September 10, 2008

Born To...Run?

I have a fairly strange and convoluted belief system. It's based primarily on logic - what I can process with my senses, directly observe - but its uncharacteristically laced with the intangibles, things associated with words like hope, faith and karma. I don't believe in god but, despite a continuous stream of evidence to the contrary in a sometimes-cruel world, I think if you do good you'll get good in return. Like if you smother kittens, you'll come back to the earth as a troll or if you're a racist asshat your soul will be doomed to return to the earth as one of Britney Spears' thongs.

One concept I'm not sure I buy is destiny. I don't think that on some spiritual plane my fate as an IT consultant was defined. The gods (or whatever) didn't decide I was meant to drive a Volkswagen, play a Fender Strat, listen to Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam, or fail algebra once in high school. If there is a higher power, I'd like to think it has better things to do than worry about me and my math skills (or lack thereof). But the one fate-related thought I can't shake is that maybe we were all meant - as determined by our natural and learned skills and talents - to do something specific with our lives.

I was reading Cinderella to my daughter the other night for about the 800th time. I was reading enthusiastically, making up voices for Cinderella, her little mouse friends and the evil stepmother, and all of the sudden I thought, wow, maybe, despite my hatred of being the center of attention, my loathing of memorization and my fear of rejection, I should have been an actor or something. This gave birth to a larger thought. If fate or destiny existed then maybe we were all meant to be something specific, to do something particular with our lives. This flurry of existential thought was broken when Mia stared at me and said daddy, keep reading!. Apparently thinking existentially doesn't allow me to multitask.

We've talked here about dream jobs but this is different. This is more of a what were you put here to do thing. So I ask you to assume with me that fate exists and there's something you were put on this earth - by god, alien rulers, Tom Cruise, your parents, whatever - to do. What's that destiny? And if it's not what you're currently doing, would you want it revealed to you or would it drive you insane to know you're not doing it?

P.S., what I do know is that I was made to wear these shirts. Check out my awesome Threadless purchases.

Posted by Chris at September 10, 2008 6:21 AM

I apologize, but it's a wee bit too early for me to tackle those big questions you asked... However, I must say that I love that 'ku shirt! Refrigerator!

Posted by: ironic1 at September 10, 2008 7:13 AM

um....i dunno... it seems since i was 17 i always wanted to be a massage therapist... and i have no idea where that thought came from except there was a swedish spa down the street...and... maybe i liked that my grandma was an er nurses aide? who knows where we get these ideas? my mom on the other hand was a waitress turned key punch operator turned guess what? a nurses aide! and i followed in mom's footsteps technologically, taking programming etc... am now an administrative software support person (mom said i could be anything i set out to be)...waited until i was 39 and could arrange it in my life... and went to massage school.... ended up teaching it 9 years...have delivered 3 babies using massage and no drugs... and when i leave my "logical" profession... hope to teach again...or even attend accupuncture school or become a midwife... it just feels you say... i feel i was destined for that particular profession... when i work 10 hours in my "regular" job... if i see clients afterwards.. its like my own little vacation... there is nothing but me/the client/bliss... and a little extra money... been doing massage for 17 years now...and figure my ability to use my intuitive hands will never fail me....sorta like when is a job not a job? when you were "meant" to do it?

Posted by: the unicorn at September 10, 2008 7:19 AM

I totally saw that t-shirt a few weeks ago at threadless (the haiku one) and thought of you. I find it amazing you have it now.

As for destiny, I also don't really believe it exists... so it's hard for me to ponder this one. I think I'm "meant" to be doing what I'm currently doing... since I'm doing it. There were other things I wanted to do, but since they didn't make it this far (which is good, because when I was Mia's age I was convinced I was going to be a waitress forever and ever) they must not be right, or destined, or whatever.

So yeah. That's a lot to say to not answer your question.


Posted by: Caleal at September 10, 2008 7:30 AM

Hey, my dad is a Fender man, too! :) For more than 50 years. His band for the Doors once, waaaay back, in Connecticut, right after Light My Fire came out.

I came into this life to learn how to say NO to everyone so I can go take a nap.

Posted by: jessica at September 10, 2008 7:55 AM

I'm not really into the whole destiny thing either but my line of work (information/research/librarian) seems to suit me.

Love the tshirts, my other half is a big Threadless fan too.

Posted by: Katherine at September 10, 2008 7:57 AM

First, must not browse tee-shirts. The first step is admitting you have a problem . . .

I think knowing what you are supposed to do, eliminates part of your purpose. Like that whole completely annoying part of all homework in junior high, you can't just write the answer, you have to show your work. Tedious, but important. And I believe that every little thing you do matters. So every moment of your life is what you were put here to do. And yes, sometimes, sitting on the couch eating hohos and watching Jaws for the eleventieth is acceptable. Pork rinds and porn however, maybe crossing the line, I dunno. I just mean that I don't believe fame or giagantic triumphs or wealth are measures. I think the universe measures our contribution by our actual contribution. In the same way that American runs not on what Tom Cruise does, but on what one million Joe Blows do. The universe runs not just on the works of a Mother Teresa, but regular moms and dads just like us. Oi, I need coffee now . . .

Posted by: OS at September 10, 2008 8:02 AM

Not to burst your bubble on "Maybe I was meant to be an actor" - maybe really, you were "meant" to be a dad, and to engage your kids in fun play and be silly! But who knows? Are you like that with everyone else?

As for me, I don't know what I was meant to do. On a completely odd note, I had my astrological chart done in high school and the woman said a lot of things about me, one of which was that I was a "peaceful island where people come to heal" - and while that honestly sounded like a bit of hooey then (well... and now), I do find that I'm a good go-to person when my friends are hurting... so maybe that's it? I can't do math in my head, I'm never going to train monkeys to do anything cool - but I think I have pretty decent interpersonal skills and I'm good at communicating with people.

Or not.

Posted by: Sarah at September 10, 2008 8:12 AM

I majored in theater my freshman year and then decided that I wasn't meant to do it because auditioning for stuff (read: competition) just wasn't my thing. Now I think that I might be good at it, if I had kept up with it. But I'm also happy doing what I'm doing, so it's all good. If I found out that I was destined to do something and it wasn't what I was currently doing, I wouldn't worry about it because if it's my DESTINY, then it'll happen eventually!

I LOVE the t-shirts. The interpretive dance one is something I should own, too, and the haiku one is HILARIOUS! Perfect for you, obviously.

Posted by: Liberal Banana at September 10, 2008 8:13 AM

Thanks for the link to the new t-shirt site... I think my brother in law will be the recipient of one of these soon...
P.S. LOVE the dance moves on Beth's site!!

Posted by: Stephanie at September 10, 2008 8:23 AM

I know I should be doing something else and that I'm not doing it. Will I do it? Perhaps, but I will still continue doing what I'm doing because I like to eat. I don't really know if I believe in destiny.

I must browse the t-shirts for my husband.

Posted by: Maria at September 10, 2008 8:30 AM

I was meant to be an entertainer.

I wore my haiku shirt Monday! I love that one.

Posted by: Gwen at September 10, 2008 8:59 AM

I coulda been a contender
I coulda been a somebody
Instead of a bum, which is what I am...



Posted by: varinia at September 10, 2008 8:59 AM

I think I was put here to help people and make them feel better about a situation or themselves. I think through my profession (secretary/customer service) I've done that and I've been able to do that in alot of different areas - some great (tv station) some not so great (stockbrokerage).
I left the corporate world and helped children in a school library, left there for a while and now I'm back helping them in the lunch room (lunch ladies deserve ALOT more money than they get!).
I wanted to go back to school to become a nurse but I'm not really smart enough to get through it all and I can't stand the sight of blood. Poop, vomit I can handle, blood just freaks me out. So although I wish I could help MORE than I do, I think I'm doing what I'm destined to do.

Posted by: NancyJak at September 10, 2008 9:26 AM

Ok, I always thought it was my destiny to be a Psychiatrist ...until I realized that it might not be the job for me and the school stuff...a lot of school!!! :)

Top three career ideas and dreams (with a little fate, destiny, and reality mixed in)

1. Personal Trainer
2. Ballerina
3. Professor of anything

I am a librarian so that is not too bad (I love my job :)

Well I at least might accomplish one of those I am going back for my PhD next year :)

And on the crazy side I always wanted to be on Broadway but as fate would have it my voice changed significantly when I grew out of my teen age years and also I wasn't "that" good :)

Good post this morning loved it.

Posted by: Julie Andel at September 10, 2008 9:43 AM

if I had a destiny, I'd want to know what it is. How else can I make it happen?

I love that haiku shirt! :)

Posted by: bad penguin at September 10, 2008 10:09 AM

I believe that I was put on earth to be of service to others. That's it.

I also think the world would be a much better place if we all lived that way.

Greed...for lack of a better ruining the world.

Posted by: kalisa at September 10, 2008 10:19 AM

I believe in the larger picture, the fabric of our lives if you will (did you just sing Coooootton, the faaaaaabric of our lives, because I did so it would totally be OK). I am here doing what I am doing because I was always supposed to be. My actions directly effect everything around me and even when something sucky happens I think, "that was always supposed to happen and nothing I did or didn't do could've changed that". Also, when something fab happens I always thing "Wow, if that super sucky thing didn't happen earlier this fab things wouldn't have happened/I wouldn't have recognized this fab thing/yadayadaya". One great ie is that, one day, I missed my turn and ended up going the long way to work. I was a little pissy, and a lot late, but then I saw a mamma deer with her baby and they took their sweet little time crossing the street and didn't run from me. I would have missed that otherwise. So maybe I believe in destiny? I don't really know what I believe sometimes...

Posted by: mymilabean at September 10, 2008 10:32 AM

I love this topic - I wrote about it today on my blog from your inspiration here.

PS - I'm an internet marketer for a company that has LOTS of IT consultants and I'm looking for a blogger on such topics. Interested?

Posted by: Cass at September 10, 2008 10:35 AM

That's easy. I was destined to become President.

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

My son (the younger one) dropped by on Monday wearing a t-shirt saying "let me stop what I'm doing right now and fix your problem". I'm stealing it - its the story of my life.

Posted by: Ann Adams at September 10, 2008 11:01 AM

I'm a big fan of the haiku shirt.

Here's the thing: I believe we're always exactly where we need to be in order to learn what it is we need to learn about life, ourselves, and other people. I believe in God and I believe that he hands us what we need, good and bad, in order to learn these things and find our way to what we're meant to do and who we're meant to be. Free will rears its ugly head as we decide whether we get to this point in our lives quickly, easily, or ever. So, we're meant for something, but it's our choice whether or not we ever get there.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at September 10, 2008 11:03 AM

See above comment - should read

"I'm stealing it - it's the"

Don't want you thinking a person who was destined to become a great leader doesn't know the difference between its and it's. Too much like Dan Quayle or our present champion of human rights.

Posted by: Ann Adams at September 10, 2008 11:05 AM

Hmmm I believe in a few things and fate and karma are in those. Also reincarnation, but that's a whole other subject. I've never believe in that Charlton Heston ish God just waiting for you to screw up so he can put you on the naughty list.

However I believe I was was made to be a mother. Lame as that may sound, it's the one thing that I know I'm good at. To raise phenomenal children who will do great things. To teach them compassion for others and for themselves.

Posted by: Issa at September 10, 2008 11:06 AM

my role? to do better for children. i took a job that took me away from that and it has turned out to be a big mistake that has made me pretty miserable for the better part of the last year. so, it's time to reboot and do what i do best. i'm most excited, passionate, engaged and full of hope when i'm in the mix talking and doing things that improve the health, happiness and well being of children. all of my other interests pale next to this.

Posted by: pea at September 10, 2008 11:29 AM

I heart Threadless! Gonna buy some for my trip home to Thailand. :)

As for the fate question, think I'm destined to make people happy. Either with my blogging, cooking, music, throwing parties, charity work, or just my overall goofiness that keeps people smiling. I can't think of anything else I was put here to do, really.

Posted by: oakley at September 10, 2008 11:38 AM

I had no idea/set goals in who I wanted to be and do with my life really until I had my son. It took time, but slowly my purpose in life came to me. Seeing his struggles opened my eyes to seeing how so many children struggle and need help.

I mostly give my time and energy, but I do donate money to causes where I feel they help children the most.

Love those tees.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at September 10, 2008 2:57 PM

I thought my destiny was to be a lawyer or a journalist. I have started to see as I've aged that my destiny is others. In what full capacity that is I'm not sure yet.

I believe Everything happens for a reason. I mean everything, even the death of my infant daughter. Her death brought forth a new level of love that I didn't know was possible. I could go on forever, but you get my point.

Posted by: Michele at September 10, 2008 3:04 PM

I love Threadless! I have the haiku shirt!

I also have a few others that I really like to wear. Last year, everyone got Threadless for Christmas from me since I caught their $10 sale early.

Posted by: Jen at September 10, 2008 3:38 PM

A post to make me think...can you believe I'm closer to forty and what I do now is not what I ever wanted to do in life. I'm a tax horrible is that! What I really wanted to do in life...a teacher, vet, actress, interior designer, unfortunately I never really forced myself to do well in college...But who knows there's a whole lot of time ahead of my yet and I may still change paths!

Posted by: Gabriella at September 10, 2008 3:58 PM

A post to make me think...can you believe I'm closer to forty and what I do now is not what I ever wanted to do in life. I'm a tax horrible is that! What I really wanted to do in life...a teacher, vet, actress, interior designer, unfortunately I never really forced myself to do well in college...But who knows there's a whole lot of time ahead of my yet and I may still change paths!

Posted by: Gabriella at September 10, 2008 3:58 PM

I was put here to love. 33 years in and I feel like I am just beginning to understand more than the tip of the iceberg of what this entails.

I'm doing it. Sometimes it makes me sad how poorly I do it. But I'm doing it.

Posted by: Mindy at September 10, 2008 6:43 PM

Ok, completely random but I seriously want all of those t-shirts in the worst way. Especially the Stop Destroying Our Planet and Haiku t-shirts. They're priceless!!!

Posted by: Jessa at September 10, 2008 7:52 PM

Can't really answer the question right now...
but a) Britney Spears' thong? Dude. EWWWWWW.
b) Haiku tshirt = want.

Posted by: Heather at September 10, 2008 8:51 PM

I teach math at a performing arts high school. It's a good gig, really, but part of the deal is I have to include performing arts in my lessons. In math.

So I do little songs and whatever. I taught them a song about finding the midpoint and told them to break off into small groups to present their versions of the song in whatever way they wanted. One group, I kid you not, presented it in the form of an interpretive dance. It was awesome.

Posted by: NGS at September 10, 2008 9:51 PM

I keep waiting for that magical moment, like right when Hogett meets Babe and they just know, you know, or maybe you're not there yet in kid-movie-dome, but you'll see it someday and you'll get what I mean.

And hell yes, I'd like to know. I'd like to know, and then go make it happen.

Posted by: Mr Lady at September 11, 2008 2:51 AM

This post made me giggle - the tshirts threw me off track because of their awesomeness but I have had these thoughts before as well. What if I was meant to be this and I did not do this so I never ended up doing this. THAT back there is why I HATED my college Philosophy class with a fiery passion and cheated my head off to get a B+.

Posted by: Christina at September 11, 2008 1:55 PM



This is a question I've been trying to answer for 30 years. If you have any tips, let me know. Cos I have heard the word "potential" a few too many times in my time on this planet.

Posted by: alektra at September 11, 2008 4:13 PM

That t-shirt about interpretive dance TOTALLY reminds me of you...

Posted by: Zandria at September 12, 2008 12:15 PM

OMG my comment just totally got rejected because in my exhausted end-of-first-week-of-school state I typed miabot instead of miabean. Dammit!

Anyway, what I said was:
Love the t-shirts, especially the haiku one!

It took me long enough to figure out what I wanted to do with my life so I really do think I was meant to be a teacher. I relate well to kids whether they're in the classroom or children of friends and I hope I can make a difference.

That said I would also describe myself as a writer. Not to be pretentious and not because I necessarily believe I am any good or could make a career about it, but simply because I have always preferred to communicate through the medium of writing, love language and have always written as a pasttime. I think it's just an inherent part of who I am.

Sorry I'm a few days behind on comments! :)

Posted by: starrynite at September 12, 2008 12:29 PM

I just want to say that I totally thought of you when I saw that haiku t-shirt on Threadless. I'm pleased to see you purchased it. :) I've been a binge t-shirt buyer on there lately, I need to not visit that site because every time I do I buy a t-shirt!

Posted by: Teenuh at September 12, 2008 9:13 PM

I'm so glad you took up my suggestion and bought the haiku shirt. I also own one. They are The Bomb.

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