John Clevenger
Photographer | Traveler | Writer
Copy of Winter Wonderland


Not a Blog

Unexpected Surprises That Aren’t Surprising

In a year’s time, you’ll meet about 10,000 people.* I like to think that that’s 10,000 opportunities for changing someone’s life. Ten-thousand opportunities to influence positivity or negativity in one’s life. But the thing about these opportunities is that you don’t know which one it’s meant to be, and how it’s going to affect you. And your choices greatly influence said opportunities. Choices like deciding to study in a different area, and getting distracted by a flyer on the wall, and then deciding to do what's on said flyer. Little did I know how much that choice would change everything that I knew, and the opportunities that would ensue.

You see, you never know who's going to have an influence on your life, nor do you know how you may influence another's life. But if the recent weeks have taught me anything, it's that nothing is coincidental. Everything happens for a reason. People come in and out of your life as you need to become a better version of yourself. I've been told that when it comes to life, we are in it for one of two reasons, we're either a blessing or a lesson. I think it's important to point out that one isn't any less significant than the other. It may be easier to want to view yourself as the blessing in one's life, after all, who doesn't want to be a blessing, you get to be the reason someone uses #blessed on instagram or a #tbt, #mcm, #wcw, #bff or any other type of appreciation post. Who doesn't mind that kind of attention? I've been guilty of falling into that mindset, but the more I think about it now, being a lesson isn't the worst possibility ever. After all, isn't that what we're suppose to do? Teach each other? Share our wealth of knowledge for the collective good? Don't we won't to help better one another so that we may live a more simpler life?

I've had some people that came into my life, I thought they were a blessing for sure, they made life great, and gave me a new found appreciation for the unseen simple beauty of life...or so I thought. It wasn't until later that I realized the blessing was really a lesson; and perhaps it was a lesson well learned. The important take away here is that one shouldn't view a lesson in a negative context. I've learned some valuable lessons: the people that are closest to you, can make you feel so alone, while people that are a thousand miles away can make you feel at home; just hearing their voice can put you at ease. You will have people that make plans that will never come to pass, and you have people that will say something crazy, and you don't expect them to do it, and the next thing you know you're all together getting brunch and bottomless mimosas. Surprise surprise, people can have an affect on your life. Perhaps this unexpected surprise that isn't really surprising could teach us something: Life's short, enjoy the ride, and leave people better than you found them. Don't take life too seriously, no one makes it out alive anyways. Enjoy it while it lasts, because unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and all things must come to an end at some time or another.

So as you go about your life this year, think about those opportunities, and what you can do with them. A friend of mine use to tell me that “we are in the business of changing lives” And I believe that he was right, we are, whether we are aware of it or not. Our very presence in one's life affects their story so if you’re going to change someone’s life, why not change it for the better? You might be surprised by what happens; for someday you will look back and know exactly why it had to happen.


*Not an actual statistic