Today’s post is going to be introspective in nature, so I apologize in advance for rambling. I’ll include my three things I’m grateful for at the bottom if you want to skip ahead.
I’d like to talk about fate today. Is fate real? What is fate? Do I have to accept my fate or am I free to do what I want?
According to our good friend Google, Fate is:
As most of you know, I don’t believe in any specific kind of higher power, so this definition right off the bat makes me feel all twitchy inside. If there is some overlord in the sky determining major events in my life, I’d at least like an invitation to the meeting where we discuss my future and the future of those I care about. I don’t think its too much to ask, really. We preach self control and responsibility, but we’re supposed to leave the direction of our future up to some random higher power who hasn’t really demonstrated that he/she/it/whatever cares about me or my life? That makes me feel icky, if I’m being honest. I don’t like it, not one bit.
But there are facets of my life that I don’t have control over. I don’t have control over my grandpa dying. I don’t have control over the driver who cut me off and almost caused an accident this morning. I don’t have control over who makes my coffee. I have a certain amount of influence in these things, but at the end of the day, I don’t have any real control.
I can’t control what people think of me, though my attitude and actions determine the source material they have to make a decision about who I am as a person. I can control my reaction to their assessment of my character and who I am as a person. I can also make the decision to change the way I do things if I find that I don’t like their assessment of me. These are all things I do have control over. But at the end of the day, there is still a large portion of my life that I am not in control of.
All that being said, I’d like to redefine fate. I’m good with the first half of the definition above, but I’d like to change supernatural power to other people. Some will argue that this gives other people too much power over others, but I feel much better knowing that my future is in the hands of people who have a vested interest in the way my life turns out, not some supernatural being who couldn’t care less about me or my life. No, not everyone I interact with wants what is best for me or is personally invested in how my life turns out, but at least they are human. They understand the struggles everyone faces, and most people will act with a certain amount of compassion towards their fellow human beings.
Do I have to accept my fate or am I free to do what I want?
It’s an interesting question, one I’d like to focus on for a moment. I think the answer is both. There are two types of events in someone’s life, those they have control over, and those they do not. Deciding to start a family is something Joe and I are relatively in control of. We decide whether to do the horizontal mamba with or without protection, and a few weeks later, I pee on a stick and tada! I’m pregnant. Everything after that moment of conception though? I have little to no control over what happens. In fact, my own body is going to betray me in every way imaginable in the next nine months, and some things I will lose control over for years after I give birth, and there is very little I can do to change those things.
At the end of the day, there are things in my life that I am not in control of, and that is okay. Does it bug me sometimes? Sure, I hate depending on other people, mostly because they are human and have the potential to let me down or otherwise disappoint me. Cynic that I am, I still believe that most people are inherently good and will do their best to help me when I need it.
The flipside of that is there are things that I am in control of, and I am responsible for how those things turn out. I have the power to change someone’s life with my decisions, and I think we all need to be mindful of that. Especially in our overly connected world, our choices matter to others, so we need to live in a constant state of awareness about how our choices impact other people and react accordingly.
TL;DR Make the choices that are right for you, but realize two things: First, your choices affect other people. Second, you are not always going to be in charge of events that have the power to change your life, and that is okay.
Sunshine and Roses
I am eternally grateful for coffee. Seriously, coffee is wonderful. I’m pretty sure it is responsible for making the sun rise every morning, it is that wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about coffee, particularly Dutch Bros. If you have one of these nearby, stop going to Starbucks and try one. It will change your life, I promise.
I can’t say enough about the women pictured behind me. They are the sole reason I made it out of high school with my sanity relatively intact. We’ve all been through our fair share of heart break and difficulty in the last decade plus, but I couldn’t possibly be happier about having them in my life, regardless of the struggles we’ve gone through. They are some of my favorite people in the whole world, and I wouldn’t change a thing about any of them.
When Joe and I finally decided to get married, we had a few choices to make. Did we want a huge wedding with every person we’ve interacted with over the last decade in attendance, or did we want to keep it small? We (clearly) chose small. As much as I appreciate all the good people in my life, I wanted to keep it small. I’d heard enough horror stories about big weddings getting supremely out of control because the guest list kept expanding, so we set a few basic guidelines and stuck to that with a few exceptions, and I couldn’t be happier. This picture represents virtually every person who has ever had a positive impact on my life, and I am eternally grateful that they chose to celebrate the love and life Joe and I are building together. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without these people.