I think about Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1998 film Sliding Doors much more than your average person whom I assume thinks about it maybe once every four years. If you haven’t seen it, first of all what the heck were you doing in 1998?! Were you boycotting Gwyneth because she’d stolen Brad off you ? Anyway, the film follows Ms. Paltrow in two parallel universes. One when she catches her train and one when she misses it.
The film resonates with me as it asks my favourite, non-helpful question: ‘what if?’ Sliding Doors, to me also reinforces my belief that all things happen for a reason.
This week, I have been Sliding Doors all over the place and also accepting that no matter how hard I try there are things out of my control.
What has happened?
Well nothing, to be precise. I should be (or rather I would like to be) in Los Angeles right now, cruising around Beverly Hills and stuffing my face with an In-N-Out burger before making my way to New York. The same New York where I start my magazine internship in just over a week! Instead I have waited all this week for news on my visa only to be told it is ‘on its way’. Luckily I have been permitted to book my interview with the US consulate on Thursday, February 28th where I can then expect my final documents to be ready in ‘two to three business days’. I started my visa process in September and have been slowly going insane since.
So how the hell does Sliding Doors have any relevance woman?!
Well, I feel like I am living on ‘borrowed time’ in Perth now. I certainly didn’t expect to still be here especially as I tried my hardest to escape the summer heat as quick as I could. This is my Sliding Doors. Everything that happens now until I leave may just affect my life in some monumental way and was meant to happen – hence all the crazy visa delays!
So far I have gotten my phone upgraded, had this perfect moment with my dog Bruno where he rested his head on my leg and looked so cute and I was all “THIS MOMENT NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF I WAS ON A PLANE RIGHT NOW”, got to see Margaret Atwood at the Perth Writers Festival and am having coffee with an inspirational woman next week who is giving me tips on journalism New York style. Also, I will now be here for my mum’s birthday, which eases some of my Roman Catholic guilt. Unfortunately, this family occasion will give my grandparents plenty more opportunities to remind me I’m crazy for abandoning a pharmacy career but hey, I intend to eat lots of cake to numb myself of any emotion.
All this visa craziness (which may I add, is just so I can do an internship- I am not even making any money from this!) has also given me a stern reminder there are things that are completely out of my control. This is something I have always struggled with. Whether this need to always be in control is a byproduct of my lifelong friend anxiety or vice versa, it is a part of my personality that I must work on constantly. It’s strange because I am not a control freak in the traditional sense – I think my lack of punctuality will attend to this – but I always need to feel proactive in reaching my goals. When faced with the reality that some man in America with a bored looking face and a penchant for treating each visa application as a document rather than a desperate person held my fate in his hands, I have tried to control any little bit of the process possible to hilariously ill effect. Needless to say, after I had to cancel my flight this week and am facing a fee of over $400 when I rebook I am beginning to understand that yes, some things are completely out of our control.
And even though writing this makes me want to do a nervous poo – the reality is most things in our life are out of our control. All we can do is our best and have faith that no matter what happens we will be ok. For instance, I haven’t developed a case of small pox because I didn’t get to eat an In-N-Out burger. I am ok. And will eat one eventually when the time is right.