I am a believer that many things happen for a reason. Not everything. Not, say, death. But many life hiccups have proven to serve a greater purpose for me. Even loss offers up slivers of beauty, togetherness, and understanding that– while not making up for the empty chair at the table– certainly deliver insight and strength.
So it’s odd but not totally unexpected that I was initially devastated by what turned out to be the best news I got this year. When I LIKED MY LIFE was labeled “a perfect winter book” and pushed to 2017, I was bummed. Never mind that it gave us time to gather a strong list of author quotes and hit up long-lead media, I wanted my book in stores, STAT.
They say that three months post publication authors need to be fully engaged in getting the word out. While every author I know prefers writing to selling what they’ve written, the fact remains that if the book doesn’t sell well you’re next book won’t sell at all. This is why the delay was a God send. Had my book come out in June as planned, I would’ve been in Palo Alto at Stanford Medical having emergency surgery. My house in Tampa would be half packed, awaiting my return for the cross country move that ate up all of July. This was certainly a case where something happened for a reason.
I’ve had other such unexpected gifts. When I didn’t get into any of the Ivy League schools I applied to, my father tried to cheer me up with clever chants like, “What’s the color of shit? BROWN!” but I was devastated. I left my freshmen year at Babson College dating my now-husband and LOVING everything about the campus and curriculum. My experience there has played a role in every major facet of my life. I THANK GOD for those rejection letters. I also had a run-in with a rottweiler that shaped me for the better. And some boys that weren’t interested who turned out to be men I don’t care for.
So here’s what I’m thinking: the next time I get a healthy serving of bad news I’m going to do absolutely nothing. No sleepless nights, no anger that I take out chopping vegetables, no extra glass of wine. (Well, pause there, that’s a bit over the top. I’ll probably still take the excuse for an extra glass of wine.) Instead of all that, I’m going to wait to see what circles back: a lesson, needed downtime, connecting with someone I otherwise would’ve missed out on. Because, a character says in I LIKED MY LIFE, once you’ve experienced real loss, “anything less than death is bearable.”