Do you ever wonder what your life would look like if one thing had gone differently?
If you had chosen a different college? Practiced harder at basketball? Studied for that test? Not gotten on that plane?
I was left wondering that as I sat in the second to last row of TD Garden watching the Boston Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers recently. As I tried to start a “The refs are doing their best!” chant, I reflected on how life happens to you when you are busy making other plans.
How Would My Career Be Different?
Twelve years ago I was working at the Boston Celtics in inside sales. I was cold calling fans, trying to sell season ticket packages, and eating a lot of Ramen to get by.
Then when NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett joined the team on July 31, 2007, things started moving very fast. Tickets flew out the window, and eight months later when my ticket selling contract came to a close, so did my budding career in sports.
If Kevin Garnett had never been traded to the Boston Celtics, would I still be working there? If the team had stayed bad to mediocre there would be tickets to sell, and hustling to do. I could be living out the plan I had set forth years ago.
Would I have built a successful career in sales? Or changed gears within sports and worked in corporate partnerships, marketing, or player relations?
How Would My Opportunities Be Different?
If Kevin Garnett hadn’t been traded and I stayed with the Boston Celtics, I don’t know that I would have gotten a Masters degree. Perhaps eventually, but it might have been a MBA to follow on with my business undergrad.
Would I ever have ended up working at Harvard Business School? The place I’ve learned so much about myself and my dedication to student services and career development. The place in which I’ve come into my own as a writer because of opportunities to write at work, and the work/life balance to write outside of work.
Would I even really know what blogging was? Or career coaching?
How Would My Life Be Different?
Here’s the real kicker.
I hadn’t met Glen yet in the summer of 2007.
If the Kevin Garnett trade hadn’t happened, would I have spent more time at the office trying to make sales? Would more time at the office have meant more time out at bars after the workday with coworkers, and less time on OkCupid.com? Would I have met someone else?
Maybe I would have. And maybe my life would look completely different now if Kevin Garnett had decided to go to Detroit instead. A man I do not personally know may very well have changed the trajectory of my life.
When Bad Change is a Good Thing
When I think about all that… wow, am I ever glad that Kevin Garnett came to the Celtics and I lost my job as a result. In a way, Kevin Garnett replaced me at the Boston Celtics… and that seems fair. He’s very talented.
I’m glad I lost my job because I started over in a new industry that I wasn’t particularly passionate about. Which led me to another part of that same industry I’m completely passionate about.
I’m grateful that Kevin Garnett came to Boston, because that meant I left Boston. I met the man I would marry and move to the suburbs with. I met the father of my children, my biggest supporter, and my teammate.
On a slightly less important note, I was also able to purchase a little green Corolla because of Kevin Garnett. Her name is Lucy.
Creating Your Beautiful Life
Because of one man’s decision, I had to make a series of decisions. I’m continuing to make a series of decisions. Each one built on the fact that something happened, or something didn’t happened. Each one is helping me create my life.
So as I sat in the second to last row of the TD Garden with Glen, twelve years removed from the time I was walking around on the court in high heels, I happily sipped my beer.
Instead of meeting with clients, I laughed at the fans’ antics on the JumboTron. I took selfies with my husband as we made jokes about children’s books, and then took videos of the game for my kids. I laughed until my sides hurt as the two of us enjoyed an adult night that brought us back to so many nights of our younger days. Choosing a restaurant on a whim, riding public transportation, passing by our first apartment.
I don’t know that everything happens for a reason. There are too many terrible things that happen in this world to make it seem like a well orchestrated plan. But I do think that things outside of our control impact our lives in ways we never could imagine.
As a control freak, this is unsettling. But it’s also oddly exciting, we’re on this wild adventure! It’s also comforting in a way, because we don’t need to have it all figured out. Life is going to happen, and then we’ll keep happening.
Who Is Your Kevin Garnett?
I wonder who or what your Kevin Garnett was. Or who or what it will be. Or the many whos and the many whats.
I wonder what your life is going to look like in a few years, and what you’ll be waxing nostalgic about and being grateful for.
Maybe you’ll leave a comment to tell me. Maybe you’ll be thinking about it as you’re falling asleep. Or maybe the who or what hasn’t happened yet, and when it does you’re going to be shaken to your core.
And then you will rise.
Then in the rising, you’ll create a beautiful life, one more beautiful then you ever could have imagined.