The Too Thrifty Chicks know a little bit about the power of the universe and what it means to have something that looks bad work out for good.
We are both big fans of the The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and are reminded daily that,
“when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
We believe that when what you are doing in all areas of your life is perfectly aligned with whatever you should be doing, the universe will help you out. We believe, because we’ve seen it manifest before we knew each other and definitely since. We know exactly what it’s like to want something really bad and finally get it. We also know what it’s like to want something just a little bit and to get that too.
I probably didn’t pay enough attention to what the universe was doing early in life, but this year I can truly look over my life and say the it has been up to something over the last decade, if not my entire life. Instead of giving you the whole story, I’ll start in January 2009. I was on a bus from Montgomery, Ala. coming to the Washington,D.C.-area for the inauguration. I was here as a working journalist documenting the pilgrimage of a bus load of people from that city, many of whom had lived through segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, to see the inauguration of the first African American president. The history of the moment was clearly not lost on me, but I remember standing on the National Mall in the freezing cold with my mother and my fellow Americans thinking, “I’m ready to do this. I’m going to live here.”
I’d always had this loose, but clear idea that I wanted to live in the Washington, D.C.-area. It developed after I started covering state government and politics in Alabama and culminated in that moment on the National Mall. I kind of had an idea that I’d like to be among the hard working journalists you always see in the gaggle asking the tough questions of our top leaders. Then we’d spend a long day covering the Alabama State Legislature until after midnight, or I’d miss another Friday happy hour with friends because I was filing stories and then I’d seriously rethink whether that was exactly what I wanted to do if I ever made it to the area.
But the reality is that I had no idea about how to make it happen.I hadn’t applied to The Washington Post, or even any of the papers that my own company owned in the area. But when a job opportunity came out of the blue, just two years after having that very thought on the National Mall, I jumped at it and got it. I hated leaving all of the friends I had in Alabama, but knew down deep it was meant to be. When I learned that my mother had early onset Alzheimer’s and could no longer live alone, I knew for sure that I had made the right decision. Since that moment life has not been a walk in the park but the universe has given me signs along the way that let me know I am exactly where I need to be right now, doing exactly what I need to do. Whether it’s been making better connections with my family, meeting new friends like Reese who have been exactly who I needed them to be right when I needed them, to the birth of this blog and Operation Do Better, the universe is up to something and I am excited about what’s next.
I often tell people everything always seems to work itself out in the long run. When applying to undergrad as a naive 18-year-old, I unconsciously only applied for private universities. When I realized this (and acknowledged that my family didn’t have thousands of dollars for college), I sat on the edge of my bed, said a simple prayer and waited. I ended up going to undergrad basically for free. When I was a senior, I had one post-graduation plan: teach. I applied first deadline for Teach for America and was accepted. When I started teaching, I knew I’d only be there two years, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, and I knew I wanted to go to American University. During the second year, I went to visit AU during a conference weekend, ended up lost in the middle of D.C., sitting on a park bench….and right then and there, before I even stepped foot on campus, I said, this is my next home. Less than a year later, I was off to AU with full funding.
This year, my funding was over and I didn’t have another fellowship lined up. I was stressed out about it so bad, because I knew I didn’t want to get a fulltime job while finishing my dissertation. One day, I recounted all the things the universe had provided for me:
In a week or two, my finances will change, and there’s a great deal of anxiety about that. But I’m reminded that the universe brought me here; that I survived the first year with more bills than I have now and with less money. Then I was blessed with an NSF fellowship that was more than 2x’s the amount of the first. i was blessed with friends who send me random gifts in the mail that first year. Then an unexpected check from a company for a bill I wasn’t supposed to pay. The RISE fellowship my second year…great families to babysit for to make additional income…the opportunity to build a great friendship that led to a roommate situation that has allowed me to save more money in preparation for these changes. Regardless of what happens next, these are the things I know: 1) I’ve never been left or forsaken, 2)I’ve always had necessary provisions–even when I wasn’t as responsible as I should have been, 3) I know better, so I’ve done better. That will work in my favor. I have no reason to be scared. I have what I need and what I may need in the future will take care of itself. It always has. Besides, Which one of us by worrying can add another day to her life?
A week or so after writing that, I received an offer for a part time research position in my field. I believe it was always in the cards for me to get the job, but I had to replace my anxiety with gratefulness before I could receive it.
Who knows what my next steps will be? I surely don’t. But as I like to say: The universe has provided. The universe is providing. The universe will provide.
Sowing into the universe
We humbly and happily accept all that the universe provides, and contribute to the cycle. Giving back is a priority, whether it be celebrating friends with chucks and cupcakes, donating clothes to our church and the salvation army, cooking dinner for friends, or contributing financially to organizations we care about. Could the universe provide without our contributions? Of course! But we know that as great as it is to receive the blessings we have received, it’s even better to give blessings to others.