I had Chinese for lunch the other day (I love Chinese food!) and I always get a fortune cookie with my meal. This has been a habit of mine ever since I can remember. As a child, going to a Chinese restaurant and not getting that fortune cookie was like not going at all. It completely defeated the purpose, at least in my young mind. Now, it’s so ingrained in me, I still do it. Mind you, some of my friends get the cookie just for the fortune. Not me, I actually like the taste of fortune cookies! Yeah, I’m unique; I could’ve told you that earlier. But I digress.
On my last Chinese joint visit, my fortune was: “You are the life of any party”. Now, I don’t know how accurate that assessment is, but it got me thinking. Why do we so eagerly want to know what a cookie thinks is our fortune? I mean, I know nobody REALLY believes that a cookie can tell us the future (I hope not!) but there’s a certain element of anticipation right before cracking that cookie in two and pulling that little strip of paper. Sometimes we laugh at how stupid the fortune is, but sometimes we just stare at it because it’s so creepily accurate. But is it? Or are we just conditioned to look to something outside of ourselves for our own fortune? I think about that a lot. How we can we learn to look within ourselves for the wisdom that can guide our lives in a better direction?
We all have life experiences, some more than others. Some (like me) have lived long enough to have amassed quite the collection of life stories that can guide ourselves and others, through giving considerate advice when others seek it, or though sharing our stories with others through online channels. Others, perhaps much younger, can look to friends, family members, and even (why not?) blogs and other online resources to glean that knowledge that they have not been able to live through yet. Some may be lucky enough to not have to live through some painful experiences thanks to the advice of others, while still learning from their experiences. If you have a mentor in your life, either formally or through following someone’s life experiences online, consider yourself lucky. Of course, your life is your own, and some things you will have to experience yourself in order to appreciate them. And we all know that nobody is perfect, which we’re reminded of periodically when some celebrity or politician or other public figure does or says something so spectacularly stupid that we’re forced to question how they got there in the first place. But I digress again…
My point? You don’t need to look to a cookie (or a celebrity or politician or psychic) to see what’s in store for you. You can search within yourself, listen to that small voice that some people call instinct, and make your own decisions. Life is not easy, and the hard questions will come soon enough, but armed with your intuition and the advice of those people close to you whom you trust and who genuinely wish the best for you, you can be happy and fulfilled. And if your gut feeling is telling you something needs to change, change it. Look for alternatives to those things that are not working for you. Be happy. Be fulfilled. Be free. Life is too short to waste it wishing you could be somewhere else or do something else, which will only ensure that later in life, you will regret not making those changes when you were young and/or able enough to do so. Do it now. Listen to your wise self and take action.
Be your own fortune cookie.