Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fate, Luck, Future or what-have-you

There is a line in literature that has stuck with me for years. It's from J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. (You know, the one everyone reads in high school?) Holden remembers something his mom said to him, along the lines of:  'just remember, not everyone has had the same advantages as you.'

This powerful line has affected me even more as I've gotten older. It helps rectify what seems to be a natural, automatic-- if unfair and often wrong-- human tendency: to judge others for how they are living their lives, especially if their life bears no similarity to your own.

You know what I mean. Maybe you're an adamant non-smoker, so you assume the smoker walking down the street must not care about his health. You refuse to eat fast food, so the mom who picks up Happy Meals for her kids must be lazy or uneducated. You never lose your temper, so the parent who does occasionally yell or swear under her breath must be unstable. The list goes on.

It's easy to judge others. It's the lazy way to live, in a way. It enables us to write people off. However, we have no idea what another's life has been like, so I try to remember Holden's mother's words of warning-- they haven't had the same advantages-- if I feel any judge-y wheels turning. Not that I've never had challenges-- of course I have. But this line helps me remember that it's easy to simplify someone's else's life. Everyone's lives are more complicated than they appear.


Let's take it a step further. Do you ever wonder why it is that some people are born into such terribly hard lives of abuse, neglect, poverty, hunger? Is it just horrible luck? Fate? Or, we could borrow the rather wise argument from our kids: It's not fair! It's not fair! There is no explanation for what we are born into, as I see it.

How random life is. We have no choice or say into what situation we are born; we simply have to move forward with the hand we are dealt. I'm constantly trying to make goals for the future-- for myself, my career, my family. Our future is something we actually have a say in, isn't it?

What do you hope to make from your future?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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  1. Julia, have I said before that in little space you bring about big insights?
    I have often wondered too if all existence, should be, could be left to chance? I am less intimidated by random chance than by fate. Though I am not a big fan of Nietzsche but I like this one, "and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music" . I love what you say about being "judge-y". About the future - I plan and do my best but leave the rest to - Doris Day's Que sera sera!!
    On a lighter note, I watched BBC's production of Jane Austen's Persuasion.Have you? You must! Jane's heroines remind me of you. Insightful,witty and charming. All at once!!

    1. Ooooh, what a cool Nietzche quote! And yes, Que Sera Sera is something I hum to myself when I begin to feel overwhelmed about the future. I wonder if we have ever been singing it at exactly the same moment in time : ?!
      Perhaps my posts are getting too serious. I'll come up with something a little lighter soon :).
      Persuasion! YES! That was actually my favorite Austen book when I read them all in high school and college. How interesting it is the one you recommended-- you must really get me! And your compliment might just be the nicest one I've ever ever received. To be like one of her, that is just too generous! :)

  2. I hope our singing Que sera sera has been synchronous somewhere in time. Thinking so hurts a bit. I really hope it has been.;):)


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