I’m a big believer in fate.
Those who know I come from a religious background might question this, but fate can take many forms. Does it matter if God, gods, or bundles of sticks are controlling things? Not really. I have my own beliefs in the behind-the-scenes of it all, but the essential and important part is that I believe in fate.
Not the kind of fate that means I have no free will or that my life is predetermined by my saved or reprobate soul (sorry Calvin) or the kind of fate that one can ruin by making the wrong choices throughout life (sorry ancient gods of yore). I just believe that life presents us with situations and events that we need. They could be as simple as getting stuck in a rain shower with no umbrella to remind us that we should be more organized or as complex as a relationship meant to change our lives and alter our perceptions of the world.
I believe that fate will take me where I need to be in life. This place may not be where I envisioned it to be, and the path may not be the one I planned out for myself. Yet, I know and truly believe that it will be what is right for me and right in my life.
It seems easy, right? Just believe in fate and all will be great. Well, no. Like I said, I don’t believe that fate will simply hand me everything I want. If I want my life to go a certain way, I need to work for it. If I do, fate will make sure that I get where I’m supposed to be.
Perhaps an example will help clarify some points:
When I was applying to colleges for my undergrad studies, I had my heart set on moving out of state. I knew that CUA was the place I needed to be. I could feel it, and I wanted it so badly. I made sure that I got myself into a position come high school graduation to make this dream a reality. As much as I knew CUA was the place I needed to be, I knew that UCF was the place I did not want to be, the place that would be a terrible life decision. I’m sure that many of you are laughing right now. See, I lost hours and hours of sleep trying to figure out why I couldn’t commit to CUA. Everything had worked out like I’d planned, but something was stopping me from sending in my deposit check. Then, I woke up one morning knowing that I needed to attend UCF, knowing without a doubt that I needed to be there. I sent in the deposit check that afternoon.
I joke around sometimes, saying that I was divinely inspired to choose UCF for my post-secondary education. It makes for a more exciting tale that way, but the truth is I have no idea why I suddenly changed my mind. Fate.
I suppose there’s no saying that I wouldn’t have found a best friend in Washington, DC or that I wouldn’t have succeeded in my classes. I’m sure I would have. I may even had to chance to study abroad and to fall in love with Medieval literature, maybe. I’m not sure what about my life at UCF was so fated for me to experience, but I know that I don’t regret it and that, for whatever reason, I was meant to be there. I am who I am today because of it.
This belief in fate was difficult to hold on to when applying to graduate schools. I watched dream school after dream school turn me down, say I wasn’t good enough, thanks but no thanks. I thought I’d run out of options, that my dreams would have to wait. Then, I realized that I had all the power in the world to make things happen the way I wanted them to and ended up at a school more perfect than I believed was possible.
I don’t know exactly why I’m here. Maybe to prove to myself that I can leave everything behind and start all over on my own, far from home. Maybe to meet someone who will change my life. Maybe simply to adopt the cutest little black kitten so that he will have someone to love him for the rest of his life. Maybe, like my time at UCF, I’ll never know.
It’s been difficult remaining firm in my faith in fate as I begin to prepare for another round of PhD applications. I’d wanted to be done with this whole process, but I’ve been trying, truly trying, to approach it from a better place this time. Maybe it won’t work out the way I want it to, but it will work out the way I need it to.