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Living with ALS: The Three S’s of life Spontaneity, Serendipity and Synchronicity

Written By | Sep 15, 2019
ALS, Spontaneity, Serendipity, Synchronicity

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels

CHARLOTTE, NC: Some of the most joyful moments in life occur at times when an unanticipated series of events align themselves to create memories that can never quite be explained and certainly never be duplicated. It is the Spontaneity, Serendipity, Synchronicity of life.

In the simplest of terms, most of us would refer to them as “you had to be there” moments.

We have all had them, and no manner of explanation or retelling of the events can ever completely replicate the pleasure of the experience by the participants.

The Three S’s: Spontaneity, Serendipity, and Synchronicity

Perhaps another, deeper and more philosophical, way to put it is to call it the “Three S’s: Spontaneity, Serendipity, and Synchronicity.”

In their own way, each of this trio of phenomena is related.

Over the years, I have come to revel in the “serendipity of travel” as one of the driving forces for my wanderlust passion. It lies deep within my psyche and growth as a person in ways I could never have fully attained in a classroom or a book.

For me, the classroom and books come after the experience in ways that serve to reinforce what I have discovered and promise to further arouse my curiosity.

No matter who we are, it is the anticipation of such events that create the excitement of a journey before we ever take the first step out of the front door. The sensation is much the same that football fans experience before the Super Bowl.

All too often, the game is not able to live up to its billing because the “hype” diminishes the reality of the expectations.

Accepting the Spontaneity, Serendipity, Synchronicity of traveling through life

Likewise, travel is also filled with unpredictability and possibilities. However, unlike sports, an entire destination becomes the product rather than the limitations of a finite playing field. Thus, the opportunities for unique and awe-inspiring occurrences are enhanced and magnified by the destination.

One of my high school classmates, who is also someone whose life has been broadened by travel, describes “serendipity” as those delicious “random mysteries” that appear like magic in our lives.

Another classmate, a far more intellectual thinker than I could ever hope to be, compared “serendipity” with the concept of “synchronicity” put forth by the analytical psychologist Carl Jung.
Synchronicity is defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.”

While those are some pretty heavy-duty words, Jung simplified their meaning with the following example:

“I was sitting opposite (a patient) one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab — a costly piece of jewelry. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room.


This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, whose gold-green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, ‘Here is your scarab.’ This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance.”

In its own way, ALS is a combination of the “Three S’s” – Spontaneity, Serendipity, Synchronicity

Although the affliction frequently denotes more negative connotations than positive.

On the other hand, if you think about it, be it for good or for bad, life itself is an amalgam of events that are either serendipitous, spontaneous or synchronous or some blending of the three.

Not long ago, an ALS patient wrote a poem that upon first reading appeared to be little more than his own private “pity party.” Truthfully, I had to force myself to re-read it, but by the time I finished the second review, I realized that the message was, indeed, one of hope.

“My well has run dry.
My engine won’t turn.
No sun in my sky.
No kindling to burn.
I’m down here quite deep.
Weary to the bone.
My voice but a peep.
Naked and alone.
Shall I sink, or should I swim?
Is it wise to hold on tight
To a precarious limb,
That may break in dead of night?
As I lament my decline and lack of verve,
I remember I’m more than a failing cell.
As long as I’m able I will strive to serve,
And keep steadfast faith in God’s eternal well.”

As the author later clarified,

“My intent was twofold: First, to illustrate the dodgeball-with-death game that ALS forces us to play, hence the urgency; second, to show that the residual despair evident in the first three quatrains, was only temporary. Faith intervened and triumphed, as it always does for me.”

If we are honest with ourselves, life is only temporary for anyone. All ALS really does is to provide a slightly more defined awareness of the inevitable.

That being the case, I plan to continue my pursuit of the “Three S’s” until I am no longer able.

Following that, I can sit back and savor each precious moment, encounter and person who passed through the pageant that has been my life.

Even ALS cannot take that away from me.


About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Read more of Bob’s journeys with ALS and his travels around the world

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.