I've been thinking lately about how the smallest events/decisions can affect your life.
For instance, recently my friend Pol celebrated her birthday on the first of March, which is indeed the day she was born. However, on her seventeenth birthday she decided (for reasons I've long forgotten) to have her party on the tenth of March of that year. We ended up in the local Teen club and that was where I met Jeff, who I married.
Now, if she'd had her party on her actual birthday would I have married the same person?
What if we'd decided NOT to go to the club? Or what if Jeff hadn't? Or what if I'd had the flu that day? Or what if I'd been grounded and couldn't have gone to her party?
What would my life have been like now? One small thing. For good or for bad.
Even much smaller things can change the course of a life.
I was reading about chaos theory and the Butterfly Effect tonight. (The link above is easy reading compared to some of the more technical stuff on the theory of Sensitive Dependence on Initial Condition .
According to this theory even something very, very tiny ( like the flap of a insect's wing) can cause ripples of effect in the universe space-time continuum thingy. Tiny little things making all sorts of far-reaching changes that nobody can know or fathom (unless you're heavily into chaos equations and fractal whatchamacallits).
Makes my head whirl to think that something I did today, perhaps some 1/4 second of my life today crossing the street walking faster or slower, or perhaps something as banal as my breakfast cereal choice has changed the course of my life or perhaps someone else's in a way that I will never realize.
Something of this nature that spooked me once: I was working at a video store circa the year 1989 and I rented out a games system and a couple of games to two teenaged boys. We chatted for a few minutes before they left.
Maybe an hour later a police officer brings the things the boys rented back to the store. There had been an awful car accident about a mile away. The boys' vehicle had been T-boned by another car and both of them died.
Morbid thoughts: Was I one of the last people they spoke to? If they hadn't rented the games or spoken to me, would they still be alive? Or did they stop for slurpies at the 7-11 across the street and did that put them at the fatal intersection at the moment of impact? If they'd paused to tie their shoelace before they caught back in their car, was that enough to change their fate? Yeah, it was spooky to think about alright.
According to Butterfly theory, even the fact that you are reading this blog post instead of doing something else has probably changed the course of your life in some infinitisemal way. Or possibly just a weather pattern in Brazil.