fate“I wish that I believed in fate. I wish I didn’t sleep so late.” ~The National, “Mr. November”

I do not believe in fate.

I wish I did, because that would make my life a hell of a lot easier, but I don’t.

It perplexes me when I interact with people who are able to almost effortlessly shrug off things that happened or did not happen, citing the belief that “everything happens for a reason” and/or “it just wasn’t meant to be.” When the good happens to them, it’s fate. When the bad happens, same deal.

It’s literally unfathomable to me that there is some mapped out plan for my life, and some omnipresent entity that ensures I do certain things at certain points in my personal timeline, or that ensures I am occasionally in the “right place at the right time.” It baffles me that people are sincerely able to believe that something out there in the multiverse cares about them enough to completely manage the project that is their life. To believe in this sort of thing takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders. Which I guess is maybe why fate exists in the first place. If nobody believed in fate, we’d all drive ourselves f**king crazy. To me, the unexplainable is often pure, unbridled luck—whether it’s good or bad.

Here are some examples I view differently than some who believe in fate:

Failed job interview: Every time I don’t get a job that I submit to or interview for, I cannot shrug it off. Because to me, it’s always that I didn’t do enough or that I’m not good enough, or that I’m at least not as good as the other people who threw their hat in the ring. I’m always told that I wasn’t meant to have the job I’d been rejected from, and then I just stare blankly at the person who says it to me. Then I go back to thinking about the person who was doing the hiring, and how I might have handled them more successfully.

Missed connection: People who believe in fate are the people who think you’ll never find it if you’re looking for it, that someday you’ll just be going through a grocery store checkout line and lock eyes with the cashier with whom you’re destined to spend the rest of your life with. (This is my parents’ story.) I don’t believe that. I believe that you have infinite opportunities to meet someone who you can tolerate spending the rest of your life with. So every time I see an attractive stranger during my train commute or whenever, and I fail to speak to her, I kick myself because I feel like it’s my responsibility to be proactive in an effort to not live out the rest of my days SO ALONE.

Staying in: I adore staying in more than most people. I dig having a few drinks and reading or watching TV. But there is always something nagging at me that I’m wasting time and missing out on opportunities that I’ll never have again if I don’t go out and meet my friends THAT VERY MINUTE. Then, when I do go out, I always have second, third and fourth thoughts about going home when I do. If I push myself another hour or so, something could happen that could change my life forever. (Though probably not if it’s after 2 a.m. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m., usually. At least not out in public.)

A girl ghosting on me: Many of my friends shrug and say “Eh, it wasn’t meant to be.” I, however, cannot keep myself from dwelling on the happy memories we had, and wondering why she decided to phase herself out of my life. I lose sleep over it, and spend energy on it. Energy I could use gearing up for my next day’s aggressive bouts of Tinder swiping.