This year, I’m not setting any New Year’s resolutions. I seem to re-set the same ones every year, so why bother? But I do have a wish for 2017. My hope is that it will be a year filled with coincidences.
Best Time for an Alarm: 6:23 a.m.
Beginning in high school, my favorite time to set my alarm clock was for 6:23 a.m. If I needed to be at school by 8 a.m., that time was just right. I could get ready, have breakfast and get to school just-in-time.
After college, when I needed to get to work by 8 a.m., 6:23 a.m. was still my go-to wake-up time. 6:22 a.m. was too early and 6:24 a.m. felt too late. 6:23 a.m. was just right.
Over the years, 6:23 a.m. has remained my favorite time for my alarm clock. Even if I don’t need to be anywhere, it’s still a good time to start my day. I just really like it.
Several years ago, I was telling my husband about my favorite alarm clock time. He looked at me incredulously and said, “Jenny, don’t you realize that 6/23 is my birthday?”
Oh my goodness. I hadn’t realized that! I’m not sure why I didn’t put two and two together, but I hadn’t. And almost 15 years before I met my husband, I had started to set my alarm to his birthday date? That’s just weird.
What a coincidence.
Different Route, Same Destination
Around this time of year, there is advice everywhere about how to live the next year to the fullest: start a gratitude journal. Do more. Do less. Be more mindful. Be present.
I’m not going to resolve to do any of those things this year. They all feel too heavy. Instead, I’m going to try something much lighter. I’m going to keep an eye open for coincidences. And while looking for them, some of these other worthy New Year’s resolutions may come along for the ride.
For example, one has to be awake to notice a coincidence. These days, that’s called mindfulness and many self-help experts advocate being mindful. I’m all for it. I took a class (twice!) on mindfulness and even subscribe to Mindful magazine. But resolving to be mindful just isn’t that fun. My mind keeps going elsewhere and the constant process of bringing it back can get discouraging.
But it’s fun to look for coincidences and I only notice them when I’m paying attention. I don’t see coincidences when I’m distracted or worrying. I only find them when I’m open to meeting the world, when I’m being mindful.
A few days after my mom’s funeral last winter, I was flying from Minneapolis to Southern California. On my flight, was a successful friend of mine whom my mom respected a great deal. She was delighted that I knew him. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, but that morning he was at my boarding gate, almost like he was waiting for me. In fact, he had never flown to this Southern California destination before, but there he was. It was comforting to see him.
What a coincidence.
Coincidences are an Inside Joke
Coincidences are personal. If you try and explain a coincidence to somebody, it loses its magic. It’s like trying to help a friend understand an inside joke. If you need to explain it, it’s not funny.
Coincidences are almost always gently funny or awe-inspiring. They require a certain childlike wonder. And they may require some imagination too!
Some people believe coincidences are a result of setting intentions, manifestations or prayers. Maybe they are; maybe they aren’t. For example, after my last post about wanting Holmes to sleep in my lap in the evening, guess what? He started doing that. Did he read my post? I don’t think so. Or was it me making my wishes known to the universe? I don’t know.
I think it might be a you-know-what.
The More I See, the Luckier I Feel
I’ve studied behavioral economics and statistics. I realize that the probability of random events occurring simultaneously, over time, is great. I also know from behavioral economics that humans see links between events when there are none. We try to make meaning out of meaningless data.
But I don’t care about all that. I feel lucky and blessed when I spot a coincidence. They are like being kissed by a butterfly.
I hope to find many coincidences this year. I hope you do too.