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Years ago, I was living in an area that was rocked by something of an unexpected tragedy. Every afternoon a three year old boy would greet his father at the front door of their suburban home. On this one fateful day, the father was running much later than usual, for reasons I never learned. The boy likely fed up with waiting, managed to open the front door and ventured out, eventually wandering the road. He was soon after struck and killed by a passing truck. This tragic incident, changed the course of fate for many that day. Firstly, a three year old life was ended, before it had ever truly begun. A once loving relationship of a young family, turned to misery and resentment, the property was sold and the couple separated. Finally, the truck driver, already struggling to cope with depression, now racked with guilt, ended up taking his own life. Solemn ripples of mortality echoed through a wounded community.

I didn’t directly know any of the people involved, but I, like most that knew of the incident, would drive past where it happened, slow down and look at the little roadside memorial with a heavy heart. Years later, not only am I now extremely overprotective of children near roadways, the incident has also forever put a damper on Stephen King’s Pet Sematary for me. Even this very moment, you reading this text, me writing it, is a direct implication of that one fateful event. The trajectory of fate was realigned that day, and now, for better or for worse, here we are.

From womb to tomb, we are immersed in choices (not always our own), so much so that in many ways, in the end as all we really are is a culmination of consequences, a summation of innumerable choices. Sometimes the choices are obvious, like choosing a direction to take our lives. But more often than not, the myriad of choices we make day by day are small and seemingly inconsequential. Most of us fail to realize just how much our lives can change in the blink of an eye, all due to a single, seemingly inconsequential choice.

Even the slightest change in perspective can have resoundingly cataclysmic effects on our respective worlds.

That view became adamantly clear to me when I was once lost wandering the halls of a hospital and struck up a conversation with an old bloke facing his final battle with cancer. He told me the day he learned he had a form of terminal cancer, he sold everything he had, bought a yacht and went to sea. He said he thought he would somehow die before he crossed the horizon. Only he didn’t, he just kept sailing. He completely let go, throwing caution to the wind and saw a great deal of the world. He said it wasn’t until he was dying with cancer that he met the love of his life. It wasn’t until he lived without fear in the face of death that he truly learned to live at all. He chose to share that point of view with me, which immediately made him one of the most influential people I’d ever met, even though the conversation was momentarily brief and I never even thought to ask him his name.

Many of us are slaves to the notion that our mundane destiny is fixed and unyielding. But the truth is we know how easy it is to get what we want, yet we wear the dreariness of familiarity and repetition as armor. The squeaking wheel gets the grease, but you have to be willing to squeak. You have to expose yourself to chance and scrutiny alike, which is far easier said than done for most. You have to “risk it for the biscuit”, as my Grandmother would often say.

The problem is, for many of us, apart from the fear of failure, we don’t really know what we want of fate. You might be lonely and want “the ideal partner”, but you don’t really know what that is, not until you meet them. You might want to be ridiculously wealthy, because you assume your life will become less complicated. The first thing people who come into a great deal of money learn, is money comes with its own complications. It can reveal a nature in people that ends up destroying the very family you wanted to lavish with gifts in the first place. If you can figure out what it is you truly want, be honest with what you’re willing to do, then you can work on shaping the trajectory of fate to get to that reality.

Fate works in mysterious ways, an ocean of choices break and swell around you, maybe you’re precisely where you’re supposed to be, or maybe you’re needed elsewhere. But if I was able to give you anything, the greatest gift I could ever give you is the realization that you are going to die. This isn’t to burden you with fear, but to liberate you from complacency. If you needed a sign, this is it. Don’t wait for a far off tomorrow to start living, because lives all too often end before that day ever comes. Something tragic happened all those years ago to a three year old little boy, which led you and I here, to this singular road. The waters never stopped rippling from that incident, not for me, maybe they never will. I chose to play my part in this, I wanted to change the trajectory of fate, even if it’s just for one single person. But now it’s up to you.

2 thoughts on “ᴛʜᴇ TRAJECTORY ᴏғ FATE

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