Friday, July 10, 2015

Destiny vs. Choice

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. 

Maybe In Another Life book coverFate. 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!

15 comments:

  1. Hey lady, great post - this is the exact thing I was wrestling with while reading, and I tend to agree with you - that most of us believe in a mixture of both fate and free will. I think the fate part gives us comfort that the big choices we've made are meant to be, but I loved what TJR wrote in MiAL about how we still have to own our choices and consequences.

    My issue with the book is that I felt the divergent endings did not follow through with these themes. What are your thoughts on that? (DM chat about it so we don't give it away? I've already had a chat about it with Kelly because we were both so frustrated by the ending!)

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  2. I like to think I have a choice in life. It scares me to think everything I do is already written down, because what would life be if you aren't free to make your own faults? There are just different roads in life and it's up to you which one you take and where you let it lead you :)

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  3. Danielle @ Love at First PageJuly 14, 2015 at 2:44 AM

    Lovely minis, Alexa! Of these, I definitely enjoyed Focus on Me and Magnolia for the same reasons you listed. I will seriously read anything Megan Erickson writes, and I hope she writes more for this series. I've fallen in love with those guys! Magnolia just put a big ole smile on my face. It's so cute!

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  4. AH I have so much to say on this topic! haha I've always thought about this and any book that explores the topic gets immediately added to my TBR. I definitely believe in a mix of fate and free will, coupled with the fact that each choice we make impacts our life somehow. I can't WAIT to read this book! I think I'll be buying it tonight on my trip to B&N!

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  5. You definitely need to buy this one! It's such an interesting take on the concept, and it definitely made me think more about destiny and free will and what I believe in personally.

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  6. This is SO true! I also feel like I have the right to make decisions, to decide which way to go or what to do. I love the thought that I can also control what path my life takes :)

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  7. It's interesting, isn't it? I like that she tackled those concepts in that way. (And I'll get right on that DM!)

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  8. Thank you, Danielle! I agree about Megan - I love her books, and cannot wait for more of her stuff. And I really liked Magnolia because it made me feel all giddy inside!

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  9. It's such an interesting take on the fairytales I know and love! I'm so glad I gave it a shot, and now I just want to read the rest.

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  10. I agree about Never Always Sometimes! It was definitely honest and I thought it was a unique take on a story. And Magnolia just makes me giddy with joy thinking about it ;) Hope you get to read Written in the Stars!

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  11. YES PLEASE. Then we can discuss The Orphan Queen! It's one of my favorites, and I'm super excited for the novellas and the sequel. Also, definitely give Megan another shot. I'm a big fan of her books!

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  12. I have to continue on with the series! I really like how they modernized the characters, made them very different but also kept some of their main traits ;)

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  13. I am starting to be interested in reading graphic novels as well! Fables was a pretty compelling one, and I look forward to reading more. And yaaaaay. Tweet me so we can talk about the ones on your TBR when you read them!

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  14. Good to know! I have so much reading ahead of me ;)

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  15. Under the Lights is REALLY good! I had a smile on my face while I read it, and it's just so fun. I also really liked how The Status of All Things made me think!

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