What are those moments that you can look back to and say they truly changed your life? How long was it before you realized that the moment had passed?
My mom and I recently had a very interesting conversation along these lines. Personally, I’m more of a believer in free will than in a predestined fate. That said, it really seems like sometimes The Big Dude Upstairs keeps putting the same cup in front of us until we finally give in an decide to drink from it instead of setting it aside.
When I review my life I can almost see a perfect decision tree of major life choices and events that have led to today. In looking back like that I can also start to connect the dots in other directions and start to see other possible realities. The further back I look the more different my life may have played out.
But would it really have been that different? Would it be as different as a 90 degree turn or would it be more similar to today than I would think?
This is where I have fun thinking about the possibilities and seeing the differences between the concepts of free will and fate. In free will I’d assume that each decision I make is totally of my own volition and there’s no preset destination. A believer of fate would say that it was meant to be and therefore it is. Both have their benefits and their drawbacks. Free will implies freedom, fate could be seen as a prison. Fate is a warming thought that everything will work out well, free will represents chaos.
The reason I’m thankful for connecting the dots backwards is due to the thought exercise itself more so than any possible answer. In thinking about all the little twists and turns, the bumps and the bruises, the good, the bad, and the ugly that have gotten me to here today I can’t help but smile. With the benefit of time and looking back I can see how many of the worst hurts helped to build to today. Many of the joyful moments have come and gone, faded and re-fired. Regardless – each has led me to today.
I am who I am today because of the life I’ve lived and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s far from perfect and far from imperfect, it is my life. I am me thanks to each of those moments. When I spend time thinking about how I got to here by connecting the dots backwards I am reminded to be thankful for each moment that has made me who I am.