Fate: Everything Happens for a Reason
If I turn left instead of right, will my life be any different than if I had turned right to begin with?
In a word: Yes.
I fully prescribe to the whole, “everything happens for a reason” way of thinking. Fate has a funny way of rerouting us when we’re not even paying attention. When something in my life seems terribly difficult, or sad, or just confusing, I find myself saying “everything happens for a reason. Everything will work out the way it’s meant to.” I have to. It’s the only way I’ll get through the day sometimes.
For a long time, I found myself questioning everything:
Did I choose the right college?
Did I choose the right grad school?
Did I choose the right career path?
Why didn’t I come out sooner?
Why did I live in fear for so long?
Will this all make sense in the end?
Will anybody love me?
Will I end up alone?
And one day, my outlook completely changed.
It was a beautiful May day, and I had spent it at Six Flags with a boy I had known for only a few weeks. I had to convince him to blow school off for the day, but the promise of roller coasters and the idea of childhood fun in a place where nobody knew us proved too much to resist. I had never spent this much consecutive time with a boy before, and the day flashed by faster than Kingda Ka. Even though I had only known him for a few weeks, I was falling head over heels in love with this boy.
But I wouldn’t be the first one to say those words. I had never said them before. Not to anyone that wasn’t a family member. I was still wasn’t sure that this was really happening; was he a figment of my imagination? Did I dream him up?
Before I met him, I would have these elaborate fantasies, a 21st Century knight-in-shining-armor sort of dream, where I’d be rescued from the doldrums of my humdrum life and we’d have the most intense sex and, on the outside, I would be all “Yeah, it’s cool,” but on the inside, I’d be so deep in love, caught under his spell, our spell, because our love would be magic.
And I dreamed.
Until one day I decided to join a dating website. I never wanted to join one of those sites, but something called out to me. So I did it. I had outlined very specific criteria — mostly because I’m extremely picky and I knew what I was looking for. Or at least, I thought I did.
One of the main criteria that I had was that I didn’t want to date anyone under the age of 23. I was quite specific of that. So I went about connecting with other guys, and the site would aggregate “matches” based on a mutual rating system — quite romantic, eh? Then I got a notification from a small-dark-and-sexy stranger.
He was 18.
I wasn’t looking for him, but when I found him, I knew.
It was fate. The technical glitches with OkCupid were meant for us find each other. Joining OkCupid was meant to happen. Meeting him was my path. Had I never joined, had I never been so specific with my dating-and-age criteria, we might never have found each other.
And he is my everything. He amplifies my life in ways that are completely unimaginable, ways that even my wildest fantasies couldn’t dream up.
I often think about what my life might be like had I made different life choices. Would I have met Steve? Would I have fallen so deeply in love with this amazing man? Would my life be what it is today?
I can say definitively that no, my life wouldn’t be the same.
Had I come out in high school like I wanted to, I probably would have become quite the promiscuous little gay. Judging from my “straight” college days and my propensity for making out with every female with a pulse — and the occasional drunk guy in a guy-girl-guy “dared” three way kiss — I probably would have too many notches in my belt. I might not have needed to use a dating website because I would have had more confidence in myself as a man, as a lover, as a potential boyfriend. Maybe I would have. But I doubt that I would’ve done so at the exact moment I did, which would have caused the chain of events that lead me to where I am today to never happen.
I have a laundry list of semi-“regrets” between my high school and college (and beyond) years…
…but if I gave those regrets any weight, I wouldn’t be able to see that everything I’ve accomplished, all of the journey’s I have taken — and there have been many… #trust — never would have happened and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.
Every step, every decision, every action is a seed planted for a new future.
Take, for instance, a recent rejection I received for the contemporary YA manuscript I’ve been querying. I was 95% certain that this woman would be my agent. She requested to read my full manuscript with gusto! We had an extensive thread of email correspondences back and forth where we discussed my main character’s name and how his name was the same as her sons. We talked about her son, who sounded a lot like me at a young age; I suggested that he would be a great character for a middle grade novel, and she told me to write it. We had such a wonderful chain that I was overly confident.
Then I got the email I had been waiting for with baited breath:
“Thank you, but…”
- My main character was unlikable,
- My story lacked a hook (and was overall lackluster)
- The humor was forced.
Of course she prefaced all of this by saying “her readers said:”
…which basically means she didn’t even read it.
But this taught me one thing: I cannot rest on my laurels. I can’t rely on false hope. I have to rely on my strengths, which is something I’ve done since I started to write; I have to have faith, trust, and pixie dust-related thoughts in my writing, because I know for a fact that my character IS likable. My story might be a quiet coming out/coming of age love story, but it doesn’t lack a hook, NOR is it lackluster. As for the humor, I guess I’ll go back and reassess, but my voice is strong, I know that, and the humor in the book is my humor IRL.
So basically, this woman is NOT my agent.
This whole thing has taught me that fate had something, someone different in mind to represent my work.
This was all a part of my journey.
The end result? Who knows.
I can only learn and grow from this, just as I’ve learned and grown from everything else. I will become a stronger writer, fighter, storyteller, just as I’ve become a better teacher, lover, friend.
And yes, it’s easy to get bogged down by the back-and-forth, the violent ebbs and flows of writing and submitting said writing to someone who has the power to reject you for any (nonsensical) reason they deem appropriate.
But it’s all a part of the journey.
Fate has more in store for me.
I will pick myself up and try again. I will let this be just another step designed by fate.
I may not go willingly. (Yet.) But I am willing to see where my journey ends.
Fate is fate.
It isn’t hard.
It isn’t work.
It’s meant to be.
Follow the signs. Follow your heart. Follow your gut. Follow your instincts.
And if something isn’t working, it’s just an obstacle on your journey to overcome. Everything happens for a reason. Every decision leads you where you’re supposed to be. I’ve learned to be open to the possibility of possibility.
There is nothing else.