The other night, I sat on my parent’s driveway with a friend until it was way past an acceptable time to be doing so. I was instantly reminded of being in high school, and half of me was still on the lookout for the cop car that used to park not-so-inconspicuously  around the corner to monitor the parties that often happened at my neighbor’s house. (I never went to those parties – partly because I was never invited, partly because I never would have gone anyway. The worst thing a cop ever busted me for in high school was being out past our town curfew, and even then he said we could finish our paint war as long as we didn’t get any on the park’s sidewalk.)

Normally, I would hate feeling like I was back in the four most awkward years of my life; but the other night, I didn’t mind so much.

I have always loved going home. Granted, I know I am lucky to feel that way, and I know I am even luckier that it only takes me thirty or so minutes, depending on traffic, to be home again. I am especially grateful for these facts when things feel a little tumultuous. I always feel like spending some time at my parents’ house is grounding. Even if we don’t take a single moment to talk about anything serious, even if a good chunk of the time is spent pouring more wine into glasses and singing to Jimmy Buffet, I always feel incredibly refreshed after I’ve been home.

The past week was a weird one. Some of you – mainly the people who know me – know about some of my life changes. I think these are all good, healthy, and necessary changes – and even some exciting ones. But that doesn’t mean that change in and of itself is any less intimidating. In fact, sometimes the best changes are the most terrifying ones.

I know that my blog has not been the happiest lately. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it sad, but I know that my tone has definitely been… reflective. Subdued. Pensive.

I promise, eventually it will change. In fact, it will sooner-than-eventually change. I have felt more at peace in the past few days than I have in a while, and I think that can be absolutely nothing except a really good sign.

The other night, my mom ordered Chinese food and my stepdad poured the wine. We sat on the back patio and over analyzed the new take out place we’d tried, I was way too informed about NASCAR drivers that I didn’t have a clue about, and we did not work on resumes, which is why I was supposed to be there in the first place. I sat on the driveway with a friend until it was way past an acceptable time to be doing so, and I walked back into the house smiling.

The other night, I came home.

And I’m incredibly glad that I did.

So far, my September plans have not gone… well, as planned.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that there’s no point in being upset about that.

Life happens. Things change. Relationships come and go, friendships ebb and flow (that unintentionally rhymed). Ultimately, what matters is how we look at the changes and the curveballs that are slung at us, and how we respond to these unexpected twists in our journey that matters.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “the path.” Now, if you’re my family, you’ll laugh at that. If you’re not my family, you’ll give me a quizzical eyebrow raise and ask what sort of new-age tangent I’m about to go on. (Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with new-age beliefs. Anyways.)

I was watching Serendipity the other night. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, despite its horrendously rom-com attributes, and in many ways because of its total rom-com-ness. I can’t help it; there’s something about a love story set primarily in New York City, focusing on the chance meetings and encounters that life brings along that is just captivating. I don’t care how predictable or cheesy the film is. Serendipity will always be one of my favorites. Plus, John Cusack is in it. You have to love it, simply for that reason.

While I was curled up on my couch with the kitty on my lap, watching Sara (no H) and Jonathan try to navigate the web of the world and find each other again, I couldn’t help but think – maybe we should all be a little more serendipitous in our daily lives.

We try, so hard, to plan life. We set goals, we work hard to reach our goals, and when we are going along that “path,” everything feels like it’s right on track.

And then, something happens.

And suddenly, we feel a little bit – or, if you’re me, a lot a bit – off track.

But why?

Because we’re so focused on following the plan that we don’t even take the time to see the possibility… and potentially, the benefits… of jumping off the path, even temporarily.

Life isn’t meant to be planned out. It’s as simple as that. Everybody says it, and everybody is romanticized by this idea of chance… but not enough of us live by it.

So what’s the point in being so intoxicated by it, if we aren’t actually going to let ourselves believe a little bit in it?

I am wildly aware of how terrifying it is to trust in chance. However, I have also been lucky enough to experience how rewarding letting fate take its course can be. I stumbled across an internship about a year and a half ago… it has now blossomed into (what I hope is) a promising career that I absolutely love. But I wouldn’t have ended up here, thriving and excited to go to work every day, if I hadn’t trusted in the random opportunity that happened to fall into my lap.

Sometimes, living serendipitously doesn’t have the happiest results. Sometimes, like John and Sara, it separates us from our “true love” for years – to the point where we’re engaged to others and they are too. Sometimes, all serendipity means is a life lesson.

But that is okay.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy to decipher, and it isn’t always meant to be planned out.

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Sometimes, we just have to throw our hands up, let the plan fly away into the wind, and scream out, que sera sera.

Whatever will be, will be.

If you know me personally (and, for some of you, even if you don’t), you know that my family has been going through a bittersweet transition. We’ve had a place at Lake Tahoe for nearly 50 years, and it has come to the point to make the decision to sell the condo.

My mom and I went into our visit this past weekend with a positive mindset. Partly because, you can’t not be excited to go to Tahoe. And partly because, well, realistically, Tahoe isn’t going anywhere. The lake is large, gorgeous, and people are making a constant and consistent effort to Keep Tahoe Blue. We have the condo for two weeks at Christmas, and our family has plenty of friends that have – incredibly kindly – offered to let us stay, whenever we want.

I’m grateful for that.

And this weekend was absolutely lovely. It always is. The Lake is our “happy place” and it is virtually impossible not to enjoy yourself while you’re there.

I mean, just look at it. It’s breathtaking.

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And Tahoe has given me, and my family, so much.

From Wet Woody’s on the deck at Gar Woods…

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To learning (at a very late age) how to (pathetically) build a snowman…

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(Hey, I live in the desert. Give me a break. )

To bonding over, and devouring, the best dessert known to man. (If you’re ever at Jake’s/Kimo’s/Dukes, get the Hula Pie. You won’t regret it.)

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The family acquired a taste for wine at an early age at canoeing at a more appropriate one…

My aunt and uncle met on the beach there…

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I got carded by the waitress who has known me since before I was born…

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And no matter what happens between our visits, Tahoe never changes. (Well, the shoreline occasionally does. And sometimes, you know, there’s snow.)

But ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns a condo or where we end up staying. It doesn’t even really matter if we make it back again – although, of course, that’s blasphemy. The Arute blood can’t stay away from those crystal waters too long.

Sure, the beauty of Tahoe is certainly something. There is an air of magic about the place. And that is definitely a tantalizing quality.

But the most magical part of the whole place?

It’s where our memories were made. And our memories aren’t going anywhere… and beyond that, there’s a plethora of future memories waiting to be experienced.

Again.

Tahoe isn’t going anywhere. So thanks, Tahoe, for everything we’ve gotten from you and everything we’ll continue to get.

(But I would appreciate if the pier would reopen.)

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