Why Serendipity Is Not Just For John Cusack

I'm no astrologist, but in my experience, there must be an alignment of the heavens that causes someone of a certain age to crave '80s rom-com movies. Last night I found myself inexplicably searching for anything starring Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, or John Cusack.

I chose Serendipity, which isn't technically an '80s movie, but since it stars John Cusack, it counts. Incidentally, I once had my own moment of serendipity with John when he came into the Chicago spa where I used to work. He was taller than I expected, even though he was hunched over in a slouchy posture that I assume comes from years of trying to be incognito. Unlike in the movie, there was no love at first sight, at least on his part.

But serendipity means happy chance, and I for one was happy for this chance to glimpse a star.

In the movie, John meets Kate Beckingsale one night, and despite their connection, she doesn't share her name or her number because she believes that destiny will reunite them. He spends most of the movie combing New York City trying to find her. At times the plot was so contrived I found myself rolling my eyes, but it caused me to ask myself: why put a ceiling on belief? Why am I willing to accept a few small happy chances, but dismiss others as ridiculous?

If John's character believes that he can be the only person on the skating rink in Central Park and (spoiler alert) the woman he's spent years searching for will find him there... hey! Why not?

Granted, life is not a movie. But it is a projection of our beliefs. And even though Jesus himself gave the ultimate creative green light when he said it will be done unto you as you believe, we still put limits on our happy chances. We allow them to only take us so far.

So when I think about taking a vacation to California, I feel excited and full of possibility. When I think of going to Hawaii, it suddenly becomes too much of a stretch. A client tells me she can write two blogs per week, but she could never write a book. My son spends a week at summer camp making friends from all over the country but is afraid that no one will like him at his new school.

How often we let ourselves play small! Instead of acting, we choose to remain in the audience. We'd rather set our sights on motion pictures than dare to create big screen magic in our own lives.

But serendipity isn't just for John Cusack. You too have an endless supply of happy chances coming to you. Just consider the many books available on The Law of Attraction, with names like The Magic of Thinking Big, Unlimited Power, As A Man Thinketh, You Can If You Think You Can.

They all suggest that serendipity is not chance at all, but simply a result of focusing our thoughts on what we want to manifest. Is it really so easy? And does that mean that if I keep thinking about John Cusack, I'll magically cross paths with him again in our hometown of Chicago, and that this time he'll notice me?

Maybe not. But it's fun to think about. At the very least, I may end up meeting someone who also, when the stars align in a certain way, happily craves '80s rom-coms.

It's a start.

Tammy Letherer is a writing coach who loves to help others find their voice, whether in a blog or in a book. She is the author of one novel, Hello Loved Ones, and a memoir, Real Time Wreck: A Crash Course in Betrayal and Divorce, for which she is seeking agent representation. Contact her if you have a story that deserves to be shared. Follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.