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  • Writer's picturejeanettesmith108

Fate v. Coincidence

This Wednesday is a double feature! When the universe is being a bitch and things just aren’t going your way, it’s common to wonder if this is FATE or COINCIDENCE.

Fate was coined between 1325 and 1375 and comes from a mixture of Middle English and Latin. It began as Fārī— to speak, and transformed to the past participle Fātum— that which has been spoken. Thus Fate is defined as the “way by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are”. What happens to us is predetermined and we can’t change it.

Coincidence, on the other hand, came about in 1605 from the Latin Coincidere— to agree.

It is defined as the “occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection”. When coincidence strikes it can often feel like the Universe is sending us a message, but is it really?

Coincidence and Fate Have a Meeting

How do we know if Fate or Coincidence is the answer when something happens to us? I would postulate that it’s not important to determine which is in play because it’s probably a bit of both. Is there someone up in the Heavens sending us to our fates like little marionettes? Probably not. There may be someone up there, but I very much doubt they have every minute of my life planned out. That’s what I do. So does that mean everything is random and we create every moment in time through our decisions with no outside influences? Not quite. Like I said, it’s a bit of both.

When I want to turn left across traffic (which, if you know me, you know I LOATHE doing), I get to choose the opening I want. I can wait until there’s a long break or I can speed between cars to sneak across; either way, I am in control. If I make a decision to turn and get t-boned by another car, it wasn’t fate and it wasn’t coincidence, it had a clear cause and effect. If however the person who t-boned me turns out to be my future husband, then we can talk about fate and coincidence.

Fate and Coincidence are terms we use to explain things outside of our control, things that don’t have a clear cause and effect. They are necessary terms. Having to go through life with the entire weight of our existence (fated or coincidental) as a heavy burden on our shoulders is overwhelming. Being able to give up an answer to one of these terms makes life bearable when we just don’t understand why something is happening.

The important thing to remember is that we are only ever in control of our own choices. We may be able to influence or react to others’ decisions, but we can’t control them. So if something isn’t going your way lately, stop worrying about whether it’s Fate or Coincidence and go make a decision that moves your life forward.

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