“Do you believe in predetermined destiny?”
That was a question that posed to me recently by a guy I had been talking to for a while, but never had the opportunity to go on an actual date with, due to my ridiculous travel schedule/complete lack of any free time. Rather than waiting around for me, he met someone else he really liked, and, after he broke the news that our text flirtation could be no more, I responded something along the lines of “It would have worked out if it was meant to be.” This led him to ask the question… which has lingered in my mind long after thoughts of that guy have fled.
So, do I believe in fate? Sure, he said “predetermined destiny,” but that’s just a fancy term for fate. Whatever words you use, my answer is, I’m not quite sure. Part of me wants to believe that everything happens for a reason, even if I will never understand exactly what those reasons are. Why? Well, it’s comforting to think that there’s a higher power up there pulling the strings of my life, whether it be the Moirai (the Fates in Greek mythology) or my beloved deceased grandmother, both of whom would definitely make better life choices for me than I do. In the cases where good things happen, it’s nice to be able to look to the sky and thank whoever you believe in made them happen for you. And in the bad times…well, “it just wasn’t meant to be” is the ultimate soothing balm for jagged emotions. Either way, the idea that certain things happen simply because they were destined takes away some of the stress of making all of life’s decisions on your own. Instead, you can just leave it up to fate, and it will all work out…right?
But on the other hand, the very same reasons that make the premise romantic and comforting make it a double-edged sword, which is why I can’t just go all-in on fate. Leaving – or in some cases, blaming – everything up to destiny is the ultimate “get out of jail” free card. Think about it…
Last relationship didn’t work out? Fate would say it simply wasn’t meant to be, as opposed to examining your own role in its demise.
Didn’t get that job you wanted? It’s that you’re obviously just destined for better things, not that you should probably work on the interview skills.
That guy you wanted to date meets someone before your Tinder flirtation moves into real life? “It would have worked out if it was meant to be,” instead of “Well, I probably should have made more time in my schedule if I was really interested.”
So many of us attribute things to fate because it absolves us of any personal responsibility when it comes to our decisions, particularly the ones with bad outcomes.
So going back to my almost-boyfriend’s question: “Do you believe in predetermined destiny?” After careful consideration, the answer is most definitely yes. I believe there are some things that are certainly inevitable – like death, taxes, and Kim Kardashian taking at least one selfie a day. But, I think the more important point is that while I believe in fate, I don’t/won’t rely on it. At the end of the day, while fate most likely has a role, I have the power to control my own destiny. And while it’s a scary thought to take full responsibility for everything that happens, it’s an oddly powerful feeling..