I believe that everything happens for a reason. There have simply been too many events that could have gone so many different ways, but went one very specific direction because of choices made and/or seemingly unrelated outside circumstances. Is this too philosophical for early January? Bear with me.

This “there’s a reason for everything” business has floated around in my mind for a while, but it wasn’t until my 20s when I started to believe. (When I sound too much like Mulder from the X-files, just stop me.) For a lot of people, their 20s is a time of immense and, oftentimes, intense change. In my case, college had ended and I was striking out on my own. There were several years in there where I simply had no idea where I was heading. Fortunately, I managed to figure it out. Signing up for the Peace Corps was a big part of that.

There is a fun story that relates to the Peace Corps and falls under the “everything happens for a reason” umbrella. That story has to do with my current relationship, and the absolutely bizarre and extremely slim chances my girlfriend and I could have even ever met. However, this post is not about that story.

Over the holidays, Alyssa (my wonderful other half) and I drove from San Diego to Dallas-Ft. Worth, where the majority of my family lives. We had everything planned out. We would spend Christmas and New Year’s with everybody, eat a lot of great food, replenish our souls with a two week break from life, then make the long drive back featuring a national-park extravaganza! We would hit up four different sites on our return trip to SoCal, including visits to the Marfa Lights, White Sands, Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, and the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We had our hotels booked, our route planned, and WE WERE STOKED.

Then, the government shut down.

I won’t go into all of that, though. That’s not what this is about. Was a giant, orange wrench thrown into our plans? Yes. But did that hitch in our trip happen for a reason? Yes!

Had we gone on the three-day excursion to visit each of those places, we would have arrived in San Diego on a Sunday night, right before we both had to go back to work/school. While that would have been tough, it was still doable. However, since we did not visit all of those places, we returned on a Friday night. And boy, were we glad we did.

We came home to several apartment issues, including a carbon-monoxide alarm ringing incessantly. (Thankfully, it only needed new batteries.) A transformer in our neighborhood blew, knocking out all of our power. Alyssa’s car, which had remained in San Diego during our trip, wouldn’t start. The battery had died and needed to be replaced. All of these things we would have had to deal with late into the night on Sunday—the day before returning to real life—had our original plans stayed in place.

While we were bummed the National Parks that we intended to visit were closed, we ended up being glad we returned when we did. Plus, the trip wasn’t a complete loss. We did go to Marfa, the tiny town in Texas, and actually saw two of the mysterious Marfa Lights. We even caught the blink-and-you-miss-it Prada art piece sitting on the side of the road off highway-10. Also, we saw a SHOOTING STAR and if that’s not a good sign for 2019, I don’t know what is.

We were happy we had a weekend to deal with all of the silly apartment items and Alyssa was thrilled she didn’t need to find a ride on Monday. I realize these are all minor issues, but it was nice to have the time to deal with them, instead of feeling rushed.

Am I reaching for straws with this whole “everything happens for a reason” stuff? Perhaps. But what is a New Year if not a time for finding silver linings in ruined plans? Shiny outlooks help us remember that there’s light at the end of dark and frightening times.

Keep shining, y’all. And Happy New Year.


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