In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state.
Basically, your future is dependent on all the actions you take and choosing one action over another action determines your future as one path over another.
-I know, I know, in my last blog post I wrote about how my decisions would impact my future and how scary that was- and still is. Over the past week, however, my focus has shifted from worrying about how my decisions will affect my future, to stepping back and being astounded at where my pivotal decisions have actually led me.
I can’t believe my life is what it is today.
This past week I was in New York City to help run an industry event that I had been planning with my boss at Group Commerce for the past 4 months. The Think Commerce Summit was an event focused on content and commerce in the tech space and had amazing speakers from companies like CBS, NBC, Forbes, Bloomberg, and even the founder of MTV. The event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time. It was absolutely surreal to be apart of it all.
A year or so ago, I didn’t even think to get a job as I was too focused on school. A little over a year and a half ago, I wasn’t even sure I would be getting into graduate school because I had made a last minute decision to go. A little over 2 years ago, the thought of being in New York City had never crossed my mind.
And, somehow, here I am with a Masters degree and a job that has linked me to New York City. It has opened my eyes up to industries I never thought I’d be in such as the tech space, the Ecommerce space, and the Startup space. I have been inspired me to work with other organizations that I had never thought would interest me and has motivated me to meet people and make connections that I never thought were necessary, and better yet, never dreamt were possible.
Where I thought I’d be a year ago is not where I am today.
It wasn’t until the closing networking cocktail hour of the Think Commerce Summit that I had a chance to sit down and relax. It wasn’t until then that I actually had a moment to think about where I was.
Within a few seconds of being able to form thoughts in my head, I thought:
Holy shit- I’m in New York City running a huge event for an amazing company, shaking hands with industry leaders, and getting paid to do it. How in the hell did I get here?
Seriously. What the hell.
Looking back on it all, I pinpointed the small – some almost insignificant at the time- decisions that had placed me in my current life situation.Why was I in NYC working at this company and running this event?
I was there because I had been given a free ticket to some other industry event last February and, for some reason, I decided to attend to practice my networking skills. This is where I happened to make a fool out of myself in front of my current boss who decided that despite my ridiculousness, was qualified to work for him and insisted that I did.
I only got the free ticket to that event because I was living in NYC for school. I was living in NYC for school because I chose NYU over BostonU and SyracuseU.
I was only going to the US for school, however, because a week before I started my last year of undergrad, I realized that I needed more education beyond my undergraduate degree that I could not get in Canada. I decided to write my GRE entrance exam with only a little bit of time to study and had to rush through applications to ensure I applied on time.
I had realized I needed more education because of many conversations I had with my, then boyfriend who himself spoke of wanting higher education. For some reason, one day, it inspired me to look into school for myself.
I was, however, only with that particular boyfriend because, after we had been friends for two years as he had persistently tried to date me, I finally agreed.
I had only finally agreed because…
….Ok, it goes on and on and on.
But can you imagine where I’d be if I had decided not to date this guy? Would I have ever thought to go to graduate school? Or where would I be if I had dated someone else entirely? Or what if I had decided to go to SyracuseU? Or what if I not even gone to that event that day in February and decide to “practice” networking to my, now, boss?
Or what if..
What if I was still sick.
Or, really… what if I had died.
I don’t think about it often -what’s the point? – but when I do, it still kind of frightens me that I survived near death at 13 years old simply because I made the decision to have 6 feet of my intestine removed for ostomy surgery.
That one decision to change my body, changed my future.
It still upsets me when I think about all those people out there who suffer from diseases like I did, yet fight against having ostomy surgery. These people believe it is better to be sick than to have some bag hanging off their body. What they don’t realize, however, is that making this one decision has the ability to change their life forever- for the better.
I spread positive ostomy awareness through this campaign because I still see such negativity around ostomies and that it affects those people who actually need them. These people see the negative stigma around the ostomy in the public so they decide they’d rather be sick instead of, as they assume will happen, get made fun of or shunned. I try and spread positive ostomy awareness to not only stop the negative stigma, but to encourage individuals who need surgery to ignore the negativity and to focus on their future. For many, the decision to have a better life is right in front of them; they just need to get past the negative obstacles in their way.
Without my ostomy surgery, I never would have been running this industry event with my company. Without ostomy surgery I never would have gone to that other random event where I met my boss. I never would have gone to graduate school, or dated that guy who inspired me to go, and I would never have even gotten into university in the first place.
I would be dead.
As I said in my last blogpost, and as I’m saying now: decision making is scary. Every decision you make determines the path you will follow. One decision can even lead your life path in a completely different direction then you had imagined it to be.
But, sometimes, it’s better than you ever could have dreamed.