Our roommate started dating our neighbor a couple months ago and it’s going great. I suppose it’s not a common situation, but living nextdoor to each other is a natural way for strangers to meet, especially when one has a puppy. Nothing breaks the ice like a cute dog. Despite this, it took months of hallway chats and run-ins outside the building before anything happened. In that time, my roommate went on dates with a few different people, but none of them caused the blushing grin our neighbor eventually did.

It’s good you moved in with us, I joked. But it’s probably true that they would’ve never dated if she hadn’t moved into our spare bedroom. And she wasn’t supposed to! We had another roommate lined up, but he backed out.

Of course, this is only one of many ifs. She would’ve never moved in if we hadn’t met her through my wife’s Bumble BFF friend, who my wife only met because she was visiting me so frequently in Seattle. And my wife would’ve never been in Seattle to befriend anyone if I hadn’t stayed in Victoria for the summer of 2020, which only happened because of a global pandemic called Covid-19.

Before they lay their roots so many of the stable and essential elements of our lives come into them through the most tenuous strands of chance and circumstance. It can seem corny or gimmicky to muse about the unlikeliness of life, but it’s useful to consider because it’s true. As your life progresses, the array of people you may become shrinks and narrows until finally there are no more possibilities. You can’t live more than one life, but you can live as a number of people, various versions of yourself. Who those people are depends much on luck, but also on the opportunities of transformation to which you offer yourself. It isn’t just design and foresight we need in order to realize ourselves, but knowledge and acceptance of our susceptibility to external forces and the resulting courage to toss ourselves into the fire and let it forge of us what it will.