10 December 2010

Day 258: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Fated by S. G. Browne.  ISBN: 9780451231284.

I've always considered fate and destiny to be two sides of the same coin: fate is the bad stuff that's supposed to happen to us, destiny the good stuff.  I kind of like Browne's take on the concepts: people are born either on the Path of Fate or the Path of Destiny, and can't travel between the two.  The people on Fate's path have a predetermined life destination, if you will, that can be changed slightly by the choices they make; Fate spends a lot of time complaining that people tend to make bad decisions, and thus their fates go down the tubes pretty quickly.  The people on the Path of Destiny, however, are, well, destined for great things.  Those with fates, if they make the right choices, can sometimes get as high as, say, a one-term president, but those with destinies will become people who make world-changing decisions.

I feel like I was once on the Path of Destiny.  In school, it seemed like I was really going to take my smarts someplace.  People told me I had a lot of potential, but what I lacked was direction, focus, or motivation.  I never knew what I wanted to be, even though I could have been anything, and no one ever really pushed me towards anything.  The praise was great, but I think all it did was give me an inflated ego -- and that's not exactly a career choice.

In reading this book, I can see where I could have made much better decisions in my life.  Bad luck and outside influences have had a lot of negative effects on me, and I tend to blame those exclusively instead of myself.  It would have taken a lot more maturity than I think I have ever had until recently, and the ability to analyze my own behavior and decisions.  That ability, by the way, I believe is sorely lacking in our society.  If people were able to self-reflect on a regular basis, I think we'd have a lot less discord, because that action generates a consciousness of others in relation to our behavior.  You wouldn't have self-entitled jerks making unreasonable demands on retail clerks and fast food cashiers, for example.

But getting back to me, yeah, I've made some bad decisions in my life.  When I graduated high school, I wanted to get into game design, because I was really into video games at that point (talk about a bad influence), but I had no idea how to go about doing it.  So I went in for computer engineering in the hopes that I might be able to get a job and work my way through a technical video game school.  This was, by the way, back when there was ONE school that taught video games, and it was on the opposite coast from me, not to mention it was expensive and didn't offer scholarships.  I was therefore lucky to even be able to get into college, due to my working-class background, but I made a mess of it.

I decided that I'd gone into engineering for the wrong reasons and switched to computer science because most of the classes counted for credit between the two majors.  But comp sci wasn't my thing.  Not only was I not good at it, I more or less predicted the dot-com bust and got out of the field.  I knew that if I didn't, I'd be competing for jobs with people who were vastly more talented in the field than I was.  It's the best decision I ever made.  Unfortunately, then I went into English, because it was easy.  Yes, I missed writing, but I really wish I'd gone back to engineering.  I might have been able to make something of myself that way.

I dicked around in grad school after that, and made a couple more bad decisions that landed me with this unusable Master's degree.  What have I learned from it?  Don't trust omens, that's what got me in trouble.  I've always looked for the fantastic to guide me, because it's a handy excuse to not take responsibility for my own actions.  Well, no more.  I know what I want now, and I know how to get it.  Being able to get it, on the other hand, is another matter entirely, and that's one I can't really figure out at this point.  One day, I hope to get back on my right path and see if I can salvage whatever my fate may be.

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...