Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Destiny

Do you feel that we all have a destiny? A pre-written course in life? Or, do we choose our destinies every day through actions and choices *we* make? Whichever you believe, I think it adds up to the same thing, which is “Do the best you can with what you’ve got”. Let’s explore.

My biological father is a writer, and I did not know this until much later in life. My adoptive parents are most definitely not writers. By age three I was spelling out words and by four I was reading books. I knew I was a writer. Somehow, I just knew it. And yet, nobody in my family even read a whole lot, much less wrote fiction. Of course, genes play a large part in that, I’m betting, but is there something else? Some destiny I am to fulfill? Am I doing what I was intended to do, or do I just have a strong draw to reading and writing and so have decided to make them for my life? It’s anyone’s guess, really.

I don’t ever, ever talk about politics or religion because of several reasons, but mainly because folks have a hard time keeping civil in conversations about them. After ten minutes, a friendly debate about opinions becomes a screaming flame war. That isn’t for me. However, I believe that discussing a pre-written destiny, or the lack thereof, isn’t about religion at all. Either you think that life has been planned out for you, or you don’t. Whatever vehicle leads you to that conclusion isn’t part of this particular debate.

If I am in the mood for steak, but purposely choose eggs instead in order to “trick fate”, have I really tricked fate or was I supposed to eat eggs all along? Sure, that point is rather moot in the grand scheme of things, but each decision in our lives can go just like that. What if I major in psychology for a year and a half before deciding that I really like sociology instead? Although they are closely related fields, it changes our path in a big way. Classes are different, jobs are different, pay scales are different, and the people we will meet will all change. So, did that hinge on a decision or are we just going about or pre-programmed ways? It’s a tough call for me. Real tough.

I tend to think that while we may have a destiny, life is more like one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books in which you can pick a direction, but they are rather limited if you want the story to be good. It’s kind of like a game of chess: Sure, at any one point in the game you may in fact have twenty moves to choose from, but only two or three are worth considering because the others are obviously bad and lose quickly.

So, what’s *your* next move?


Morgan said...

Very thought provoking!

Theresa Wiza said...

I think destiny plays a role, but choice and opportunity play a bigger role. If I had a proclivity for playing piano, but nobody bought me a piano or gave me piano lessons, I might never fulfill the destiny I thought I was supposed to have, and if life lead me down another creative path, I might have taken that road instead. Hopefully somebody would have taken note early on and guided me down my chosen path, but sometimes parents don't pay attention. My destiny might not begin to play out until I became an adult. Great post!

Langley said...

I think about this a lot too, and am still not sure. BTW, the trailers for that movie about destiny (name escapes me, Matt Damon is in it) piques my interest.

LaughingZombie said...

Do billiard balls have a destiny or do they just go where trigonometry says they must. In the infinite game of billiards, it was all set in motion in the Big Bang.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

We make choices every day that change our own personal future, and therefore, the future of others. We can only predict some of those effects based on past observations. Yet, from another perspective "someone" else might see that our choices are not so independent as they appear.

Christina said...

In love, I believe in destiny. That you will somehow come across the person you were meant to be with. But in most aspects of life, I like to think I'm in control.

Your story is similar to mine. I'm adopted and completely different from my family. A lot is biological.l

Anonymous said...

Interesting post! I believe that we each have a "path" and that deep down, we have a very powerful sense of exactly what that path is. Sometimes, though, we allow outside distractions, fear, or even plain laziness to keep us from following what/who we are meant to be--who we really are.

Matt Conlon said...

I'm not a believer in the predetermined, though I do believe there's a lot of pre-disposed possibilities. In other words, given our genetics, there are things that we're more likely to gravitate towards.

As far as everything being written already for us, I think that's more likely just something that makes people feel better. The opposite of that idea is that the future is completely unknown, and that, for some, is just too scary. Some would rather just say "X (being god, or fate or whatever the belief is) works in mysterious ways" and believe there was a reason that they just don't fathom.