The odd coincidences and strange patterns in our lives 56



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It’s a human thing to look for patterns. Sometimes you find them unexpectedly, and sometimes they strike you quite forcibly.

My first child was born 16 days early, three days before my birthday. The second was born three days after her dad’s birthday. The third arrived on the first of a month, the same as her grandmother, and the fourth turned up on the same date that the firstborn was actually due, but 12 years later.

One of the characters in an episode of Silent Witness a while back, talking about the coincidence of numbers, referred to ‘unexplained moments of synchronicity’. Synchronous just means ‘occurring simultaneously’ and it applies to so many things in life, such as neighbours meeting in a foreign city unexpectedly.

According to my friend Wikipedia, apophenia  is ‘the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data’. I don’t know that the birthing of four babies is random … but that’s for another day.

I’d like to go on a rant about nominative determinism – my name’s Butcher, I deal in meat; my name’s Paine, I’m a doctor (or work with glass) – but I won’t. I came across an interview with Dr Kirby Surprise (I won’t start on his name) who studies ‘the magical and apparently unexplained world of synchronicities, meaningful coincidences, and déjà vu’ as a clinical psychologist. He has written a book—Synchronicity, the Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind.  A bit heavy for me but the review is interesting. 

Dr Surprise wrote, ‘I had a bunch of synchronistic events during my years in college, 20 or 30 a day! I had to find out what they were, especially coming from a culture that knew nothing about them…Synchronistic events happen when people see a meaningful connection between external events and their own internal states’. 

Well and good, but the numbers and dates associated with my daughters being born were hardly internal states to me! Then you have the odd thing like thinking about someone you haven’t heard from in ages, and the phone rings, and guess who it is? 

I’m being facetious, as my mathematician brother might tell me, but really – what about this? My father-in-law’s beloved dog when he was a young man is in a picture taken by a future brother-in-law. They met for five minutes on a city street, took a photo of the handsome dog, then years later married sisters.

It’s a fascinating field, the world of patterns and weirdly coincidental happenings. It is an intriguing topic though at its worst it can lead to mental delusion, such as when a statement on TV echoes a current thought and it seems the TV is talking to me! That’s when we start to look for confirmation of this pattern occurring and sadly, often find that confirmation. But it’s just part of that ‘apparently unexplained world of synchronicities, meaningful coincidences, and déjà vu’.

I think everyone has stories to tell of odd coincidences, synchronous happenings and strange patterns in their lives. Am I right? Have you had the weirdest coincidence that still puzzles you years later?

Fran Goodey

Frances Goodey is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two primary school age boys. With six brothers and two sisters, she was raised in Sydney and later lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Brisbane. She is an avid reader and has had some small success with children's stories being published in New Zealand and Australia. Both she and her husband are retired, and her daughters live in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sydney and Frankfurt.

  1. My three children were born first on Monday second was born on Tuesday and third was born on Wednesday my two daughters were born on the 28 th day of the month. Now they are all grown with @families of their own and almost all have a birthday the day before or after another family member.

  2. I was born 2 days after my grandmothers birthday and my youngest grandaughter was born on my birthday..

  3. I’m not a clock watcher as such; just refer to my phone or laptop or microwave etc; don’t like watches and don’t wear one. BUT whenever I randomly glance at the clock during the morning or late evening it will always ALWAYS find it is 10;13. Two of my three children were also born at 10:13- one morning, one nght.

  4. I make a family calendar for our extended family and the birthdays tend to cluster across the families with some doubling up of dates. I am letting the next lot who are old enough to reproduce that August only has one date. I’d like a bit of balance.

  5. We have 3 generations born on same day (11 Jan), my mother, a nephew and one of my own granddaughters.

  6. I am a left hander married another left hander many years ago – then down the track married another left hander with the same first name as No 1. Had a daughter and now two daughters in law with the same first names…….

  7. Mine and my two daughters’ birthdays are on the 11th and are two months apart. 11 July, 11 September, and 11 November.

  8. I have a grandson born on the 11th one on the 12th and one on the 13th and one was born on 11/12/13.

  9. My mother was born on 17th September – my father was born on 19th September – and I arrived on 18th September – how special.

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