Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My Very Own Butterfly Effect

My rapidly approaching job change has given me quite a lot of opportunity to reflect on my life so far, and how I got to where I am. I assess this from time to time anyway, but when a big transition like this one comes up, I give this exercise more bandwidth. A great deal of life is opportunity, and what you do with it, and certainly being taught how to make sound decisions has been of the utmost importance. I feel reasonably sure that I could have ended up in nearly any city and ended up being successful. There are also chance factors that enter into our lives though, that guide us often unwittingly at the time, onto a path that fundamentally alters our lives from then on, and without which everything of the life you know today would be unknown. I know exactly where in my life the butterfly effect really took flight. (For those that do not know what the butterfly effect is, it is the idea that a very subtle change, such as the flapping of a butterfly's wings, can have a cascading effect down the line until a hurricane forms, just because of that one butterfly.)

For the first 18 years of my life, much of what happened in my life was of course heavily influenced by my parents. Being born to a certain set of parents, while it is of course of paramount import, fundamentally changes who you are by the very genetics that you inherit, so that doesn't really qualify. Of course, I did pick the college that I went to, and that was a big decision, however it was the college where my Dad got both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees, SUNY Geneseo. I have an aunt that graduated from there too, and another aunt and my grampa took courses there as well, so that clearly still traces back to family. So after arriving at Geneseo just days after turning 18 in the Fall of '91, I met my college roommate Jeremy Waterman, who is to this day a great friend of mine, though we don't get to visit as often as we'd like living 400 miles away. So anyway, fast forward five years later. Already by this time, several of Jer's friends had become mine as well, and I was in grad school at SUNY Oswego, in a program where his mother was and still is a professor. We were still roommates at that time, and one of our by that time many mutual friends was living down here in the DC suburbs of northern Virginia. We all decided we were going to move down there, but I was the only one that did. The others all found jobs around Rochester pretty much. So Peter and I lived down here for a year as roommates. Six months after moving down here, I met my wife Christina on an internet dating site, matchmaker.com. I was unsure of whether I wanted to stay in the area at first, with all of my other friends, and eventually even Peter too moving back to upstate NY, but economics and the deepening relationship with Chris meant that I stayed in this area. So everything that cascaded from my randomly chosen college roommate is what my life has become.

Just yesterday I was talking to former co-worker of mine that I just reconnected with after finding out that he just started working at the company that I will be starting with next week. He said that it's "all my fault" that he plays online role-playing games (MMORPGs, in gaming parlance). I got him to play the server that I played in Everquest shortly before he left the company. He now has a serious girlfriend that he met in the game. Without me telling him to choose my server over the dozens of other choices, he would not have met her. A close friend of mine, Nicnerd for those that have seen his posts, also played the same server as me in Everquest at my behest. He met his fiance the same way, because he was on the server I played on. So you see, it has all come full circle...The Butterfly Effect.

9 comments:

nicnerd said...

My inner nerd is exposed... I think I do blame Erik for getting me into these darn games. What's worse is he gets you interested and then he abandons you. I try to coax him back but his attnetion span has flitted away to some other channel.

Erik Grow said...

Hahhah. Hey, I had been playing it a couple years before you got on board though. I played DAOC for a couple years too, but you didn't follow me there. I tell ya, we could do some real damage in PlanetSide now, and you already have an account, so use it!

Hector Vex said...

Ah... a true story of dork love... the sweetest, most awkward love of all.

nicnerd said...

lol, Hector

/proclaims from the rooftop, "I am not a dork", really...

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