I spent all of my formative years – and probably beyond – being indoctrinated by a mish mash of maxims, adages, proverbs and sayings, accumulated and imparted from a wide range of geographical, social and religious backgrounds. There is no occasion for which I do not have a pithy (if trite) epigram and it’s almost to the point of being an automatic response.
Most of them are at best fairly vapid and meaningless, at worst completely redundant, and rarely very comforting in themselves. Two of the most common were ‘what’s for you won’t go by you’ (albeit in much broader Scots) and ‘good things come to those who wait’. These roughly translate into ‘stop whining/moping, there’s nothing you can do about it anyway’ with a dose of sugary hope to take the sting out along the lines that fate (possibly) has something even better in store anyway.
Well-meaning, but unhelpful. Even as someone who has pretty much always believed in magic the notion of being absolved of all personal responsibility – and by extension absolving others of theirs – never sat comfortably. Worse – did it mean that any really horrible, unfair, frustrating unjust were the things that were ‘for me’ since they clearly didn’t go ‘by me’? Or am I supposed to just accept that these things have to happen as part of some wider scheme for the ‘good things’ get to come (top tip: if history has taught us anything it’s that simply accepting unfairness and injustice has rarely proven to make things better).
Concepts of destiny and fate are ideas I still very much struggle with in terms of my own personal philosophy, and I suspect may be an area I never come to a definite view on. Fortunately, I’ve decided this is a win-win situation – if whatever I do is ultimately meant to be anyway, then presumably I can’t actually go wrong, and if I’m out there proactively seeking whatever it happens to be at the time, then at least I’m (hopefully) having fun in the process. What’s for me might not go by me, but there could be a whole lot of other stuff slipping past in the meantime!
Don’t wait for the good things to come to you – whatever your belief, it’s a surety that none of us has so very much time we should expend it purely in waiting.