Unintended consequences

Tori McKelvey

By Tori McKelvey

Do you ever look back at one event and think… if that never happened, or you didn’t meet that person… life would be completely different? Every decision you make has a ripple effect — big or small. One event can severely alter the direction your life takes.

For me, it all starts in 2017 when I move in with one of my friends into a studio apartment in Downtown Atlanta. Six months later problems arise, and I move to Charleston, SC for the summer months. By the summer of 2018, I'm living there full-time and attending theCollege of Charleston.

The story sounds sort of basic but to keep the point short I meet a dude and we start dating. I dictate my decision of where I want to live based on him. I transfer my credits from my old school and start a new life in Charleston. During my first 6 months here, we break up twice. After the second split, I find my groove in the new city.

Charleston is full of cool, wacky people, and, one by one, I meet some of my closest friends. I become part of a huge surfing community onFolly Beach.Every day, I appreciate how lucky I am to live so close to the ocean… to have a community like family surrounding me. 

Everything goes back to that naïve decision to not return home to Atlanta and stay in Charleston for a dude. 

All that I love about living here would not be real without that mistake. I always refer to it as the best mistake I ever made. My original reason for staying is no longer viable, but the lessons are.

I learn how to build a support system in a place where I don’t really know anyone. I learn that moving some place new and starting over is exhilarating. A good ‘ol cheesy, but wise quote that takes the cake is, “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live,” in a line attributed to Albus Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" written byJ. K. Rowling. 

In the book, Harry is simply staring at a mirror that is showing him his deepest desires. Staring at the mirror is not going to change anything about his life. Dumbledore points out that living is not dreaming, but rather doing. Change is good. Taking chances is good. We should encourage and make whimsical decisions. Excitement rarely shows up on your front door. You must go searching for it sometimes. Peel back the reality you live in and add some pizazz! 

Life is what you make it.