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Life

Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason And That’s Completely Fine

So, I touched on this in the last piece I wrote, but I kind of thought it needed more of an explanation. And like, first things first, I am not trying to discredit all the people who spend hours reading inspirational quotes and relying on mantras like this to get them through failure and all of life’s ups and downs. I actually am one of those people…for the most part.

If you had asked me a few years ago, I probably would have told you ‘of course everything happens for a reason, what’s meant to be will be,’and all the other hundred things I’d screenshotted on Tumblr or Instagram the night before. But as I’ve gotten a little older, and experienced a lot more failure, and there’s probably even more to unearth; I’ve had a bit of a change of heart.

I still believe in most of these cliché life mottos because I think it’s just in my DNA to. 

But I don’t really believe that everything that has happened in your life has happened for a reason. 

I feel like today, it’s almost a bit of a taboo to admit that you don’t believe this really inspirational beautiful hope- filled promise in a pretty package we’ve latched onto. So, I’ll explain.

I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, because the idea itself is a little impractical. It’s almost like when people say this, they suppose life has been plotted out on a map, past and future, and all these conveniently placed obstacles and hurdles pop up at in the right time so you can reach the end goal. And I think it’s completely fine to believe this, it’s freedom of choice right? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice way to think. I just found that for a long time, believing this did me way more harm than good.

It’s a really tiring way to look at things that have gone wrong in your life. To just throw your hands up and go ‘well it happened for a reason,’ even if you have absolutely no clue what that reason is. There’s been a lot of occasions where I’ve wasted more time than you’d think possible, trying endlessly to overthink something that has happened. Scratching and scratching at the memory to take something from it. And it’s exhausting.

 I do understand why some people find it gives them power to accept failures as something that was meant to happen, but for me I think it encouraged me to take a step back and just let things wash over, rather than really pushing life in the direction I wanted it to go in. You can accept things that have gone wrong, and learn from them, without believing it was fate or destiny for things to happen that way.

So, I don’t really like to think that I had this experience or knew that person because I needed to learn this specific thing to become who I am today. It seems a lot like relying on everything exterior for your own personal growth, instead of trusting that you can make that inner growth happen yourself. I think that’s really my issue with it. Everything happens for a reason paints you as a passive force in your own life. Things are happening to you rather than you making things happen. But really, you aren’t walking a path that someone has pre laid, you are carving your own, and I think that’s just as inspiring, just as hope-filled and just as beautiful.

And I guess I haven’t completely abandoned the idea. It’s not that I don’t think all the things that have led up to your life now didn’t have a purpose. They did, because without them, you wouldn’t be in the position you are. If you believe in parallel universes, you can imagine hundreds of different ‘you’s’ all living out little parallel lives based on various decisions you’ve made along the way. But I don’t think those things that happened were always going to or meant to happen.

It just so happens that in this universe, for whatever circumstance, they did.

And that’s how I try and look at it. When I’ve screwed up or let the wrong person into my life or made a decision that literally anyone could have told me was the wrong one. I think- that has now happened. I can’t change it, go back in time, and go in a different direction. This is what I’ve got to deal with, and the real question is how am I going to? And you can  choose to take something from it because maybe it really has taught you something really integral about yourself or your life. That’s amazing. Or, maybe it hasn’t and it was just an annoying inconvenience that was unfortunate but that you can’t do anything about. 

Both of those are fine. It is absolutely fine for something significant in your past or present to have a strong impact on who you are. For it to have a purpose. And it’s fine for something else not to. Either way, failure or something along those lines tend to make you a stronger, more robust person in some shape or form. Because it challenges you to be something other than what you were before that thing happened. And if you really do need something to have a purpose, can’t that be enough?

Anna Young

Stony Brook '20

Hi! I’m an Exchange Student from England, here at Stony Brook for a year abroad! I’m a junior, and my major is Drama and English.
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