When I was in high school, I painted a mural on my bedroom wall of big bay windows with a window seat looking out over the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. I painted a tree and buildings and made the neighboring building to the left bright pink and blocky. I grew up only a few hours south of the city, but in a completely different world – rural, agricultural, with little opportunity to experience the art and culture I craved – and from my few visits to San Francisco, I knew it was the place for me. My path there was windy as I ended up going to college in Santa Barbara, teaching art there for two years afterward, and only making the move when one of my students got into the San Francisco Art Institute and asked if I wanted to move up there with her (we had become good friends, since I was only 21 when I started teaching and was much closer to her in age than any of my “colleagues”). She said her family owned an apartment building and the rent would be super cheap. I leapt at the chance and it turned out that her family’s building was the very same bright pink, blocky building I had painted in my mural so many years before. No views of the Bay, but unmistakably where I was meant to be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about serendipity lately, how things have happened over and over again in my life to lead me to where I’ve dreamed of being, and sometimes even beyond my wildest dreams. I thought I moved to San Francisco to pursue Art – to make murals, and paintings, and write and illustrate books and be a part of a scene – and I started to when I first moved into that pink place in the Mission, surrounded by creative people who made me feel alive. And then I happened to meet my husband by another fateful twist of unexpected events, which detoured me down a path of deeper self-discovery, one that kept me too busy to create any tangible works of “Art”, but gave me the ability to appreciate things in life I’d never known were possible – love, mainly.
Now, I wake up seven years later and realize serendipity has been working her magic all along. I find myself once again living in the Mission, only this time with my sweet husband and a baby boy on the way who isn’t even born yet and has inspired me to paint a mural. And to keep on painting. Whenever I worry about what will happen next or how I’ll ever accomplish my dreams, I try to remember that I already have come so far, not by my efforts alone but by a guiding force in my life putting me in the right place at the right time. I am exactly where I’m meant to be and I can’t wait to see what serendipity has in store.