It's funny how childhood can imitate adult life (in retrospect). I remember being 11 or 12 years old and possessing an almost obsessive determination to have a "normal" family when I was an adult. This determination was driven by the fact that I was being raised by my grandmother and my mother's siblings (because she'd been killed by my father). I was madly in love with my future because my present was just sad at times. I dreamed of a husband, kids, and having an amazing bond with them because I didn't know what that looked like. I was really determined to get life right in adulthood.
Enter M.A.S.H. B.U.G. from stage left. If you're in my generation, you know exactly what M.A.S.H. B.U.G. is, but if not, I’ll explain. It was probably our first taste of life-changing probability. We'd scribble those words across the top of loose leaf notebook paper and write in columns of prophetic fate. M.A.S.H. were your options for future housing (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House). B.U.G. were options for your future appearance (Beautiful, Ugly, Gorgeous-- pretty good odds here). Under the major header, there were 3 other columns populated by car brand options, number of children, and husbands (based on our current crushes). We were thorough. Each sub-column had about 5 options. (See image below)
Here's how we chose our fates. We'd pick a number between 1 and 5 and start eliminating options. If we chose the number 5, we would start with the M, count to 5, and scratch of the 5th option until there was only one option left in each section. Whatever was left was circled, and that… was your future. We would howl with laughter as our friends were forced to circle "shack" or "ugly". We’d even spice it up and make our friends put at least one boy that annoyed them on the husband list. It was pure entertainment reading each other’s shaky futures after all the selections had been made!
Now I already told you I was obsessed with having a perfect future, so the nerd in me learned the results based on what number was chosen. I was the M.A.S.H. B.U.G. champion. While everyone else was genuinely upset or surprised by some of their results (because we constantly played this game in class), I was secure because I’d learned to “count cards”. While everyone else was forced to accept the future the game predicted, I’d put my choices in the slots I knew would be selected based on my number choice.
Eventually, my peers caught on to me. I think it was probably my cousin who outted me to everybody else when she noticed my pattern. (She just wouldn’t let me be great! LOL) The jig was up. I had to face uncertain futures with everybody else and I was miserable! As I scratched off my desirables and found my pencil hovering over the S for shack before circling it, I was semi-defeated. What if this really happened? Would I be ugly living in a shack with my husband, Jason Momoa, and our 3 children? Probably not, but the thought of my future being that much out of my control gave me anxiety!
I thought of this the other day and started laughing hysterically because I’m STILL playing M.A.S.H. B.U.G. in real life. A lot of us are. We make a decision and once it starts eliminating those things we actually WANT in our lives, we want a reset. That one decision is scratching off the good stuff from our carefully planned futures and honestly, all we want IS the good stuff. At this point in my life, I’m trying to circle M or at least H, but A is lurking in the shadows forcing my hand. While I’m grateful to not be living in a shack, I’m chasing the best options on my real life M.A.S.H. B.U.G. board. The same girls that used to get the horrible predictions by the game when we were 12, are now living my card counting version of life... poetic justice. Actually, I’m happy for them after enduring those horrible predictions, but you see how irony works?
I said all of that to say, instead of forcing things in the direction you think they should go, pick your number and make your eliminations. Maybe your board won’t be perfect in the end, but it will be natural and most likely a fun ride. May the odds be in your (and my) favor!