Yuanfen

A long time ago, in a land far away (Denmark), I became friends with a boy named David. He wore a heavy steel chain around his wrist, fell asleep on his desk in the back of mythology class, liked climbing trees and exploring. We only knew each other for a few months when we were 20 years old, but I had the same what-should-I-do-with-my-life worries back then. I just found a note that he wrote me, which fits just as much today as then:

You could be comfortable, you could go to grad school, you could move to hollywood and pursue a career in the movies, you could rat out the mobster in your family and join the witness protection program, you could leave everything you know and run away with a random guy, you could sell all that you own and beg, you could seek enlightenment, you could, you could.

I think people swing through one’s life for inspiration at important times. Yesterday I learned of the Chinese concept of yuanfen, for which there is no English translation, but which roughly means a binding force, a combo of serendipity and compatibility. It’s not just for lover-types though it sounds romantically inclined. It’s for friends, your family, the girl you chat with on the bus. One’s past lives influence yuanfen, but there’s not necessarily a divine hand involved. It’s what it feels like when you say “we just clicked”.

The Chinese culture has been around the block a few times. Maybe they’re on to something. I hope so. It would make everything seem less frighteningly random.

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