I believe in the power of persistence, and of the word never, but not the way you probably think.
I believe that the things you think you hate or fear persist in your life, and determine your future. “Never” is like a double-dog-dare to the universe.
I have a perfect record of doing the things I said I would NEVER do. 100%. I was NEVER going to move home to Wisconsin as an adult, never going to law school, never going to work in politics, never going to date another woman, never going to live in Virginia, and certainly never going to live any further into the south.
I moved back to Wisconsin at 22 and stayed until 28. Now I’m trying to figure out how to move back again. Oh, and I moved there at 22 to go to law school. I spent most of my time in law school doing political organizing, and when I left Wisconsin at 28, it was to move to Washington DC, to work in politics.
Actually, I moved to Maryland, and I fought bitterly with my then-boyfriend about the hypothetical future possibility of living in Virginia. After we hypothetically got married and had hypothetical children and needed to be in a good hypothetical school district.
“Never!” I swore, “There are 2 perfectly good progressive jurisdictions right here. Why would we live in Virginia?”
Three years later, I took a job 45 minutes into Virginia (with no traffic) and drove the “reverse commute” from my house in DC. When my car was totaled in my third rear-ender in 10 months, the first words out of my mouth were, “We should just *#$@% move to Reston!”
We, at the time of that move, was me and my not-legally-married-wife. We moved to Virginia just after Virginia passed what were, at the time, the most hostile anti-gay laws in the US.
A year later, when the recruiter called and asked me to talk to a company in Atlanta, I laughed and almost hung up on him. When I told my wife about it, she also said The N Word. But at 2 am a few days later, she was online surfing real estate ads, showing me the houses in the neighborhood where friends of friends lived. They were nice houses, not much more expensive than our 4th floor, walk-up condo in Reston, Virginia. Still thinking “never,” we flew down, fell in love with the housing market, and in short order, found ourselves moving to Atlanta.
I try to avoid using the word “never” now, but of course I still have that visceral reaction sometimes. When I even think “never” it’s a flag for me to look at what it is drawing me towards that thing, because I’m going to do it eventually, ready or not.
This, I believe.
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