Erin Lausten

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Trust the Fortune Cookie

Posted by erinlausten on October 20, 2010

I love fortune cookies. They are wonderfully crunchy and not too too sweet. They are the perfect end to a hot and heavy meal of chicken won tons, fried rice and broccoli beef. It’s one of those simple things that just makes me happy.

Of course you can’t have the cookie without the fortune. They’re fun. They’re silly. But honestly, does anyone take them seriously? They rank right up there with reading horoscopes. Don’t get me wrong. I read mine. I think about it for about half a second and then just move on, because it really doesn’t matter. What’s going to happen is going to happen and I could get just as much information about my future from the Weather channel as I can from a fortune.

So, I don’t really give much thought to them. Except, well, just this once.

I go through these phases where I get the super “what am I going to do with myself” funks. I feel the gotta move bug and it’s really not a fun time to be around me. I cut my hair, move the furniture, quit jobs, yeah… it can be a little scary. Not for me, but for my poor suffering husband who wonders, What will she do next?

So anyway, I was frustrated. The biggest problem was there really wasn’t anything wrong in my life that needed changing. But I had the feeling anyway. Every other time this has happened there was something I could change and it was obvious.

Well, here I am thinking about going back to school (really, I think two degrees is enough, but what else does one do in a situation like this?) Well, we do what any good American family does and went out to dinner. And oh yes, we got fortune cookies.

And for the first time, I did a serious double take. Pay attention to the dream that keeps coming back. Someone was trying to tell me something. Maybe God, maybe the Universes, maybe some person sitting in front of a computer coming up with pithy comments to put in those silly cookies. Either way, it hit me and it hit hard.

The dream that keeps coming back. I remembered and now I am never going to forget. When I was at that awful stage in life where you have to make an educated choice on what you want to be for the rest of your life I made a decision. I knew I wanted to write and do it for a living. But I knew (at 18, who knew you could know something at 18?) that I didn’t have much to write about. I had stories in my head, but didn’t really know how to make them work. So I decided to do something that would give me something to write about. I became an Archaeologist.

I was an archaeologist for a few years and it didn’t feel right. I remembered again that I wanted to write and gave it a shot. For a couple weeks. I wasn’t ready. I still didn’t know how to write the story. So I found something else to do. I became a Librarian.

That was great for a little while. But it never fit, not quite. And I forgot what I had decided way back when. Until that fortune cookie reminded me. And now, I have been writing. And the stories are flying out of my fingers and I am loving every moment. Now I know, I’m ready.


3 Responses to “Trust the Fortune Cookie”

  1. Sarah said

    Here’s my favorite fortune cookie quote:

    Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.

  2. Paul Vukeles (Vincenzo) said

    Seems to me that you are an entrepreneur and don’t know it, yet.

    Many people think that entrepreneurs are only about business. They flit from one business to the next having the joy of creating something new at each turn. Many see them as restless people who can’t be satisfied and who should just be grateful for what they have. Don’t rock the boat.

    No, the entrepreneur is a restless soul. They thrive on change and challenge. But is being an entrepreneur limited to the business world? No.

    Life is about changes and changing. Someone once told me that if we are not growing we are dying. So many at 30 years of age are already dead. The problem is that their bodies haven’t caught up with their reality. So change is what gives us life.

    Cutting hair, new styles of clothes, a new hobby are all changes. They are new challenges. Hair grows back, clothes are easily changes and hobbies are all but put away when we are done playing with them. These are all temporary things, not ones carved in stone. They represent who we are at this very minute.

    One major problem many have is that they are too concerned that if others see constant change then they will think them childish. Children change so why can’t adults.

    We must put aside the opinion’s of others and be who we are. We should not live the life that others expect but that which is right for us. This is called being real.

    So what you have described is that you are an entrepreneur but an entrepreneur who spans both business and life. The total entrepreneur.

    Paul (Vincenzo)

    • I think you nailed it Paul!

      Isn’t it interesting that entrepreneur is a very positive word, yet if you apply that outside your work life you can be seen as flighty or unstable? Humanity seems adverse to change as a whole and quite often under the delusion that what we are today is exactly what we will be tomorrow, or the next day, or a hundred years from now. The implications of this attitude are so vast it can be nauseating. How many cultures believed they would be the top dog forever? I am sure the Romans did, the British empire, and now we do today. But two hundred years from now who knows how the world will shift.

      The entrepreneurial spirit does embrace change, but the fear of failure keeps so many back from a truly amazing experience. This fear can be so debilitating that it takes all control from your fingertips. If you don’t make the choice to change then you are letting the circumstances around you have complete control over what your future holds. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you get to choose your destiny, after all, we never know how the cards will truly fall.

      I learned something early on from my father when dealing with fear of something that might happen. My dad would take me out to play raquet ball. And for the longest time I was afraid of the ball as it whizzed past me. Dad never softened his swing for me and as I learned later, he would intentionally hit me with the ball. Sounds brutal, but this is what I learned. Sure, it hurt when I got hit. But not nearly as much as I thought it would, and the biggest surprise of all was I didn’t die. As I played more the fear lessened to the point where it was really a non-issue. I got hit, it hurt for a second and then I had an awesome bruise to show off.

      So what am I getting at with this story? Well, the fear of change works the same way. Failure is painful, just like a raquet ball to the face. But it doesn’t kill you (And if it does, what do you care, you’re dead). The more often you actively change the less terrified you are of failing and then you start to see what can go right rather than what can go wrong.

      but that’s just my two cents

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