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I Took the Road Less Traveled By…

August 12, 2009

I always, always find myself pondering determinism. It simply fascinates me. And recently, I’ve been on determinism-pondering overload having watched the movie Serendipity and re-read The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Exactly one year ago I was starting my first out-of-college job at Peppercom in NYC. I had been in the city about a week. The internship was everything I’d been working for. But where would I be if I hadn’t worked so hard? Would I have still gone to New York? Was it just in the cards for me to experience that amazing, beautiful city?

Now graduate school approaches. Atlanta approaches. So much has changed in just one year. Where is my life hurtling towards? Is my future-self already living up in New York again, with an amazing job at an advertising agency on Madison?

Do the things that happen to us happen because of choices we make? Or are choices already made for us, essentially? In The Time Traveler’s Wife, there is one part I especially love. When Henry is visiting Clare when she’s a child, Clare draws him a picture, signs her name, and writes the date. Suddenly, he says “No don’t date it, in the future it hangs on my wall, and it’s not dated.” She shrugs, erases it, and then asks what would happen if she DID date it, and he jokingly says, “I don’t know, probably start World War III or something. But…we can test it out.” She smiles, and recopies the date at the bottom. He returns to his present time, and walks to living room to look at the picture, surprised to see it just as he remembers it, undated. He asks Clare, now his wife, about it, and she replies “Oh, you freaked me out about the World War III comment, so I trimmed the date off after you left.”

Is there anything we can do to change the future? Or is the future there, all layed out, waiting for us to experience it as it comes? I find it amusing to think that my future husband is out there, living his life. Or anyone, really. People that will have a profound effect on me in the future, that I have yet to meet, are out there, oblivious to my existence right now.

Does thinking that destiny exists take all the work out of life? All the heartache? It is, often times, easier to get over lost friendships and broken hearts if you think there was nothing you could do, that it just wasn’t meant to be. Or does it just take all the excitement and fun out of it all? Perhaps life is a mix of free will and determinism, like The Butterfly Effect. Maybe there are several paths your life could take, and your choices determine which road you go down. Robert Frost claimed he chose the road less traveled by. But did it really choose him?

Maybe I should just live in the moment, instead of worrying about what the future holds so much.

What do y’all think?

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