destiny n: an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future
Today’s topic is destiny, if you haven’t sorted that out yet by the above definition of the word. Does anyone know their true destiny? Sure, we can make plans, set goals and even dream, but can one truly know what lies ahead for the rest of their existence? My answer: not entirely. Let’s think about this. Say that everything you set your mind to comes to be. And beyond that, say that those dreams you had become reality. Is that your destiny? No, that’s merely making things happen. To me, destiny includes all of the little things that one would never think to put in a planner or wish for on a shooting star. Destiny isn’t something that you can predict. It’s merely a word that people use to excuse events in their lives. Is this bad? Of course not. I think we all would like to pretend that we made things happen to every detail in hopes that the rest of the world won’t figure us out for the things that went on unplanned.
I know what you’re thinking now. Where is she going with this? To be honest, I never know until I get there. I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert at Barnes & Noble this evening, and I realized that she met her husband at the age of 23, which is coincidentally my age at present and will be for nearly a year. Elizabeth dated her husband for two years before marrying him. Their marriage lasted six years. I won’t go into details in case you are looking to read the book one day, and because I’m only on page 14, but I want to address one thing about this revelation. If I were to go down a path in my 20’s similar to that of this rather brilliant woman, that means that I will meet my first husband this year. Shall we continue? (Don’t answer that. This isn’t a book where if you think it’s a good idea you can turn to page 27 and if you think it’s a bad idea you can turn to page 109.)
Congratulations. You made it to page 27. See what I did there? Anyways, my husband. This is a part of destiny that I was previously referring to. People don’t plan the details of their marriage before they meet their spouse. Sure, girls play with Barbie’s and have that beautiful wedding when they’re younger – at least my sister did; I never liked it much. But at the end of the day there are few people in this world who know these details before meeting “the one” (or two or three). This is a part of destiny, but to plan it I think would be an ultimate shame.
I shall now return to my fantasy that isn’t a fantasy at all. In reality, I am a person who is very comfortable being alone. I have always been alone in the “relationship status” sense. I’ve never pictured the perfect wedding. I’ve never wondered about bridesmaid dresses or a honeymoon spot – unless playing MASH, of course. I’ve never felt like I would be doomed if I didn’t fall in love. But am I against love? No, I am not. I am merely against the idea that everyone will fall in love and have that love returned to them. There are people in this world who have always been “alone” and thrive off of it. I would be okay thriving alone. Would I enjoy sharing my life with someone who can put up with my random acts of, well, random, and love me for who I am? Sure, why not? But I will never look for such a thing.
What I am ultimately getting at is how ridiculous it would be for myself or anyone to plan their life based on something they read in a book or saw in a movie. I am not Elizabeth Gilbert, that much is clear. For one, I have not published anything…yet. For two, I am still in college. For three, I did not write this:
“Why did I feel so overwhelmed with duty, tired of being the primary breadwinner and the housekeeper and the social coordinator and the dog-walker and the wife and the soon-to-be-mother, and – somewhere in my stolen moments – a writer…?”
Do you see what she did there? Elizabeth’s sole dream was to write, and look at her. She was writing in her stolen moments, and she didn’t even have children. I don’t think that would have been her destiny had she been able to choose every moment of it. And like Elizabeth, that is my dream – to write. I wouldn’t mind dog walking for the exercise or keeping my place clean, and let’s be realistic in saying that work exists. But what would a family do to someone like me who craves the adventures she had and still has? I don’t know if I could handle it all. I don’t know if I’d want to handle it all. It’s a lot to live up to, and at that point in life she was just getting started.
Elizabeth said, “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” I think that can be true for just about any major decision in life. Marriage, children, moving, buying a house, whatever it may be, you should always be certain before you commit. But is there a difference between certain at the time and certain forever? I think so. People change with age and experience, and I think for Elizabeth she was once certain of her marriage and future, but just managed to grow away into another certainty. I wouldn’t say this makes her a bad person or foolish by any means; it just makes her human. It makes everyone human.
So where does that leave me and my first husband? For one, I’m not going to make a point to find him this year. Again, I don’t know if I ever want a first husband. I won’t plan for it. I won’t look for it. That is where people get foolish. Expecting love to show up typically leads to disappointment. The events that make up destiny come when they come, and I think it’s absurd to wait or expect any of them. I think it’s best to live life the way you think is best for you and not worry about what destiny may have in store. I could start dating this year, marry at 25, and divorce at 31, but I don’t want to plan that. I want surprises. I want bliss. I want disappointment. I want euphoria. I want pain. I want to live.
Thank you for reading. As a reward, check out this sweet bowl of oatmeal I ate today.