I have thought about this particular topic all week. It is a word we throw around haphazardly, “She was destined to be a star.” “Destiny seen to it he died a hero.” “They were destined to meet and live happily ever after.” And you might be surprised to know, that as a dreamer, a writer, and someone who has used that word destiny just as carelessly as the next person, that I have a REAL problem with destiny. I don’t know exactly who “Destiny” thinks he or she is—but maybe, just maybe, destiny had nothing to do with it?
Okay—stand by while I uncork a bottle of wine—because I’m going deep.
The word destiny is a noun that is defined as follows:
- The events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
- The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.
So with a glass of this good stuff firmly under my belt here is what I think:
Maybe to say, “She was destined to be a star,” is an inaccurate statement. Maybe, “she” had a strong work ethic and determination, and “she” had the support of a family that could help get her there. Maybe “she” had the passion and the desire to go after her own dream. Maybe “she” could have given up—and maybe “she” could have walked away into an easier life, but just maybe “she” wasn’t about to let that happen to her.
Sip, Sip, Sip.
What about the hero? Maybe destiny had nothing to do with him dying a hero either. Maybe “he” didn’t want to die that day. Maybe “he” was just trying to help out and do the right thing. Maybe “he” made a choice and that choice had consequences. Maybe those consequences were giving his life to help someone else. Just maybe, he didn’t realize what those consequences were—or maybe he did but was just doing what he would do in that situation regardless of what would happen. Either way, he made that conscious choice—so just maybe it wasn’t destiny that sealed his fate—rather his actions, which were later deemed heroic.
Swirl. Sip. Swirl. Sip.
How about that destiny stepping in putting two people together who would live happily ever after? I don’t know. (Let me preface this by saying, I’m speaking specifically of cultures like the USA where you are given a choice. In cultures where you do not have a choice—obviously destiny had nothing to do with it—the people responsible are those who arranged it.). I’m thinking that two people had to encounter each other, make a decision to strike up a conversation, and perhaps a date or two. I’m guessing they wanted to and chose to live their life together and if that ended in happily ever after—more power to them for choosing it. If you randomly run into someone in the mall—you made a choice one day to go to the mall and so did that other person. It is all a result of choices.
Gulp. Gulp. Gulp.
Maybe what bothers me about destiny is the idea that it presupposes we aren’t given a choice in the matter. I don’t like to “let” things happen to me. I like to choose what I will do, where I will go. If something befalls me because of that choice, then it wasn’t the best choice I could have made. I like to think I play a bigger role in my life than some idea of fate. Of course, maybe I don’t have the experience to speak of it because I’m not a star, and I’m not a hero, and although I plan to stay married until the day I die, I am not quite dead yet. And while it might be easier to say, “It was destiny that he and I lived happily ever after,” I would rather credit my husband for putting up with me and equally myself for making the choice to stay committed until the end.
So destiny is a word I will use more carefully and more cautiously. While it is a nice, dreamy idea to toy with for a writer like me—I’m more a proponent of choices leading me to my evitable future, whatever that maybe. All I know is that I don’t believe that destiny will play as much of a role in my future as I ultimately will when the final page is finally turned.
Now my bottle is empty and you all should be proud. I didn’t waste a single drop!!
What about you?
What is your take on destiny?
After I published this, I walked my furry friends and had an A-HA moment. I was trying to think of a song to add to this post—but it didn’t strike me until now. So here you go—this is one of my favorite songs. Oh why settle for destiny when you can go after it your way???