to be when we grew up. We probably all ended up following a few of these leads.
We planned, re-planned, had a plan B, and a C, and possibly a D, you know just in case...because it is the wise thing to do. Just in case life happens, and it usually does.
Life happens, and you find yourself resorting to plans X, Y and Z (and probably beyond, but we ran out of letters, dang dammit!). That is probably because plans don't really work. From experience, I'll say that is probably better to have an idea and a set of goals rather than a big master plan.
Like everybody, I had plans. Some were cool, some were crazy, and some deceptively normal. As a kid I wanted to be a teacher, then a vet, then a circus performer, and an actor. As I grew into a teenager, I wanted to be an art teacher, PE teacher, doctor, a decorator and a synchronized swimmer. I even remember once asking how one does become an astronaut in the course of my childhood.
I pursued synchronized swimming, and there was a time I was serious about becoming an art teacher, but only because my original plan of becoming an artist was poo pooed by my parents who said nobody makes a living with arts.
A few changes later, and I wanted to be an interior decorator. I was really sure this plan was going to work, I studied for it and everything. But that was before Internet entered my life to eventually ship me to India (who would have thought!)
The irony is that Internet was never part of the plan you see. It was a distraction, a fun, fascinating new fad that I enjoyed discovering in my free time. I didn't even know back then that finding computers fascinating was considered geeky.
Interestingly, as I stand today, it ended up a distraction that pretty much shaped my life and who I became. Not only did it send me across the world and gave me a husband. It also taught me a whole bunch of pretty cool skills no school of my days would have taught to me. Back when I was a kid, home computers didn't have Internet (very few of us even had computers at home).
My learning journey pretty much all started with iVillage, a online portal for women that is now sadly no more. I was a Community Leader (CL) there, hosting message boards of various topics over the course of a decade. Not only did it help me better my grasp on the English language, it also taught me how to be a supportive voice to those in need in message boards. And because iVillage was constantly evolving and us CL were to be kept up to date, I learned the basics of website building, photo editing, HTML and graphic art making.
This very blog would never have seen the light of day if it wasn't for a fellow CL to suggest I start writing about my "Adventures in India" as she put it.
Internet was a catalyst for change in my life, without me even planning on it. People in my life used to make fun of it. Spending time in front of a computer instead of going out to parties was for "losers". Many tried in vain to "save me" by trying to put me on the extrovert fast lane. Back then I didn't even know that being introverted was a thing, and a normal one at that. I am sure that today, many of my childhood friends still see Internet as a futile distraction, one better left untouched not to be driven off the well travelled road. Have they succeeded sticking to their own original plans? I have no idea.
I myself am more of a beat your own drum and march to your own tune kind of person. If I see a path less travelled, I am likely to take it. And guess what? The artist life my parents claimed had no future is the one that is right now offering me the most prospect and ended up having the most diversified options of all.
I took the "accidental path" I pretty much allowed life to happen all along. But then, was it really all an accident?