Sunday, 16 November 2008
Opportunities: chance, choices, fate or just hard work?
The path which a person follows in life is full of twists, turns, dead ends, forks and crossroads. Out of 100 people who have the same starting point, every single one of them will follow a different path. Sometimes the thought that one small choice or opportunity, which at the time seems entirely inconsequential, can affect or even define the entire path of my life, is a little unsettling.
There are people who put all events in their lives down to fate, or a higher spiritual being. It seems to explain everything away nicely and easily: everything that happens to me, good or bad, has a higher purpose and all fits into some greater plan. But even then, things can get complicated. What happens when you try to defy fate, as in tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet, and the consequences are disasterous or perplexing? Many prefer to think that they can control their own destiny, that where you end up in life is entirely down to careful planning and hard work. Maybe there's no such thing as that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no such thing as that thunderbolt signalling the arrival of your one true love.
Even so, it's always hard deciding whether to take an opportunity or not. There's something you want, but there's also that shadow of uncertainty and fear of rejection. Or if you have to make a simple choice, such as which college to apply for at a certain university; this could decide so many important relationships and friendships.
Today I feel like I am walking along my path, and there are hundreds of bridges and shortcuts and alleys and forks, all hidden from my sight, mostly by thick layers of foliage. Occasionally, I notice one of these other paths, simply by chance because happened to be looking in that direction at that particular moment, and take them, and something exciting happens. Other times I see a glimpse of something. But it's obstructed by something which it's too difficult to pass. Or I'm too pre-occupied by a big fork in the road and I can't decide to go left or right, so I ignore the third path. Or it's too dark and far away to see properly, and I don't want to get lost. So I move on.
But do you ever stop wondering what would have happened if you'd taken a chance and something magnificent had happened?