Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading Maybe in Another Life by one of my favorite adult authors Taylor Jenkins Reid. The novel tells two stories, both centered around main character Hannah; each story exists because of a specific choice that Hannah made at the end of a night out. I won't go into details because I think it's a novel that you need to go into with the least amount of information possible, but suffice it to say that the novel kindled some personal reflection on fate and free will. Are our lives pre-ordained to follow certain paths? Are our lives based on the choices we make on a regular basis?
It is written in the stars.
Fate. Destiny. These concepts are such familiar friends, constantly alluded to in all the media we consume. And, in fact, it's really easy to believe that our lives are being guided, perhaps even shaped, by some greater external force out there, religious or otherwise. It's a romantic notion, an ideal that many of us are happy to embrace. It is comforting to feel like you're following the path you're meant to take. And personally, it's extremely wonderful to feel like my path is being opened for me by my Creator. But believing in fate also has unintentionally harmful consequences. It's an excuse for when things go awry, a shield to hide behind when afraid to choose, a place to lay the blame when things are falling apart or you want to leave your past behind.
It is the choices you make that define your life.
Choice, too, is a familiar concept. Every single day, in just about any given moment, we are granted the capacity to choose - who we want, what we want, what we like, what we don't like, what we fear, and more. The gift of choice is one that can be both used well or abused. We can use it to make decisions that better the world, benefit others and even help ourselves in the process. We can make choices out of love, kindness and respect. But we can also use our choices as excuses, or choose actions out of fear, anger, sorrow, or pain. We can make the choice to inflict those terrible feelings on others, or to encourage our own apathy to the issues around us.
I believe in fate and free will.
Personally, these two concepts work hand in hand in my own life. Because of my faith, I believe that there is a higher purpose, a greater Hand guiding my way through this life. But I also believe that, in spite of that, I'm free to make my choices - whether they be wrong or right. It's an interesting contradiction, and yet I feel many of us share the same sentiment - that there is a balance between both options in our own belief systems.
YOUR TURN: What are your thoughts on fate and free will?
Don't forget to check out Maybe in Another Life!