You may recall I’ve been preparing for a couple of months for my aqua exercise certification and it happened to be this weekend in Wisconsin. I’m sure the group getting certified would have been bigger if it was held in Chicago. Why would I drive a couple of hours very early in the morning, work out all day and end up walking exhausted into the house so late at night to even be able to kiss my husband goodnight? Well, this experience reminded me something I heard Oprah say when I met her in person “we are the captain of our fate…the things we want to happen in our lives happen because we make it happen”. Yes, it was my commitment to learn how to swim, to continue to grow and never stop learning.
Something interesting happen during the training and just like when I met Oprah, I found myself saying “It’s a small world!”. While getting ready for the training and in between sessions, I started small conversations with the participants (I love getting to know people and their reasons for doing what they do). Well, in one of the breaks, I spoke to Judy Friedman and we both started talking about mutual events we’re having in the next few days. She’s the Co-Director of Harand Camp of the Theatre Arts so I mentioned my son’s involvement with the In The Heights musical ending yesterday and invited her to attend his staged reading of King Lear by the Chicago Youth Shakespeare (CYS) at the end of December. She immediately said “do you know Manon, the founder of CYS?”. Of course I know Manon! I’m on the Board of Directors of CYS! Would you believe, they went to camp together and know each other well!?! What a small world!
Whether you think there are coincidences or not, when something “coincidental” happens in your life you can’t help but think “how is this possible?”, “there must be a purpose for this to happen!” “there are no coincidences in life”.
I’ve shared my Oprah story because when I first saw her on the cruise, I was nervously excited and hoped for an opportunity to talk to her, hug her and tell her how much I’ve always admired her. I quickly understood that it was going to be nearly imposible to get close to her because of all the security around her and everyone trying to get close for a picture. At least I was able to secure great seats for the “A Conversation with Oprah” session! My friend Dragana and I anticipated getting great pictures from where we were sitting. When she came on stage, she was wearing black bottoms and a beige off the shoulders top -JUST LIKE I WAS!!! Coincidence? Maybe…the next morning I was walking into the food deck and she was coming down the stairs from the upper deck after filming for the O Magazine. She looked at me before rushing into the elevator and said “hi there”. I looked around (literally) to see who else she was possibly talking to and I was the only one there! So, I did what everyone would do, I rushed and tried to get in the elevator with her. Her security guards stopped me and I just waived from outside the doors and thanked her for being my inspiration. Everything happened so fast and didn’t have anything prepared to say. I remember blurring what I believe made a difference in getting her attention “Thank you Oprah for all you do, I’ve always admired you, we share the same birthday”. She heard me and she probably doesn’t get “we share the same birthday” a lot because she asked “we share the same birthday?” I nervously nodded and she said with her powerful voice “STOP THE ELEVATOR!”. She came out, hugged me and said a few words, including “people from January are beautiful people”. She asked me if I wanted to get a selfie and I said yes. I was too nervous to get the phone to work so she took our selfie.
I couldn’t believe it! My wish came true! I talked, hugged and told Oprah how much I admired her!
I kept telling my Oprah story whenever I could and everyone I had a conversation with. In fact, the next stop was a town in Canada and we got off the boat to get souvenirs. We spent more time at a store where I bought a couple of things for the family. I started talking to a very nice lady, she looked like she could have been the owner or the Manager. Her name was Cary Kelly. She asked me how my cruise experience was so far. I immediately told my Oprah story and at the end she asked me when in January is my birthday. “January 29” I said and guess what? Yeah, her birthday was also January 29! What a small world for me to meet Cary Kelly in that way! Coincidence? Maybe, but I still am in touch with her.
Who in your life has inspired you so much that you know even their personal details? I never imagined knowing that Oprah’s birthday was January 29 would allow me this experience or that inviting Judy to the stage reading would uncover our mutual friends. Truly the things that happen in our lives happen because we make them happen.
I agree with Oprah in that we are the Captain of our fate. Don’t stop! Keep pressing on! Live a life of significance and share your journey, but only to make someone better!