This week I’m happy to introduce you to Erica Henault as my guest blogger while Thom and I are traveling. I started following Erica’s blog Behind The Scenery about a year ago and quickly discovered how seamlessly she fits into the SMART Living lifestyle. With a strong intention to grow, evolve, create and be thankful, Erica manages to help us all do the same. Thank you, Erica, for filling in for me and sharing some of your ideas about how every one of our choices can have a profound influence on the quality of our lives. Let’s never take any of that for granted!
I think many of us have reflected on the “sliding door” moments in our life. The what ifs? What might have been? How would my life be different now? I know I have.
It may be a split decision to take a different route home or leave ten minutes later from work, avoiding an accident.
It may be where we decide to live, our career choice, who we choose to marry. One decision can change the course of our life forever.
I am also very aware of the butterfly effect, the ripple effect, caused by that one decision. The family I now have and the friends I have made along the way.
A pivotal “sliding door” moment for me was when I met a very friendly girl in a cafeteria at school. We had two weeks left until the end of the Spring semester and we were discussing our Summer plans.
She was heading back to her hometown, Whitehorse and I was going to Yellowknife to work for the Summer. She told me about the beautiful Yukon Territory and the jobs that were available there. I reviewed the student job search bulletin board and two weeks later I was on an airplane heading to Whitehorse instead of Yellowknife.
My Summer job actually turned into four years of living in the beautiful Yukon. This is where I met my husband and the rest is history.
Was I destined to meet my husband at a different time and place or possibly through different circumstances?
We found out that our paths may have crossed in a prior year. My family and I used to camp at a lake in the Interior of British Columbia when I was a young girl. At that time my husband lived on this same lake immediately across from our campground.
I have heard many stories like this. One couple I know spent the first few days of their lives in the same hospital nursery. They were actually born on the same day. They met years later and married. Other friends found out they had attended the same basketball game years before they actually met.
A random event? Fate? Serendipity?
There is also evidence of Parallel Universes in modern science. Something about electrons spinning in different directions at the same time. Quantum physics. The theory is there is a parallel you inhabiting a world that is no less real than ours, yet can accommodate different outcomes.
Is there a copy of me existing right now in an alternate reality, a separate Parallel Universe? This concept is far too in depth and complicated for my brain, although intriguing.
I do not know whether our lives unfold by chance or whether we are on a preordained path. Do we have certain people in our lives for a reason? Are there lessons we are required to learn on this route?
I have reflected on the “sliding door” moments in my life, especially the summer I moved to the Yukon. I will never know how my life would have turned out differently if I had taken that airplane to Yellowknife instead of Whitehorse.
My gut on this one? I am grateful I went through that one door leading me to this rewarding life.
I cannot imagine my life without my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends.
I was destined to be right here, right now.
About: Erica Henault was married November 1978, in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Twenty-seven years ago she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island in British Columbia and have lived there ever since. Erica started her blog Behind The Scenery in early 2018, but writing has been part of her life for many, many years. She is also a passionate photographer and believes there is always a story behind the photo. A common thread in all her writing is continual learning, evolving, recreating and gratitude. And in true SMART Living fashion, she says, “I pay attention and always look for the lessons.”
Dr Sock says
Erica, here’s another interesting near miss. For a few years around 1970, my best friend lived in Sunnybrae, and I spent many happy weeks visiting there each summer. We used to stop in at that gas station/ corner store in Tappen to pick up the mail (as it was also the postal station), and I can remember biking there for ice cream and penny candy as least a few times. Chuck might have known my friend.
Hi Jude, Just back from our amazing Long Beach camping trip. No cell, therefore, catching up. Some rain and gorgeous views, sunsets, quiet time. You know the feeling, Jude. I just showed Chuck your response and he is in awe of the similar paths. He did live in Sunnybrae in the early 70’s in a cabin. I did go to the corner store in Tappen almost every day when we camped there in the early 70’s. Goosebumps. I look forward to our paths continuing to cross?
Mike Roberts says
Really great article. My parents’ chance encounter with a real estate agent kicked off a a chain of events that led to me meeting my wife. If they had looked at another house that day, been delayed by traffic, or if that real estate agent had talked with somebody else for a few minutes longer, would my life today look completely different? It’s amazing how the seemingly insignificant events in life can be so impactful in the future.
Mike Roberts says
By the way, there’s a really great kids book that relates to this topic that we’ve read to our kids: “The Kid Who Changed the World”, by Andy Andrews. This is a great book to buy for young children or grandchildren.
Hi Mike, Nice to meet you! Your story gave me goosebumps. I am with you on the “seemingly insignificant events.” I love hearing these stories and I think most of us have them. I like to think I make choices in life and yet, I do wonder about our paths in life.
I love your book suggestion. I often give books to children as gifts. And it is a good excuse for me to read new children’s stories.
Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment:) Erica
I love this story!! My husband and I were just having a conversation about these “sliding doors”. About how our lives might look different if we’d chosen different options at each of the major crossroads (jobs, moves, etc.). And marveled at how amazing a life journey truly is. As far as parallel universes, I’m not sure what my thoughts are around that. I’d like to think there is only one me…maybe living numerous lifetimes, but I definitely think it’s possible. I did love that TV show “Sliders” when I was a teen; they “slid” in and out of parallel universes.
Hi Amy, Just back from no cell, camping and catching up. I like your phrase “major crossroads” and we are not aware that all of our choices may result in a major change in our lives. I love hearing the relationship/marriage stories. Often, interesting coincidences and possible synchronicities. I did not see show “Sliders.” Sounds fun. Thank you for reading and your insightful comments:)
Great post, story, and concept, Erica. I never thought of it as “sliding doors”, but always as forks in the road. I have also wondered about the different directions we go or the choices we make on a daily basis, yet, I’ve never dwelled on it. That being said, the initial synopsis of my memoir (part of the blurb I had in mind) touched on this sentiment.
When Mark and I are on the road, we make these decisions every day. Every day the outcome, the people we meet, the place we spend the night, the way the following day starts and ends, could be different. Most of the time, we follow our intuition. It’s mind-boggling. Even small decisions now, as we stay at my in-laws, can make a difference, like which way we walk the dog today.
As far as important choices go, I can think of a few that totally defined my life. That being said, I totally believe that if I hadn’t met Mark or never set foot in the US, I would still have had a pretty intriguing life! Not that I have anything to complain about now. 🙂
Hi Liesbet, I had not thought about it until you mentioned it. When you are travelling, you and Mark are making decisions on a daily basis that greatly impact your day and where you are going. I am a big believer on following intuition, our gut. I don’t often think about the decisions I have made along the way due to the busyness of life. A milestone Anniversary or birthdays make me stop and think. I think for many of us, words, especially written words are a gift to our loved ones. I often cannot convey my message as well when I am speaking. Especially emotional messages. I will love to read your memoir, Liesbet. It sounds like you are still contemplating the initial synopsis? I greatly admire you writing this book. I find writing one page a real challenge. I cannot imagine a book. Thank you for reading and sharing your comments:)
Erica, Nice to hear you over here on Kathy’s blog. I’ve thought about my forks in the road often – the what if I had made a different decision. I’ve never heard the term sliding door….so for me it’s always been the choice, the fork in the road, the path less traveled in some cases. A few big ones for me were college to attend, career choice, moving to Cincinnati, staying with my Company through some hard personal and professional challenges, and then accepting responsibility for my SIL. But in all of that, I’ve come back to not regretting the path chosen (even the last one in that list which is the hardest for me to not regret) because it has led me to where I am today, who I am today, who is in my life today…. and I’m actual quite happy with that. Not sure about parallel universes… but there is so much we don’t yet know, it could be!
Hi Pat, I think the “Sliding Door” phrase came from a movie with the same name approximately 20 years ago. I had to think for a second, your term, SIL, and it quickly came to me. I agree with how you say that all of our past choices have led us to where we are and who we are today, a good thing for me, too. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts:)
Hi, Erica. This was really nice to read, and I love the sliding doors metaphor to really underscore how your own life benefited from such a phenomenon. Of course, I am wondering, though: did you EVER make it Yellowknife at least to visit? I choose to think that’s where your parallel you is. 🙂
Wow, Marty, you have given me goosebumps. No, I have not been to Yellowknife, and now I am a little afraid of the thought. And curious! Nice to hear from you and I hope your Summer is going well. I am catching up reading this week, and I look forward to reading your story and catching up on your Summer:)
suzanne vosbikian says
Erica, if you have not already, you should check out Sliding Doors on Netflix. It is a very entertaining movie and a great example of parallel universe lives. I have had several sliding door moments in my lifetime and while I can never know what might have been, I am very happy with what is. P.S. I follow Donna and found you and Kathy because of her recent post. Looking forward to reading more from each of you.
Nice to meet you! I was not aware Sliding Doors was on Netflix. I saw it when it came out approximately 20 years ago and it always made me think. I would love to watch it again. I am with you in that I am very happy with where I am right now. I greatly appreciate you reading and your thoughtful comment. I look forward to stopping by your site:) Erica
Thank you, Winnie. You emit such positive energy and create a ripple effect in people’s lives:)
Joanne Tracey says
I love the movie Sliding Doors and love this post. I often wonder about destiny and the choices we make – whether it’s our destiny to make that choice and take that path or whether in making that choice and taking that path we determined the destiny. Thanks Erica/Erika for a great read.
Hi Joanne, The movie, “Sliding Doors” was an interesting concept. Google says this phrase entered our pop culture after the movie. You pose an intriguing question. I think I am in charge of planning and setting goals, yet many things happen that are beyond my control and my plans have to change. I appreciate your thoughtful comment:)
Nancy Dobbins says
Hi Erica! Great to see you on Kathy’s blog…and what a thoughtful and insightful post. I’ve not heard of the phrase “sliding door moment” but how perfectly it fits those pivotal moments in our lives. I can identify several in my life for sure. I’ve always thought of it as a fork in my life’s path…choosing which way to go.
I always love reading your posts…they are like little gems.
How did you get so wise?
Thanks Kathy, for inviting Erica to guest post!
Wow, Nancy, thank you for your very kind comment:) You were one of the first bloggers I met and I greatly appreciate your support. I feel the same way about your posts. You care a great deal about health, happiness and our planet. You are generous with sharing your findings and your research. I was reflecting on “Sliding Door” moments when it occurred to me how beginning to blog has been a pivotal moment in my life. It has allowed me to meet someone like you. Thank you:)
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com says
Hi Erica and everyone! Thank you again Erica for filling in for me while I’m traveling. I had a feeling that quite a few people would appreciate the thoughts in this post from the first time I read it. And isn’t it fun reading about how serendipity has worked out in so many of our lives? Thanks also to everyone for your comments and making Erica feel welcome. I hope you all take the time to visit her blog and connect to her there. ~Kathy
I love when readers share their stories and thoughts in the comments. I always learn something new. I often get goosebumps when I hear how serendipity has played a large part in their lives. Thank you Kathy for giving me the opportunity to share my story and making me feel very welcome:)
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au says
Hi Erica! Lovely to see you here on Kathy’s blog and to read a little bit more about your life. I think it’s really interesting how our lives spin out. I met my husband in a tiny little country town – we were both there with our jobs and we were both there for less than 12 mths, met, felll in love and got engaged in that time and married shortly afterwards. Life is amazing and I’m always grateful for my posting to that little corner of the world.
Hi Leanne, It sounds like you and your husband’s paths were meant to cross, especially when you were both there for a short period of time. I totally agree with your last sentence. I have always been grateful for meeting my husband at that time. I think Whitehorse (and area) had a population of 14,000 at the time. Thank you for sharing your story:)
Tom at Sightings says
A parallel universe was the premise of X-Files TV show from the ’90s. Good show! But I don’t think it’s either/or. Our lives are preordained to some extent, but within our boundst we have lots of decisions to make and they make a real difference.
Hi Tom, I did not end up watching X-files and from everything I have heard, it was a great show. I agree with you. We still have choices we make on our path. Thank you for reading and your insightful comment:)
Jill Weatherholt says
It’s always interesting to reflect back on our ‘sliding door’ moments, isn’t it? I really enjoyed reading your post, Ericka. Typically, my “what ifs” pertain to my story characters rather than my own life.
Hi Jill, It sounds like your “what ifs” are like a Chess Game. You really are planning and looking ahead at possible scenarios and outcomes. I cannot imagine writing a book. A one page story is already a challenge. Interesting on the new variation of my name. Now, what do I do with the rest of my ID? Thank you for reading and your comment:)
Dee | Grammy's Grid says
Hi Kathy and Erica! Fate, meant to be, who knows? Now you’re talking my kind of language – parallel universes and quantum physics! Again, who knows? Interesting to think about! Sometimes when I look back at my life I think about certain things that HAD to happen in order for other things to become what it became.
Hi Dee, I began reading about parallel universes and an interesting topic. I agree with how certain things had to happen, especially when I think about our children. I believe they were meant to enter our lives. Thank you always for your thoughtful comments:)
The Widow Badass says
I used to think a lot about my sliding door moments too. And, like Joanne, I am focused more now on being grateful for the turns my life has taken and the lessons I have learned along the way. Very happy to be in the place I am in now, and can’t imagine how it could have been any better had I chosen another sliding door.
Thanks for this post!
Hi Deb, I agree with you and Joanne. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a break from some of the lessons, although, I am grateful for where I am now. Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment:)
Chuck Henault says
The proximity of people before they became couples is interesting. Many years ago, well over forty years, I lived in Sunnybrae near Salmon Arm. There was a gas station / ice cream store that I used to pass by on my way home. Erica and her family used to vacation in Tappen and frequent that store. On my way home I would check out the cuties as I passed by and now I wonder if one of them was her.
Hi Chuck, I was rereading your comment and I had an aha moment. Possibly this is why you were looking on Goggle maps the other day in the Salmon Arm region. You are right about the store. We would go there for our almost daily ice cream bar. And the “rest is history.” Thank you for your thoughtful comment:)
Ally Bean says
I like your awareness of your sliding door moment and how it impacted your life in a positive way. I wonder how often we make decisions like the one you did, not really understanding where that decision will take us. Not really caring maybe, just grateful to be moving along. Interesting thoughts here. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Ally, I have always wondered about that Summer and the impact switching the destinations made on my life. I am grateful for all the good years and of course, my husband, family and friends. Thank you for your comment:)
susan scott says
There are so many stories where taking that door instead of another leads down a certain path – or an uncertain one. Who knows whether this is destiny at work or just plain randomness .. I’m glad in a way that I don’t have a definite answer to this. What is interesting to me in hindsight is WHY I made a particular choice or WHAT prompted me on a particular path (of course, I can’t think of a concrete personal example right now – I’ll probably wake up at midnight with a good example) – Thank you both for this thought provoking post Erica and Kathy.
Hi Susan, I agree with you. I am not sure whether it is destiny or randomness. The “Why” seems to be coming up a lot in my radar lately for many parts of my life. I seem to be pulled (pushed?) forward on a path and if it “feels” right I stick with it. A very simplistic way of saying this. We all have unforeseen, unplanned events and outcomes. If you do think of an example in your life, I would love to hear about it Susan. Thank you for your insightful comment.
Hi Erica – Thank you for sharing your story. I haven’t heard of the term ‘sliding door’ before but have had a few of those moments. I’m very grateful for my life as it is. Have a wonderful weekend! I look forward to reading about your bloggers’ meet-up.
Hi Natalie, I agree with you, on how grateful I am for my life. You strike me as a very positive person, Natalie, and you will make sure your life goes in a positive direction. I am sorry that I can’t be there this Fall when you are on the Island. I am sure you will have a great time:)
Sliding doors is certainly an interesting concept, one my entire life I have been aware. My father enlisted into offer’s training before WWII. When the war broke out his officer papers were lost and the best he could get was to be a sergeant. Through-out my life I heard him talk about the what if, the sliding door, if his papers were not lost what would have happened, good and bad. Happy ending to his story is that his officer papers were found and 7 years after the war ended he was awarded his officer title and back pay, enough to buy the house I grew up in!
Hi Haralee, Nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing this interesting, personal story. It obviously had a big impact on your Father and your family. Especially good with the happy ending. I am off to check out your blog site. I greatly appreciate you reading and your thoughtful comment:) Erica
Long before we met, my future husband and I both worked downtown and regularly ate our lunches at the same outdoor square. Although we didn’t meet then, our paths crossed again while taking dance lessons. Fortunately, we both noticed each other and are still together 30 years later. I believe that our lives can take many different twists and turns, and that there isn’t just one preordained path (or just one person we are meant to be with), but I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. I met a wonderful man and a great dance partner.
I love your story and look forward to meeting you and your husband IRL soon!
I agree with you, Janis. I am not sure whether we are on a preordained path, or whether we just make things work out? We will never find out what might have been. I am OK with that, too. I think you were one of the first blogs I commented on when searching Anniversary posts. You were very kind to respond to me even though you were on a break. I greatly appreciate this “sliding door” moment:). I look forward to meeting you and husband this weekend. I think you will be returning from Long Beach. I will love to hear about your experiences:)
Thank you Kathy, for the privilege of being a guest on your inspirational blog site. I can now add the decision to start a blog as having a profound influence on the quality of my life. Look at the new friends I have made! I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
Donna Connolly says
Hi, Erica – It is wonderful seeing you Guest Host at Kathy’s site. You can add me to your list of people who were at the same place at the same time as their partners (numerous times) before actually meeting. I was a Middle School Principal in Kelowna and regularly spent lunch hours outside on our school grounds. A running track ran through the edge of our school — where Richard regularly spent his lunch hours. We don’t remember ever seeing each other — but we were definitely both there!
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
Reading your comment gave me goosebumps, Donna. I did not know that you and Richard’s paths likely crossed in Kelowna. This morning I am reminded how beginning a blog is another sliding door moment for me. I have made new friends as a result of that decision ? I look forward to our second date, this weekend:)
Donna Connolly says
Hi, Erica – Richard’s and my path definitely crossed….repeatedly! I frequently saw runners on the track, but was too busy spotting teenage smokers and the like, to look at the faces of any of the runners. Similarly, Richard often saw adults on yard duty, but was too focused on his running to look up! 🙂 See you soon!
Joanne Sisco says
A thought provoking post, Erica, and I too often reflect on ‘sliding door’ moments, although I’ve never heard that term before now.
It’s so easy to get bogged down in the ‘what ifs’ and how different our lives may be today. Without exception though, I always conclude that I’m grateful for where I ended up – in spite of the inevitable moments of regret we all have along the way.
Hi Joanne, “Sliding Doors” is a movie that was released in 1998, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. I think it became a pop culture term after the movie. I also think it was last Fall when the blogging friendships began. Another sliding door moment for me ? And yes, I am still in shock on the 40 years of wedded “bliss.” Thank you for always being supportive, Joanne:)