Have you ever had one of those moments in life where you’re moving along in a certain direction, thinking you know where you’re headed, and then boom!
Suddenly something comes out of left field and not only changes your direction but changes the entire course of your life? And afterward, you’re left thinking “Wow. Imagine if that certain event hadn’t happened? Where would I be now?”
Out of the infinite different possibilities and paths that your life could follow, how did you end up on this particular path and was it coincidence? A random accident?
Or was it the hand of something larger than you, forcing your life onto a path that it’s ‘meant’ to follow?
I had one of these moments in 1998. It changed the course of my life forever. It went like this:
I was working in the lab one afternoon at University, finishing some experiments that I desperately needed to complete for my Honours thesis in Biotechnology. A guy knocked on the door of our lab and said his name was Mark. He asked if I was Katie. He’d heard about me through one of his lecturers, who happened to be one of my supervisors. When I said yes I was indeed Katie, he said he was finishing his Mineral Science Degree and had just returned from Reno in the U.S.A, where he’d been working for a big company who was doing ‘Bioleaching’ – exactly the kind of research that my Honours research was about.
Mark said “You’re working on Bioleaching right?” When I confirmed that yes I was, he said that the company he had just left was looking for graduates with specific experience in Bioleaching and that I should ring his ex-boss to see if I could apply for one of the roles. He gave me the number of the lady I should call, wished me good luck, gave me the names of a few people to meet up with when I got there (if I got the job). He then said he had to go and left.
I never saw him again!
The opportunity sounded super exciting — who wouldn’t want to be paid to move to the United States straight after University for a great job? I spoke with the lady he recommended, and the next thing I had a job offer in my hands. This was October 1998, and I was being offered a job with the company starting in November. At the time I was in a destructive relationship that had been on and off for at least four years, which I’d tried leaving several times but without success (we loved each other but you know how these first loves can be, we also hurt each other a lot).
Life had been hell for at least a couple of years as I struggled with this relationship while juggling the incredible demands of my full-time studies, two part-time jobs, my parents’ divorce and a hefty social life. This was my opportunity to start anew, to get great experience and to travel to amazing places I had only dreamed of. So I said yes!
That decision changed the course of my life forever.
While in Reno I had an amazing time, worked hard, partied a lot, learned to snowboard, made amazing lifelong friends. And I met my husband Bas with whom I now have two beautiful children. Bas is from Holland and so we spent many years living and working in The Netherlands. I learned to speak fluent Dutch, worked as a consultant with a Dutch company for many years, lived and partied in Amsterdam and other cities in Holland, and I’ve inherited my beautiful Dutch family-in-law and have some amazing Dutch friends.
That one visit from ‘Mark’ in the lab that afternoon in Perth, Australia changed the entire course of my life, with a unique set of ups and downs, good times and dark times to follow; all that have shaped and molded the person I am today.
I’ve since often wondered who was this guy Mark?
I don’t even remember his last name so I wouldn’t be able to look him up and to tell him how much his short visit changed my life. I’m not able to thank him for the incredible impact he had on my life direction. And sometimes I even wonder if he was real? Since I’ve never been able to find him again, was he some kind of angel, sent to get my life on the path it needed to be? It seems too surreal and impactful to be ‘random’ or ‘coincidental’.
What if he’d decided not to drop past my lab to tell me that this company was hiring? He didn’t have to make the effort to come and tell me – a complete stranger – about this opportunity. What path would my life have taken if I hadn’t applied for the job that took me overseas to meet my future husband?
Was it coincidence? Or divine intervention?
I really don’t know the answer to this. But something deep within me believes it was meant to be, that perhaps it’s not so random. All the good — the really good & beautiful — plus the bad, the ugly and heart-breaking that followed as a result of me taking that specific life path, all seem to have been perfectly designed to get me to right where I am now — to be the person I am, doing what I’m doing.
Have you had a moment like that that’s changed the course of your life forever?
What’s your verdict? Is it random? Coincidental? Or not so random at all….?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please take the time to leave a comment below if you’ve had a similar experience!
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Inspired Careers International