I used to believe very strongly in signs. I believed that there was a universal force woven into my life, one that gave me subtle signals to guide my choices: which job to take, which boy to date, which hobby to cultivate. I believed that if I was in tune with myself and with the universe, I would recognize those signs and allow them to direct me. My belief in this was sort of the middle ground in the fate vs. free will debate. I had the free will to choose my own path, but fate had a guiding hand.
That belief system was firmly in place during my late teens and early twenties. It was strongest during my college years, which was when the questions of education, career and relationships were at their most critical point. I specifically remember telling my husband, the first night we stayed up all night talking, that two phrases I believed strongly in were "Everything happens for a reason" and "If it's meant to be, it will be."
Throughout my twenties, I gradually became less interested in reading the signs. I chose my career, I chose my husband, I chose the place I wanted to put down roots. My big life choices seemed behind me for awhile. My feet were set on their path, and there were few changes in direction.
But now that I'm in my thirties, the big choices are coming back again. I chose to get my body healthy and in shape, then to start trying for a baby. I made choices throughout my pregnancy about how to best take care of my body and the growing baby. I made choices about my labor and delivery (though those did not go as planned- but I also chose to be flexible, and that was the most important choice of all). Now I make choices every hour of every day about how I want to parent, and what my priorities are in raising Edwin. And recently I made another major choice, to stay on maternity leave for the rest of the school year and be a full time mother/writer. (Obviously all of these choices were made by my husband as well.)
Up until this point, I hadn't been looking for signs to validate my decisions or point me in the right direction. That's a thought process I grew out of long ago. But recently I've started to come back to that idea. Recently, I've been given some very strong signs, and it's making me believe again in the guiding hand of fate. I won't share them all, but the biggest one is this:
After we decided I was not going back to work this year, my husband and I were obviously worried about our finances. We have enough to get through, but we have to rely heavily on our savings. We're on a tight budget, and a lot depends on the reliability of not only my husband's paycheck, but the money I make teaching private flute lessons, a small business I've been running for ten years. I've always had as many students as I wanted, but most of my students stay for years and I don't frequently get or take requests from new students. My husband, also a musician, hasn't been teaching private lessons as long as I have, mainly due to his much more demanding after-school schedule (rehearsals, meetings, etc), a schedule he downsized this year so that he could spend more time at home.
But within the last two weeks, between the two of us, my husband and I have gotten SIX requests for private lessons from new students. Compare that to the fact that I usually get only one or two new requests a YEAR, and my husband doesn't have a long-established studio. We have done no advertising and had no conversations with fellow music teachers to send students our way. The increased demand for our private music teaching happened entirely without provocation or expectation.
Coincidence? I don't think so. I think the universe is sending us a sign that my staying home was the right thing to do. Some force out there is helping us financially to validate and reward our decision. This occurrence also strengthened my belief that if you put good work out into the world- smart, consistent, dedicated work- your work will eventually be rewarded. In our case, in one fell swoop.
Some people would say it's the hand of God. I feel more comfortable saying it's the universe, but essentially, it's the same thing. It just feels good to believe in it again.