When it comes to forgotten dreams, or plans that never panned out, and the general dissatisfaction one feels about their lot in life, it can sometimes be very easy to blame fate, and things outside our control.
I struggle with this, and as you already know, if you're reading frequently enough, one of the major components of my depression and anxiety comes from not living up to my own potential. Everything is triggered by not feeling good enough, or feeling satisfied with what I have.
And the more I struggle with it all and think about it, I have come to understand that if the fates can be at fault for not giving us what they want, why can't they take credit for helping us avoid larger failures and pitfalls?
There's an old saying that failures or mistakes are simply lessons to learn from. If you take a more positive spin on how things naturally evolve through choices we and others make in a situation, then however things wind up, is basically how they were supposed to. If the fates have a role to play, why does their job have to be about thwarting our progress and reversing our luck? Why can't they actually be working overtime to make things turn out better for us in the long run?
Here's where it all boiled down to this understanding for me. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a teacher. Everything I did in my schooling and extra curricular activities was bent and designed to drive me in that direction. I volunteered at my old highschool as a TA (absolutely voluntary - no extra credit or pay involved), I worked part time at a tutoring centre, and did a co-op placement at a french immersion middle school...EVERYTHING was a choice to pave the way for a teaching degree.
It came time, and I applied for Teacher's college - I even applied to school's way out in the sticks with the hopes if the larger more prominent schools rejected me, then at least I'd have an ace in the hole. Well, as good as my GPA was, it wasn't good enough for even my third choice school. I was faced with finding a job and making a living with the urgency of a car slamming on it's brakes to avoid colliding with a brick wall...
Turns out that wasn't such a bad thing. I made a great career for myself, started earning great money, did a lot of travelling and got to live in another country even. But I never had let go of my dreams of being a teacher. So when an opportunity presented itself to write a curriculum and partner up with someone to start my own private event planning school, I jumped at it. A year into the process everything unravelled. I had toiled, sweat and worked through the first half of a well deserved maternity leave trying to give this school wings, and my partner screwed me over. A classic situation of someone in way over their head, with more money than they really know how to handle, and a really big fear of success. She lied, that lie caught up with both of us, and in a screaming second, my teaching dreams were snuffed again.
I still have the dream, and if I ever had the opportunity to retire and teach for fun, I think I'd jump at it. BUT in the meantime, I'm closer to retirement than I may have been if I'd been a teacher full time. And perhaps I live in a nicer house than I would be if I were a teacher. And now I'm able to work from home and have enough flexibility that I get to spend just about as much time with my kid as I would if I were a teacher, or possibly even more. And I watch the teachers dealing with back to work legislation and I see their rights are being violated by our own government and I think - at least I'm not dealing with all that.
But even better than all of this, I've realized I'm teaching people everyday. Just not out of a book. And best of all, I'm teaching myself. I'm learning lessons by living my life, and observing others. And the best teacher of all is my child. She's showing me the beauty of this world all over again and it's incredible.
So do I believe that the fates have a role to play? Sure. I'm fanciful enough a thinker to believe there's something solid about plans meeting up with the right timing and circumstances. But I don't think they're always out to get us. And this has helped me cope with my depression and anxiety to some degree. If there's always a reason for why things happen, the reasons may not always feel good at the time, but in the long run, if you're doing everything the best way possible, then you know that the way things work out are then for the better. So thank God or the Fates, or Mother Earth (whomever) for the unanswered prayer sometimes. She may answer a few more if you do.