Two years ago I was drowning. It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and I had to deal with a crazy family emergency that forced me to make some tough decisions and left me a little traumatized in the process. One week later my dog suddenly and unexpectedly died. Tarzan had been the first dog I ever owned and I loved him like he was my own child. I was devastated. I was also at a passionless job which didn’t help things. I would go for walks three times each day to stay sane or escape. Landing a new job at the nonprofit I have now been laid off from saved me in many ways and reaffirmed that I was good and that I was talented and that I could lead.
Fast forward to the present day 2016. Again a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving I am laid off from the job that saved me and my dad is diagnosed with cancer. What the fuck? I’m starting to think November in even years and I don’t do well together. So November 2018 I think I’ll pass.
I was talking to a good friend about this recurrence. Her sons were both recently diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. She said that almost every time her family received bad news about their son’s it was on the 10th of the month. It got to be so often that she and husband decided to reclaim the 10th and turn it into a holiday to make it an occasion to celebrate instead.
This got me thinking about pattens. Patterns of catastrophes, natural disasters, historic events, all around bad things. If the world’s history repeats itself does history also repeat itself in our personal worlds? Throughout history there have been patterns in man made and natural disasters. I tried to research these topics, but it was tough to find much of any credible information between the conspiracy theory sites put up by free masons and self proclaimed experts on patterns of catastrophe. I am in no way trying to compare my personal tragedies to horrific events in history, but I did come across a few examples that I found interesting and worth sharing. Coincidences or patterns? I’ll let you be the judge.
The community of Codell, Kansas was struck by a string of tornadoes that occurred in 1916, 1917 and 1918 that all touched down on the same day – May 20th. The first two tornadoes caused minimal damage and didn’t claim any lives. The last one was much more powerful causing massive damage to the town, but again fortunately no fatalities.
Prominent assassinations also have eerie similarities. For years conspiracy theorists have filled the internet with connections between the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F.Kennedy. Both were killed on a Friday by a gun shot wound to the head after they had been warned not to go out. Both were succeeded in office by men with the last name Johnson – Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson. Both assassins went by three names each with fifteen letters – John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. After shooting Lincoln Booth escaped from the theater only to eventually be caught in a warehouse. After shooting Kennedy Oswald fled from something that resembled a warehouse only to be caught at a theater.
Genocide also has cyclical traits. From 1915 to 1917 Armenia’s Ottoman government took the lives of approximately 1.5 million people. Adolf Hilter’s Nazi regime claimed about 11 million lives. Since the Holocaust there have been at least two dozen genocides that resulted in as many if not more lives lost than during the Holocaust. The communist Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia executed as many as 2 million political dissidents, roughly one third of the country’s population between 1975 and 1979. More recently, the Hutu government in Rwanda killed nearly a million if not more Tutsi citizens in just 100 days. Today, the world continues to watch and determine how to act as mass killings continue to unfold in Syria.
If you want to continue down this rabbit hole check out How Stuff Works Culture for a countdown of the 10 Worst Ways History has repeated Itself which is where I found most of the info above.
Philosopher George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So what happens when you realize your own bad history is repeating itself and there isn’t anything you can do about it? Learn what you can from it, take time to grieve, pick yourself up and move on. Nothing bad lasts forever. Just as our world experiences chaos and disaster we also experience these in our personal worlds.
For me when I feel like I am falling I like to go somewhere I can feel small. For me feeling small reminds me that there are things bigger than myself and that I am really just a drop in our infinitely awesome universe. Being laid off has its good days and bad days. Yesterday was one of the former for me so I went to the ocean. I went to one of my favorite spots where I imagined I was sitting on the edge of the world as I stared out at the never ending water before me and felt small. As I sat there I began to notice patterns in the waves. Most of the waves were calm and friendly, but every so often more destructive waves would roll in swallowing up the nice waves as they crashed into the cliffs. Our world and our lives operate in patterns and waves and its up to us to learn how to be strong swimmers so we can anticipate the next big one in time to rise with it or redirect it before it reaches our shores.
UPDATE: My dad received good news that he has a slow growing form of cancer that likely won’t need treatment for a few years!