Somebody wiser than me once said that there are no coincidences in life and that everything actually happens for a reason. This is also what I believe myself regardless of the fact that most people tend to think in terms of coincidences. Why do we often have the habit of thinking that unplanned and unexpected events happen by accident in our lives? Is it simply our rational mind that refuses to accept events that happen at the same time, but do not have any apparent causal connection? Is it that we somehow feel threatened in a situation, in which coinciding events unfold on their own for no obvious reason and we cannot control these developments anymore?
On the contrary, everything has a reason and all reasons are given, either explicitly or implicitly. No matter what life throws to us, we indeed are responsible for how we respond. We can become either bitter or better, passive and paralyzed or active and recognize agency in ourselves. We can either say “No!” or “Yes!”, we can get stuck or move on, we can be joyful or depressed. It is always up to us to decide, how we react to setbacks and challenges that come unexpectedly our way. Or what do we do when there is a surprisingly great opportunity in front of us … do we leave it to the others as we might think that we do not deserve it or are we courageous enough to grab it without even knowing where it will lead us? Whatever happens – whether it is in our private or professional spheres of life – is there to guide us into a new direction.
In the past few weeks I have experienced something that might hopefully pave my way to more interesting opportunities in the future. Namely, two weeks ago a Romanian institution contacted me, which I would say was a little unexpected, and invited me to contribute as a speaker to their conference later this autumn. As I did not have any other coinciding obligations at the time of this conference in Romania, I responded positively to their kind invitation. The Romanian lady on the phone told me that I can give my presentation in English and they will do their best to accommodate everything to my needs and expectations.
Soon after this conference invitation, “by accident” I became acquainted with a Romanian exchange student staying at the University of Helsinki for one year. One day after our lecture, I had a nice conversation with this Romanian young man. There while talking – practically fully out of the blue without any prior planning – it just happened that the two of us agreed that this Romanian student would start teaching me some Romanian. My main motivation is to be able to speak a little Romanian by the time I go to the conference in Bucharest in November, but I do not dare promise that I will ever become a fluent speaker of Romanian. But if nothing else, this definitely is linguistically a step into a new direction for me!