On Fate and Destiny…

There are many things in this vast world of ours that I don’t understand.  Why Franks Red Hot Sauce makes everything better, how Nicholas Cage keeps getting lead roles, why people who live BELOW sea level always seem surprised that a hurricane destroys their city (looking at you New Orleans), accounting, scientology in general, and why the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team always finds a way to break my heart.  These are questions that in the end I have just accepted don’t have tangible answers.  And in an attempt to not go insane I’ve made my peace with that.
However, there are other topics of importance that I also seem to not grasp.  One of these on my mind as of late is that of fate and destiny.  When I was younger and much more likely to do and believe what others told me to I thought that it was an absolute certainty that both fate and destiny were real.  I mean they HAD to be right? How else can you explain why things happen to us?  Why would so many people talk about something if it wasn’t real?   How else can you calm someone down or ease tension and anger from a situation?  Phrases like “if it’s ment to be it’ll find a way,” “God will see it done,” and “Love will find a way” paired a long with a lack of action have become more and more a topic of irritation for me.
I understand that for most people the thought of fate and destiny is a comforting idea.  It allows them to live their lives however they want and truly believe that something will happen to them regardless of their choices.  In a way it absolves them from any real responsibilty for their circumstances.  What I don’t understand is how more people don’t find this delusional.  If I told you I wanted to be a published author but I never wrote anything or did but never showed it to anyone would tell me that “it just wansn’t ment to be?”  No. You’d tell me to actually do something toward achieving my goal.  You’d tell me to write and write and keep writing until my fingers bled.  You’d tell me to read until my eyes were bloodshot and glassy.  With enough effort and energy perhaps I would become a published author.  However, what is the cause for this?  Is it the hours I spent preparing and working toward my goal or was I just magically destined all long to accomplish this goal? To me, the former seems much more realistic.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about fate and destiny is that they are concepts that give people an “out” of responsibility for their own lives.  They use these words and their concepts as crutch.  By believing that things will happen on their own, people just end up fooling themselves.  Instead of taking action towards what they want people are more content to sit back, wait and hope.  I’ve never found hoping to be much of a strategy. If it was the Cornhuskers wouldn’t have lost a game for the past 20 years and I’d be dating Natalie Portman, but I digress.

I am currently working on a cruise ship in Australia.  A bit random? Perhaps.  Do I think that when I was 5 this was my for certain path? Was I destined to leave everyone and everything I knew behind me in search of something new? Not a chance.  I am here because of every choice I have made over the past 23 years.  Getting an M.I.P., going to Creighton University, deciding to not go to law school, taking a desk job that wasn’t right for me, deciding I wanted nothing more than to travel the world and work with people. And most importantly deciding to do something about it when I realized how unhappy I was. THESE are the things that brought me here.  My choices.

I’ve said all of this to get to this point.  Your life is yours.  Where you are, who you’re with, what you do, all of these things stem from the choices you’ve made.  But the beauty of it all is that no matter where you at in life in regards to your goals or your happiness YOU have the ability to change it.  There is no predetermined situation.  We create our own. Depending on the kind of person you are you will find that concept either terrifying or freeing.  I find it freeing.  To truly believe that I have control over my life and no one else was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever experienced.   I hope for your sake that if you haven’t already that someday soon you realize this and make your life exactly what you want it to be.

Maybe that’s your destiny after all.

“With mindfullness, strive.”

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Cruise Ship Progress Report #1

Call off the search parites.  I am alive and well somewhere in the vast Pacific Ocean.  I haven’t been able to blog lately due to my lack of computer, patchy internet, and chaotic schedule.  However, 1.3 of these issues are solved.  It feels good to have my computer back so if anyone wants to skype or shoot me an e-mail feel free.  It will be much easier to cordinate replies since I actually have technology back on my side.

Where to begin.  I have been on the ship around a month now.  The flight from Omaha to Brisbane wasn’t nearly as tedious as I had anticipated.  I spent a whole day in Brisbane… alone.  I walked around the city, took a river boat tour, then proceeded to hit up a bar that night.  The Aussies are friendly for the most part, although somehow most of my conversations that night ended up revolving around “why rugby is the best sport ever.”

I was picked up the next morning and taken to the ship, the Pacific Dawn.  It was my first time on a cruise ship and it isn’t the easiest thing to navigate, that’s for sure.  A lot of the scenery (floors, carpets, rooms, stairs) looks the same so it’s easy to get lost.  However, a month into this adventure I am no longer wandering around the ship like a lost puppy.

The other crew members have been incredible.  It’s such a different feeling going down to the crew bar or walking around the ship and talking to people from England, Ireland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, America, and Italy just to name a few.  I can’t really express how easy it is to broaden your horizon when you are constantly being exposed to people who talk and think completely different than you do.  The best ways for us to grow as people, in my opinion, are through traveling, interacting with people different from ourselves, and reading.  I’m doing my very best to do all of those during this experience.

Going from the United States to Australia still involed a bit of a mind shift.  From the month I’ve been here I would say that the Australians have more in common with people from England than they do with people from the United States.  They use similar words and have more similar past-times in comparison to the US.  It takes a little getting used to (a long with quite a bit of repeating myself) but I’ve slowly begin to decipher the differences we share.  There isn’t so much a difference in music and movies so much as there is a “lag” so to speak.  I would say that 88% of the entertainment on the ship is American.  So that’s nice, but most of the movies and songs are half a year old and they are just getting them.  The kids ask me to play songs from justin bieber, miley cyrus, imagine dragons, and other artists that were popular at the beginning of this year in the States.

I usually work 10 hours a day on sea days and about 6 on port days.  Most of the work isn’t to physcially exhausting.  I spend a lot of time playing wii, air hockey, waterballon soccer, and watching movies and shows put on  by the entertainment crew.  I know to most people this sounds like a walk in the park, and there are some days when it is.  However, if you haven’t ever delt with dozens of 11-17 year olds at one time for hours on end then you may want to try that before you tell me how easy my job is.  WIth that said it is nice to be constatly interacting with people.  That’s one reason why I enjoy working with this age group so much, I can sit down and have a conversation about something and hopefully walk away having learned something.

The islands are amazing.  The people are genuine. The sunsets are gorgeous. The Ocean is overwhelming and humbling.

I plan on blogging much more frequently in the future.  Fear not, it won’t all be about what’s happening on the ship,  I’ll make sure and throw some philosophy, quotes, literature review, and random musings in as well. If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment on the post!

“With mindfullness, strive.”

Cheers,

Todd