Our own devices
Caroline Humphreys | Tuesday, October 24, 2017
I am not so sure I am more capable now than I was at 18, or just better at hiding my confusion. At 18, I was nervous about picking a major and couldn’t care for a beta fish. And today, finding a career path is terrifying and I am afraid of commitment — to fish, boys, Target memberships, etc. The stress I felt years ago when starting college is alive and well, but I’ve learned the most important lesson in the last three years: we aren’t left to our own devices.
Often I feel lost and without direction. Or as if I’m screwing absolutely everything up and making life-altering mistakes. Thankfully, this is never the case because although life is our own, the part we are responsible for is merely responding to what we can’t control. In other words, our fate is a combination of what happens to us and our reactions to these circumstances.
My sister once sent me a letter when I felt life had cheated me of a relationship torn apart by distance and timing. She wrote about fate, and how it is “a name we give to the things we can’t control.” It’s the unexpected circumstances life leads us to because of the choices we’ve made in the past to the situations we have faced. She said that fate is “something you create for yourself. You’ve brought yourself to this page in your life, to this day, and this moment, and you’ll undoubtedly write yourself into more days and more moments for however long you’re here.” This is because life will keep going and circumstances will keep changing — the only two constants in life. But I take comfort knowing that God or the universe or whatever divine force subscribed to is conspiring in my favor. That life will take care of itself, despite the decisions we make. And our choices will affect us in good and bad ways, and definitely stress us out, but when we arrive to where life is taking us none of that will matter.
Starting senior year I reminded myself of this often. It’s so easy to give into the fears that feed on my insecurities. But somehow knowing I’m not completely in control or totally at fault for what happens is a huge comfort. Life will happen, things will change and we will move onto more difficult and brighter days than we could have dreamed.
My sister also told me that when it comes to fate, we need to trust that life takes us where we need to be. Because it will do just that, regardless of our fears and confusion of what is to come. We don’t need to know all the details, just to trust ourselves and the universe, knowing that life will always work itself out.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.