I believe that life is like a path. If a person has good intentions, they will continue their journey on the path. If a person fails to pursue their “life,” they stray from this path, and hit a dead end. It is possible to live forever in a “dead end,” and never get back on the path once you have strayed away. I feel that everything we encounter works towards getting us back on the path or leading us further down the path. The concept of free will is still present in my belief, in the form of a person’s choice to get back on the path or to remain in the dead end. In this sense, I believe that everything happens for a reason.
I think that this belief sprung from my constant worry about the future, and a need to “place” this worry somewhere, and turn it into a possibly positive thing. I grew up in a lower middle-class household, where I felt trapped by my “means.” I felt like a financial burden, so I yearned for independence from a young age. I have one sibling ten years older than I, who went to college when I was eight. I formed the idea/belief that in order to escape the situation I felt trapped by, I would have to follow her example and stay on a “path” of sorts. To me, success could only come from escape, and escape could only be found by following specific guidelines. I think that I came to believe that things happen for a reason because of not being able to fulfill all of my goals, but gaining satisfaction and understanding from the things I did achieve. For example, when I did not get the SAT score I was hoping for it pushed me to work harder in other areas of my school life like extracurricular activities. This pushed me to be what I consider a more well-rounded person, and I felt “guided” in the right direction by what first seemed to be a failure.
I think that in my particular situation that class, family, and experiences as well as how I dealt with the experiences lead me to my belief. Variations on any of these variables, as well as someone’s natural personality could lead them to a different set of beliefs. For example, to grow up with a very comfortable amount of money or means would not drive someone to worry so much about their future, and therefore would not invoke much future-related thought. It seems as though many people in my generation subscribe to the “YOLO” doctrine. Current culture seems to detest thinking before acting in many cases. Someone who does not believe in assessing a situation, placing faith in the effects of the “random,” would not simultaneously believe that their acts will guide them in any specific direction. Some other arguments posed against the notion that things happen for a reason include the “reason” for acts of terrorism, and completely random tragedies. If I were to share my belief with a person who, for example, had recently lost someone very close to them in a car accident, I would not expect that person to “buy into” my ideas. Hearing that “things work out” and “everything has a purpose” when life has dealt a painful blow offers no peace of mind. I would expect this person to call me a world-ignorant and sheltered brat for suggesting that anything good be derived from their tragedy. It may be brought up that the person who died was an especially good person, so never did anything “wrong.” Society’s loss of this type of person would not make sense unless events were random and senseless. The influence of extreme loss, current culture, and being raised in a different environment could steer someone to believe that there is no purpose in particular events, and that whether or not things “work out” for someone is entirely up to chance.