Humanity’s great stories use the recurring motif of destiny as plot’s major driver. The main characters start as young and green to their surroundings. They are struck by divine purpose meant to push them towards realizing their true calling. These protagonists become heroes because they fulfill missions assigned to them.
Harry Potter, The Odyssey, Lord of the Rings. The everlasting myths of our time revolve around destiny and its fulfillment.
Destiny is not something reality can get its fingers around. Destiny is not of reality at all.
They don’t tell you this when you’re growing up. You have to realize that on your own. The process can be slow. The awakening can be cruel.
Most often realization strikes in that period of life right after childhood. Everything preceding this shove into the real world leads you to believe that you have one true calling. This definition may change from year to year but the idea that it’s one thing remains.
For me, I was destined to be an olympic swimmer. Then I was certain I was to become a doctor. Shortly thereafter, I knew my real calling was journalism. And so on it went. Up through high school and into college. I walked some determined path and I was sure of it.
Mizzou regurgitated me into the real world with a piece of paper decrying my assigned destiny. A scientist! Look! Don’t you see it written here on this fancy parchment?
The truth denied me this calling. The truth pointed a finger at me and called me out for the imposter I was. Science was a passion and I enjoyed the rigor of my coursework but I was not equipped for being impactful in the field. Nor was I strong enough for an illustrious swimming career. Nor was I daring enough to pursue stories until I burned all my bridges.
Imagine how lost I felt at this realization. I pined for my perceived destiny to arrive on a silver platter. Reveal to me my passion! I shouted to the heavens. Show me what I’m supposed to be doing!
Silence. Turns out God is not keen on easy answers.
My own behavior made it difficult to flesh out strong leads. My enthusiasm for things tends to lean into short-lived intensity. Much like a firecracker, I bury myself into a potential identity only to ditch it months, weeks, days later. I resented this part of me.
Self-resentment does no one any favors, though.
The answer I was looking for struck me like lightning on a clear day. A culmination of discussions built me up to this tipping point, made me susceptible to an alteration of perspective. I suggest digging deep with everyone around you. The insights they lend are enough to push you in the direction you’re looking to go.
Peers, mentors, parents, friends, loves, foes, all helped clean the path of debris. I see it now.
I am gearing up to leave the comfort of home for a while. A new adventure awaits me in some other city. I don’t know what I will find there but I am going with purpose.
A destiny, manifested.
Though its origins stem from myths and fantasy, some elements of destiny are legitimate. It’s through studying these tales that we can draw inspiration from the concept. We can will what we are looking for into our narrative. That’s the key to adulting. Willing what you want into existence. Divine intervention is not being spoon-fed what you think you are. If you want it, you better make it happen.
You must also deny the notion of fitting a mold of someone else’s creation.
I’m 25 with little professional skill and far less work experience. My noviceness is a thorn in my side. I question myself, my path, my goals and dreams. I question all those things all the time because of this obvious lack of repertoire.
How am I to give to the world if I am so fleeting all the time?
Such questions once haunted me. I had no answers to feed to them and so they stuck around, hungry and persistent. The badgering grew to be too much and forced me through many a crisis. Then came the rebirth of my self-perception, a lifting of burden.
I realized that this suffering was self-induced. My idea that people were so hyper-focused on my successes and failures was an illusion. You are here to bring value in some way. That definition of value is one you are responsible for creating. As long as you are making something, helping someone else, building your legacy, you’re doing it right.
So what if it’s a little outside the lines? The world is an oyster for everyone. This realization was a wake up call. I, ever the people pleaser, shed the notion of people-pleasing and am freer for it.
I’m exploring the world in pursuit of something I haven’t found yet. I am giving to the world something of worth.
I don’t need to apologize for how I am doing it. I only need to be mindful, intentional. This is a life filled with intention.