Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fate or Free Will

I don't know if I believe in fate, or at least that EVERYTHING is determined by fate.  I do think there are some things we can't control.  On the other hand, I think that there's a lot to be said for free will.  I don't think that the universe has some grand plan for me and that I don't really have a lot of say in that plan.  I think that will happen will happen, but that I am ultimately the master of my own destiny.

That being said, certain things have happened to me that I had absolutely NO control over.  The big one being my adoption.  I was a baby with no say.  And it hit me the other day.  What are the odds?  I mean seriously, what are the chances that someone ends up adopted?  As far as I can tell because record keeping when it comes to adoption is not the best, there are about 6 million adoptees in the US.  Maybe this number is off, but it's the number I'm going to use for this exercise.  Google tells me there are about 307 million Americans in the US.  Again, this could be off, but it works for this exercise.  Using those numbers, it means that only about 2% of the population is adopted (well slightly less than two percent but you can't have a half a person so...).  Which means that if 100 people are put in a room, only two of them would be adopted.  So it's a small percentage.  What are the odds that I would be born and then adopted?  I'll admit to having a "Why Me???" moment the other day.

Anyway back to the topic at hand, I had no choice in the matter.  It was done, and I'm the one living with the consequences.  Sure, my adoptive parents benefited (and did not I'm sure at times - like all those times I was being a brat or didn't behave), my first parents suffered at times (my first family is sort of a mess at times over this whole thing), but I'm the one who ultimately paid the cost for this.  I'm the one trying to sort all of this out.  I'm the one trying to figure out how to fit two families into my life.  And it ain't easy!

Was it fate that I ended up with my parents?  I don't really think so.  I could have ended up with another couple.  My first parents can't remember what made them pick my parents, but I'm sure it wasn't anything huge if they can't remember it now.  The big thing was religion.  I was raised Catholic because that's what they wanted.  They do remember that.  That seemed to be the only criteria they had.  Out of the three couples they were presented with, one was off the table right away because they were Jewish.  Go figure.  So I really don't think it was fate, I think it was based on my first parents making a decision that would affect the rest of my life.  Free will on their part, I was a baby who didn't have a say.  I don't think I was "fated" to become Catholic, I just think me being adopted my Catholic adoptive parents made my first parents feel better.

Was it fate for me to become the person I am today?  I think some of it is dependent on my first parents.  I never understood genetics until I got to know my first father.  And then it sort of hit me.  BOOM NATURE MATTERS!  We're a lot alike.  Plus according to him I'm a lot alike my sisters, two people I've never met.  So genetics defiantly play a role.  At the same time, I do notice that there are times I'm a lot like my adoptive mother.  She's the one who mainly raised me (my adoptive dad worked a lot when I was a kid) and I do believe that my parents taught me a lot and influenced who I became.  Where do I fit in?  Once I moved off on my own, I did change.  I became a different person as I discovered who I was on my own.  I do believe that my free will has made me into the person that I am today.  I can choose to be a certain type of person, and I do.  I used to fight my core personality.  I choose not to do that anymore.  I choose to be more like my first family.  I choose to not resent the fact I'm different than my adoptive parents.  I choose to act like my adoptive mother would want me to act in certain situations.  She's a great person and she taught me to be like her in certain ways.

That's my take on it.  I'm trying to choose to be happy these days.  Some days it works, other days it doesn't.  I'm trying to take back control of my life when I can.  I have a new favorite quote these days.

"God grant me the serentiy to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference" - Reinhold Niebuhr

It's a work in progress.