I’m amazed at how things come together sometimes.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself at a tournament for Magic: The Gathering. Picture a forgotten corner of a local civic building, plastic chairs crowding long tables under a row of fluorescent lights. A few dozen people – all about the same age as me – card sleeves and binders at the ready. Some of them setting out their card mats for the competition, others crowding about a row of cabinets to see the cards and holders on display.
Cards in hand, I joined one of the nearby queues, shuffled my way to the front, and received a number.
Unlike the others, however, mine wasn’t to compete.
It was to sell.
I was about thirteen when I first encountered the game. Shortly after entering senior high school, shortly before coming up with the first ideas for my story, as I recall. I still remember that first match even today, how the pictures on the cards and their miniature stories inspired a love of a universe that went far beyond the simple rules and strategies. Afternoons after school spent trading cards (and metaphorical blows) with friends, the joy of discovering new sets of cards and their possibilities.
All these years on, it wasn’t that I’d fallen out of love with the game. I still drew as much joy from them as I did when I first started out. At the same time, I had to face the hard truth that the last game I’d played, I wasn’t even old enough to drive. And that, even though I wouldn’t mind another round, the game meant something different to me today than it did back then.
I promised that if I could, I’d find a good home for my cards. And that, if they had any value, I’d find a way to reinvest that value in something creative today.
And thus, a series of events set in motion.
I looked up events in my local area, and found just the type of community I was hoping for.
Moreover, their next annual event was scheduled in just a few days’ time.
I got a spot on their schedule.
Barely a few days after, I received some advice from a source I didn’t think I’d hear from on a great method for connecting with some readers.
And the cost – almost the exact same dollar amount as my cards.
I’m not sure what mystical energies conspire to give birth to such events, but this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to me. I remember the time I chose to give up a hobby I could no longer get along to only to discover a new one closer a month or so later. Or the time I stepped away from a stable professional relationship that no longer met my professional goals, only to encounter a new ongoing client that did the very next day.
In each and every case, it was only after I’d made an intentional decision to let go that something new came into my life. Not before, or during, but only once I’d made the decision without any promises or safety nets and stepped into the unknown. As though the world were waiting for me to understand how I truly felt – apropos of nothing – before offering something more.
I’m not sure that I believe in fate, but I do believe that when things simply fall into place, it’s a good sign I’m on the right track.
I believe that as I change, the world I became accustomed to may no longer be the one I need today.
That there’s a time to everything – to enjoy or to endure – and that the best time to take advantage of it is when that time is near.
That even though I might not be engaged in something anymore, it plays no less a piece of who I am today.
Most of all, that sometimes saying goodbye can also mean saying hello.
And my cards?
I still miss them, but I’m grateful for the last piece of magic they cast on my life.