Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror – 2022

Serendipity: An Experience Like None Other

By Jennifer Allen

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There isn’t any questioning the fact that some people enter your life, at the exact point of need, want or desire. It’s sometimes a coincidence and most times fate, but whatever it is, I am certain it came to make me smile.” ~ Nikki Rowe

I was once asked by an old friend what my favorite word was. I have several, but my top three are “wabi-sabi”, “indubitably”, and “serendipity”.

Somewhat ironically these three words could work very well in the same thought process. The first is a Japanese phrase which refers to finding beauty within the confines of imperfection. The second, describing a choice or situation that is unquestionable or without doubt. The last speaks of an occurrence that seems unexpected or random and yet offers benefits to all involved.

So as an example of combining these ideas… you could seemingly come across a complete stranger in a rundown diner that most would normally ignore, and the both of you find commonality in the fact that this easily passable gathering place has the best coffee in town.

The mere joy of experiencing fortunate aimlessness is one of the reasons I enjoy road trips so much. An arbitrary sign beckoning you to a store or restaurant you hadn’t noticed before could end up being quite an extraordinary encounter. Besides the anticipatory hunt to find such a place along hidden back roads, there’s also the chance to find other pilgrims who likewise share your passion for adventure.

I once took a 3-week summer trip across the US using a Greyhound “mass pass” and just hopped on a different bus at each checkpoint with the goal of seeing new parts of the country I hadn’t previously explored. I came across some of the most marvelous sights and fellow passengers along this singular voyage… and it was, to date, one of the best summer trips of my life.

To me, the ideal serendipitous circumstance has a few key components: spontaneity, purposelessness, and a certain euphoric ambiance shared amongst all parties involved. Often there’s no reason to expect everyone to share a common ground and yet somehow have a perfect, no-stakes interaction within this mutual environment.

This sense of fortuitous wonder, for me, has extended into the virtual world in the past few years as I take at least one night a week to start a particular video and then let the YouTube sidebar recommendations navigate me through an obscure algorithm of content that I normally wouldn’t come across. The trust placed in something so analytical has offered me access to so many exceptional creators out there that deserve much more recognition.

Most important of all, I have come to realize that many of the personal relationships I’ve come to share over the years have come to fruition, at least in part, due to a spark of luck and simply being in the right place at the right time. Some have lasted… others have not. That’s just how it all works. I don’t regret a single one of them, as each interaction has helped to mold me into the person I am now.

Sadly, in the wake of isolating ourselves and some recent economic factors have made the mere desire to let fate guide our way less than ideal. People frequently spending more leisure time in solitude with their personal screens certainly doesn’t help either. With so many options available for on-demand streaming and social media, we’ve hit a substantial paradigm shift in terms of communication. As previously mentioned, I have (at least somewhat) become part of this particular collective.

And yet… I still yearn for simpler times when my family would hop in the car and take off on the long ride to visit the relatives.

We’d sing along to lyrics blasting through the muffled radio with the signal barely holding on. We’d play endless games of ‘I spy with my little eye’ with the various landmarks that brushed past us. And we’d occasionally let serendipity take hold and direct our journey toward a place that is so indubitably wabi-sabi with some of the best homemade food, gifts or people you couldn’t find anywhere else. And on such a glorious afternoon, we enjoyed such moments without judgement.

Perhaps someday Serendipity will once again swoop in and lead us on the right path. If only it happened more often…


Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.