Does everything happen for a reason? Or is life just a series of coincidences?
I was telling a good friend over WhatsApp that due to my low key living at the moment, that I didn’t feel like I had much to write about for my blog just now. She suggested writing a blog ‘on fate and how things that are “meant to be” are BULLSHIT and why we should pay them no mind.’ (She did add that she was probably just feeling extra cynical, after yet another potential relationship collapsed in a heap around her), so I’m using her suggestion and writing a blog about fate and wether or not I think it exists.
Assuming you’ve seen 500 Days of Summer (and if you’ve not do not watch this link, *SPOILER ALERT* but I suggest you make the movie a viewing priority), it starts out with a very sceptical Tom who believes only in coincidence, and not at all in fate. A bit like my friend…
“If Tom had learned anything… it was that you can’t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence… Tom had finally learned, there are no miracles. There’s no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now.”
But Summer, (the leading lady of the film) is adamant that in the end, everything comes down to fate.
I asked my other friends what they thought – did they believe in fate? One of my friends said, “I think that fate is just a way of looking at past mistakes in a positive light and thinking it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t make those mistakes.” Another said, “I like to think you make your own fate. Like the night I met <her fiancé>, I was literally in the queue for one club, and was like, ‘nah, I can’t be bothered going here’ and decided to go to <the bar he was in>. It was a place I never really went – I just went because I was in a bad mood and wanted a change, and there I met him. Would be nice if it was fate, but it was really just a choice I made.” I asked her, if she hadn’t went to that bar that night, did she think that they’d have eventually met at a later point, because they were fated to be together? She said, “No, I don’t think so… Maybe…I guess it’s all up to chance. I don’t believe in one soul mate either.”
But do they have a point, or is this a sceptical way to look at it all? I want to believe in fate, I really do, and there was a time where I would have hand on heart said that I did believe in it one-hundred-per-cent. I believed that everything happened for a reason, even if that reason was a bit unclear. When I didn’t get the apartment that I so desperately wanted, I trusted that it was because there was a better one elsewhere and there was probably something wrong with that one, and when I had my heart broken, I trusted that it was because he wasn’t the right one for me and there was something better in the works, so I didn’t let myself get too down when something didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
I littered my work diary with quotes like, “If it doesn’t open – it’s not your door.” and “Remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck!” and “What’s for you won’t go by you.”, reading them on the daily.
My view that everything happened for a reason changed significantly after a visit to a psychic two and a half years ago. This woman had a waiting list of more than eighteen months, and as she’d been recommended by quite a few people that I knew, I didn’t mind to wait a while to see her. I was feeling really skeptical about the whole thing as the date drew closer though, some kind of foreboding. During the time I was with her, she referenced a lot of things in my past, and as she talked about my future, she painted it as something kind of bleak. After one and a half hours with this woman, I felt quite apprehensive about what lay ahead for me and I really didn’t respect the way that she kept referring to me as ‘fragile’ – I consider myself quite a strong and independent person. I left her feeling anxious about where my life was heading, and I seemed to walk around with a feeling of impending doom for the next few months, wondering if there really is such a thing as fate, and if so – how could I change that events that she supposedly saw in mine?
I began asking myself that if everything really does happen for a reason, then why are there instances where we never seem to find out what that reason is? Why are we left in the dark waiting for something good to happen yet the light just doesn’t seem to manifest itself? How long do you need to wait before you discover your fate? And by naming it ‘fate’, have we just given a term to the action of excusing our mistakes to humour our actions?
When talking to my friends about fate, they kept discussing soulmates and wether or not they exist. They asked if I believed in soulmates and I do to, (of course I do – I am a typical Virgo and romanticise everything) but like my friend, I do not believe that there is only one for each of us, and I believe that the person who is your soul mate in your twenties, may not necessarily be the same soul mate in your thirties or forties. Andy Warhol once said, “Everybody winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight.” and I think he’s on to something major.
A guy once told me, “Pam, this is fate – the way we keep bumping into each other like this!” I think he genuinely believed it too, but instead I told him, “No, it’s not fate – it’s merely coincidence. It’s only because we hang out in the same places and live in a small expat community.” Another guy insisted that it was fate that we kept seeing each other in the gym. Again, no – that gym just happened to be the one closest to my house. Post psychic me, just thinks there are so many people in the world that you randomly (& frequently) bump into – why does there need to be a reason behind it aside from coincidence? If everything happens for a reason, then what was the reason behind me meeting some of the frog ‘princes’* on Tinder? Why did I drop out of a fashion course to study graphic design, only for me to start a career in an industry where my degree is about as useful as a chocolate teapot? What kind of lesson was that supposed to be teach me? Was the sole purpose of that so that I could meet my best friend? Surely that was not the sole purpose of seven years education…
I started wondering about things that have happened in my life and questioning if they were predefined by destiny. Was I forever destined to live in Dubai? If you had told me ten years ago, that I’d wind up living in the Middle East, I’d have probably laughed my head off at the absurdity of the very suggestion, and yet here I am. But why am I in Dubai and if there is a pre-defined destiny for me, then what is going to happen here that’s going to lead me to my fate?
All I know is that deep down, I think I do still believe that mostly everything** does happen for a reason, somehow. Too many plans have stalled unexpectedly, without me knowing why, only for the reason to show up months down the line. Like the time I so desperately wanted a particular job (I cried when I didn’t get it), but six months later, I was approached and offered a way better position at a company I much preferred. I know I wouldn’t have taken that better offer, if I had gotten the other role I had applied for a few months before. That job that I took in the end opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me that would have never manifested themselves if I’d been given the original job that I wanted. As for fate and it’s correlation to people and why sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a reason for why we met a certain person – maybe it’s not always that the person we meet who brings something into our life – maybe it’s the other way around. May it is us being sent to them as some kind of lesson in their life.
Either way, I think you can control your ‘fate’ to an extent. You’re never going to progress in anything if you don’t at least attempt to move forward, and so we make decisions to edge ourselves forward to the path we want to be on, and in between making those decisions, chance encounters happen, and THAT is what we recognise as fate. Or is that serendipity?
Jesus Christ, I don’t know. So I’ll just go with the flow, making decisions every day, meeting new people and going to new places as a result of those decisions. And eventually after winging it the whole time, hopefully something good will happen in the end.
Sounds good? Come at me, fate.
*Also known as fuckboys
**Except when bad things happen to good people.