Friday, July 14, 2017


If you had asked me a year ago, or ten years ago, or twenty if I believed in predetermination, I would tell you no. I vividly remember learning about Calvinism in history class and wondering who would ever adhere to such a philosophy.

But this year I have come to realize I used to unconsciously believe in destiny. I only know now because I no longer do. I have felt blessed for much of my adult life. Things seemed to work out for me. I came against life-changing forks in the road every other year, and it seemed that not only did I feel peace after I made a choice, I was almost comically reassured by the universe later. I turned down tempting jobs and the company folded. I backed out of a delicious program and heard from peers they dropped because it was horrible. I went on tricky adventures and soared. If something did feel off, inevitably, some new thing would bloom and I would say, "Good thing I was here at this moment." A less romantic version of that Rascal Flatts song. I didn't realize it, but when I was making decisions, I was imagining there were already two completely written lives for me, and I just had to pick one. Of course, there were ways I could have wandered off the paths if I did something truly out of character (committed a crime, bailed), but those things were so unlikely that my fate was essentially sealed.

I didn't mind hard or poor times because I had a Golden Thing in my future. I couldn't say what it was, but since I had taken all the "right" steps so far at any given time, each challenge was meant to be. Two years ago a comedy teacher of mine said, "You have to keep working if you're going to become the artist you're meant to be--well, no one is meant to be anything--but if you're going to become the artist you can be." I was jarred. Of course he was right, but that wasn't what my secret mind thought.

Things feel random now. I see how I arbitrarily make a meeting and get an opportunity or don't. How I have a million dollar idea but can't write it. How selfish people get ahead, how true people don't. I've felt murdered by doors opening while I'm in the middle of other commitments I have made. I don't remember that ever happening before. I always understood what FOMO was but never dealt with it. I feel like a ladybug on a fall leaf. I was stuck to a branch, but now winter is coming, and I'm floating haphazardly down.

My friend expressed this same confusion the other night. It was strange to hear someone else in the exact same mental boat. She guessed it was the election. I think I agree. I know there were horrible things in the world, but it seemed like good was winning and everything was happening in some grand calculated way. November 8th felt insane and purposeless. The fight since has felt like chucking powdered sugar at a tank.

I wish I could go back to my old train of thought. Even if I was wrong.

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