Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A fortune by any other name

Now, first off, I want to say that I don't put much stock in predictions from horoscopes or fortune cookies. Most of them are so vaguely worded that a person could read just about anything into them, and apply them at will to life. Try it ... read the horoscope for your neighboring astrological sign and see if you can't apply it to your own life.

But tonight I found a couple of slips of paper that came from some fortune cookies we'd had earlier. The Kiddo keeps everything, including fortune cookie fortunes, and if we don't get her hoarding under control, one day she may well be the featured tortured soul on TLC's BURIED ALIVE.

The fortune cookies had been consumed and the fortunes read earlier this month, before my Tuesday surprise. They read as follows:

A long term goal will soon be achieved.


You will find great fortunes in unexpected places.

Well, tonight, when I found both little slips of paper, I shook my head. "Ha!" I thought. "Proves how accurate fortune cookies are."

Then it occurred to me, in that scary way that makes you have a niggling grain of doubt, that both fortunes were sort of accurate.

For instance, the day I came back to work after two vacation days off and was subsequently told my position was eliminated, I had tweeted earlier that morning, "When I grow up, I wanna be a stay at home mom."

Okay, so losing my job is not exactly how I wanted such a long-term goal to come about. But it did. So I plan to file that fortune under the "be careful what you wish for" category.

The second fortune was also true. As I was composing my grocery list this weekend, the idea of buying groceries for the first time post-layoff completely wigged me out. I had to know EXACTLY what was in my freezer. For the first time in months, the Kiddo and I pulled the frozen chunks out, organized them and took an inventory. I swear, I had about four half-bags of frozen green beans that I'd opened, not realizing I'd previously opened a bag. And meat? And chicken? And rice? Had that, too, and didn't realize it. This week I didn't have to buy one ounce of meat.

So yeah, I found treasure in unexpected places.

It's not that I believe in the power of fortune cookies. Nope, I reserve that faith for prayer only. But I think me finding those fortune cookies was no accident ... I think it made me look at what life had dished out and realize, with very grateful heart and eyes, just what I had.

When we get bogged down in anything -- life, the dayjob, mothering, a frustrating WIP that just won't behave -- we tend to think only the negative about it. At least, I do. But this little find reminds me that treasure can be discovered in the most ordinary places -- it's not at the end of a rainbow, but right in front of our noses.


Jessica Lemmon said...

I love this post, it's so true. I don't put stock in fortunes either, but I did tuck one into my wallet some months ago. I just got up to re-read it and it says:

"Doors will be opening for you in many areas of your life."

I'll be keeping my eyes open for that one.

And, PS - Mr. Lemmony was told the same thing verbatim. "Your position was eliminated." And Tuesday was D-day for him too. *chills* WEIRD!

Piedmont Writer said...

What a great post Cynthia. I know you have your head on straight and will be able to see this job loss for what it is -- a temporary bump in the road.

It's funny, I did a freezer check too and found all sorts of popsickles in the back behind the drawer. After I'd told Monster Baby we didn't have any more. Bad Mommy.

Kelly Breakey said...

Bravo...well put.

Sometimes it is hard to see the silver lining in the cloud when the sun is shining so bright. Just put on some sun glasses and hopefully it will pop right out you.

Tawna Fenske said...

Good for you having such a positive attitude!

I, too, had panic attacks when I was laid off at the end of December, but once I calmed down and saw it as an opportunity to devote more time to my writing, I started seeing it as a plus instead of a minus.


Crystal said...

I keep all my fortune cookie fortunes too. I think I have 50. I don't even know why I do it. Good for you for being able to see the silver lining. It's always such a difficult thing to do. Isn't it amazing what we can find buried in our freezers? I found a whole turkey once.

As a silly aside, we always add "in bed" to the end 9f our fortunes. It makes them much more interesting.

Anonymous said...

In late '99, as I tried to screw up my courage to leave a comfy feature-writing job for the wild west of freelancing, I pulled this fortune, which I save on my corkboard:


I gave notice the next day and have been having ridiculous amounts of fun ever since.

(Of course, I spent the next year playing that fortune's lucky numbers in the lottery, too. Didn't win squat.)

Patty Blount said...

What a great attitude, Cynthia! I am horrible at positive thinking or just really, really good at negative thinking, but getting better since I've "met" such encouraging and supportive folks online.

It's funny; I'm not a big believer in horoscopes and fortunes and whatnot, but my parents are. My father is a huge John Edward nut and when his wife passed a few years back, he was certain every time he found a dime, it was her saying "Hi!" from above.

My mom loves to read everyone's horoscopes. She used to email me with warnings like, "Don't send out emails today. Your horoscope says the moon's crossing into your fifth house,which means technology will backfire on you."

I'd read these emails going, "Great. I just used email to get this message, so WTF do I do now??"

Regardless, I think your point that treasure can be found it the unlikeliest of places is an important one. Thanks for reminding me to look.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

You're my kind of gal! Love this! ;)

Jeffe Kennedy said...

"Be careful what you wish for" is the tagline on my blog, so you know I'm a follower of that concept. The trick is to be specific about what you wish for and accept with gratitude what you get. You'll likely find that this was the best thing that could have happened, despite the unexpected avenue. Good luck!

Cynthia Reese said...

Jessica, too weird about both me & Mr. Lemmony being downsized on the same day!

Anne, we'll see if I take to the bathroom floor with a toothbrush and Tilex again ... if so, I freely admit now that I'd be in need of an intervention! And you are not a bad Mommy -- you can now present said treats as though you were a magician!

Kelley, got my sunglasses firmly on my nose!

Tawna, I promise, I'll firmly come around to this attitude ... scout's honor.

Crystal, a turkey? Wow! And too funny on the in bed postscript!

Steve, good for you! Fingers crossed that things happen in such a way that I can find the right doors to open for me, too!

Patty, I'm hereby adding your mom's habit to the long list of "things-I'll-never-do-to-The-Kiddo." Yeah, right. ;-)

Elizabeth, thanks!

Jeffe, got it! Specificity and gratitude!

out of the wordwork said...

Cynthia: I've been away so I had no idea about your latest curve ball. Sometimes life just keeps hammering at you, doesn't it? I am a believer in horoscopes (if you saw my horoscope for this month you'd be shocked at how freakishly accurate it is).
In any case, no matter what you believe in - fortune cookies, horoscopes, signs from the universe - it is still your own attitude and free will that can influence your life more than anything else. I'm a convert to the power of positive thinking club (and from a realist like me that's saying something)and it sounds like you have totally adopted the right attitude.
Keep strong, keep the faith, and keep writing.
Good things will come.