The Butterfly Effect

I’ve been ruminating a lot recently on the Butterfly Effect, ie the idea that the smallest of actions can have the largest of consequences.

The reason for me dwelling on it was as I looked back at what had happened in 2016. On New Year’s Day, I went to a house party and decided to play guitar in the kitchen. Because of this, I met my (now) housemate. Had that chance encounter not occurred, though we might still have met, we wouldn’t have got to know each other, and probably wouldn’t have become friends. If that hadn’t happened, I would not have moved into my current house, and as such I would never have met the rest of my housemates.

It’s weird to think that had timings been slightly different; had me and my housemate not been in that kitchen at that specific time on that specific day, I would not even know four people who I see pretty much every day. I would also not be living where I do now, and living in this house, in this area of Manchester has led to several life events that wouldn’t have happened.

Back in July, I got mugged walking home from work one night. Had I not moved, I probably wouldn’t live where I do, and so I wouldn’t have had any need to be walking down the street I was mugged on, and therefore I wouldn’t have been mugged. Had I not been mugged, I wouldn’t have got a bike, as I did so to keep myself safer. Had I not got a bike I would be less fit and spending more money on transport. As a result I probably wouldn’t go out as much, especially not to see friends, as a lot of the city is hard to get to otherwise.

Had I not had a bike, and not met my housemate, I wouldn’t have cycled down to join her at a band rehearsal, where I saw my band’s violinist play for the first time. Had that not happened, my band probably wouldn’t have a violinist.

If my band didn’t have a violinist, I wouldn’t be as excited to release and tour my new album, which features a lot of violin (recorded by a session violinist). Therefore, I probably wouldn’t be planning a European tour of my album this summer. I also wouldn’t be having regular band rehearsals round the violinist’s house. Being there has led me to get to know some friends a lot better, and be invited to more parties in that group, and really become immersed in it. As a result of that my self-worth has improved significantly, and I act nowadays more like a human being than a sociopath.

So, in short, had I not arrived at that house party at the right time and met my housemate, I’d know fewer people, (probably) live on my own, go out less, get the bus more, not ride a bike, played less with my band, not had a violin player, would not be doing a tour, would not have found a group of friends that I fit in well with, would have very little self-worth and would have probably so little empathy that I could be classed as a clinical psychopath.

In other words, my life would be almost unrecognisable in comparison. I find it fascinating that with such a small change, how much would not have happened to me. I have a myriad more moments like this to think upon, as does everyone.

So next time something big happens in your life, ask yourself what was the small first step that set it all off?

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