“What’s meant for you won’t pass you by”

Last week, I talked about the reality of the first six months in the real world. That post was a humour piece, nothing more than a joke, a quick jab at the 9 to 5 lifestyle I’ve become used to. This is slightly more serious, a whole foot further down the rabbit hole. I can’t decide which of the two posts matters more. I know the first was easier. It was a much simpler story to tell. But it makes me wonder.

Which is the story worth listening to?

Anyway, if you read between the lines the last time, you’d have seen it wasn’t all smiles and sarcasm. There’s no doubt about it: life’s tough out here in the borderlands.

We all have our own ways of coping-tea, exercise, music, maybe even a drink or two. When flustered, a lot of people also turn to words, quick little one-liners (like philosophical Xanax) that ground them in something palpable again. Perhaps one of the most well-known (at least in Ireland) goes a little something like this:

What’s meant for you won’t pass you by

It mightn’t seem like much, a bare seven or eight words thrown together, but small sentiments like this have a way of resonating with people, of lasting. A phrase like that simply endures. And yet, of all the soft hopes held dear, this is the one belief I’ve yet to subscribe to.

A part of me thinks the reason reflects the bigger picture, the questions like “Why are we here?” or “What happens to us at the end?”. Spirituality, whether in the form of organised religion or not, requires a great deal of faith. Personally, it’s something I’ve always struggled with. The saddest change of heart I ever knew was realising that one day I didn’t truly believe anymore. I just wanted to. And in my eyes, the above phrase is filled with the same sort of uncertainty. I definitely want it to be real, but that’s an empty argument for someone who founds themselves on logic and gears. It’s as if the sentiment isn’t physical enough, like I’d agree in a heartbeat if I could just reach out and touch it.

Maybe the biggest issue I have with this phrase is that the evidence just isn’t there for it. From where I’ve been standing the last twenty-three years, it sure seems like a lot of things passed me by. Whether they were meant for me or not I don’t know, but I’d like to think that they weren’t. How do I know that? Like I said, I don’t, but I’ve lived by the attitude that if you want something bad enough, you’d better just go out and take it. Life isn’t equal, and it’s certainly not fair. Your aspirations aren’t just gonna pull over, roll down the window and tell you to hop in. Nope. If you’re going to be passive, holding your thumb out and expecting a ride, those dreams are gonna put the foot down and leave you behind, choking on a cloud of dust as they roar down the highway. Of course, if you take the active role in this situation, those dreams won’t get far. Yes, you’re going to have to chase them, running like your life depended on it. You’re probably going to trip a half dozen times and bloody something, maybe even consider giving up and laying down in the shade. But there’ll be a moment when you climb over the last hill, see lights in the city below. There’s every chance that moment will be worth it.

And of course, the above probably sounds awfully negative, but I’d wager the opposite is true. I can’t imagine anything worse than sitting in the back seat of the car, watching fields ghost by, waiting for the journey to be over so you can claim a prize already yours. That’s what happens when life is in charge, when things are meant for you, when years simply pass you by.

But perhaps you’re like me. You’d much rather take the hard road and risk never reaching the end of it. You’d suffer years of stumbling and falling, rising quickly to dust yourself off again, all in a world where we’ll only know a single breath, where we run the road of a mortal life. With time against us, it’s no wonder people want there to be some sort of guarantee. But destiny is a beautiful lie, a cushion for the wary and the unenthused. On the contrary, what was it Robin Williams said: “Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.” Somehow having the responsibility in your hands feels a lot more reassuring.

And yet phrases like “What’s meant for you won’t pass you by” aren’t said as a statement of fact, more like a mantra or prayer. They’re spoken as if to quell the great unknown, put order to the chaos of life and reinforce the fact that in some ways it’s all been already decided. And I don’t blame them. It’s tough accepting the reality that every day you might pass your dream job on your way to work, maybe close the door of a coffee shop five seconds before your true love opens it. But all those maybe-moments are down to chance, and the mathematics are rarely if ever with you. There are just too many variables for you to ever ride off into the sunset with the wind in your hair. Odds-wise, it’s more likely you’ll just fall into a job you don’t hate, pay your bills and some taxes, find someone you love and work hard enough to make it stick. Every day won’t be perfect. In fact, more than most won’t be memorable at all. But somewhere years from now, you’ll realise you needed all that background noise-all that adversity and that grey. After all, the lights over the hill wouldn’t shine half so bright had you not hit a few bumps in the road.

So yes, what’s meant for you may pass you by; I’m almost sure that it will do.

But so what?

Look at all the things that weren’t meant for you, but that you learned from all the same. Things that were never wanted, just needed somewhere on the road. Things that made you curse, tear at your hair, cry in a dark room at 2 a.m. Things that made those few steps a journey. Things that made an imperfect life.

And when it’s all said and done, when you have nothing left but a small audience inside the warmth of a fire, isn’t that the story worth listening to?

Some internet things for the bad days, and the wednesdays

1. Listverse – http://listverse.com/

This website name pretty much says it all. Top tens, famous fives (but no secret sevens… I think). From sport to movies, and from conspiracy theories to current affairs, this site has somebody compiling information on all. My personal favourites are lists in bizarre, simply because the people writing put a lot of effort into either accurately researching or else making up eerily complex plots.

Best recommended for: Writing blogs, researching simple topics or passing a satisfying half hour

Avoid: If you hate searching to find good material or are bothered by variation in the length of pieces.

2. Youtube Vsauce – http://www.youtube.com/user/Vsauce

A youtube channel that regularly posts about various concepts ranging from the very theoretical physics to the very obscure nature of psychology. Each video runs about 6-10 minutes, and mostly starts off posting a very straightforward question but then delves deep into its foundations, bringing up suitable examples and summing up with a usually non-conclusive…conclusion.

Watch if: Need to waste a good deal of time without feeling overly guilty about refreshing facebook, want a comprehensive but enjoyable view on physics or science orientated concepts.

Stay away: have no interest in science or its branches, bored if videos run over 5 minutes.

3. Youtube-Cinema Sins – http://www.youtube.com/user/CinemaSins

A youtube channel that runs regular videos focusing on film mistakes, bloopers, faults or inconsistencies. Focuses mostly on films already out on DVD and in popular culture on an ongoing basis. Most videos last 7ish minutes with a counter keeping track of how sinful the movie is overall.

Works if: Like variety in your channel watches, like a wide range of film, can appreciate the humour in nit-picking artistic work or laughing at inconsistent yet reputable movies.

Don’t go there if: You hate whining, haven’t a working knowledge of film and celebrity figures or prefer constant and out loud laughter

4. Youtube – Screen junkies – http://www.youtube.com/user/screenjunkies

Mostly this channel runs honest trailer videos, or at least that’s where their biggest fan basis is. Again like above, there’s a whole host of movies examined and their trailers re-released with the film being subjected to light-hearted mockery. A run time of 3-4 minutes is normal, and the films used are mostly never bad. In fact it’s far more common for popular movies to appear and still receive good a good reception. This channel has that kind of knock on effect that can turn 3-4 minutes into an hour because of that though.

Try it if: You enjoy sarcasm and constant laughter, you have an hour to kill late at night, you like regular updates and newer movies used

Say no if: Jokes get old on you quick, you can’t take your favourite films getting a bad treatment

5. WORDPRESS-the blog world itself

Where else to get fresh writing on new and exciting topics that you don’t have to fumble for in a broadsheet newspaper or scour for on countless tv channels. WordPress offers unique ways to direct you to highly rated blogs or let you take your own initiative and search in areas you find fascinating. What pushes it ahead of other standard modes of internet entertainment is the ability to give back and join to a larger community, which is often lost on fan web pages or in the dust that is kicked up beneath the stamping feet of youtube trolls. Here there is a bit more order, but who’s to say that is ever a bad thing.

Sign up if:You’ve enjoyed blogs before or want a platform where you can rapidly find the topic you want more of a low down on.

Give it a skip when: Writing and wordy posts bore you or can’t hold you attention, you don’t see an area worth searching for continuously or find the results coming back are too broad and unreliable.