Small Ripples

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Confession: My least favorite phrase is, “What will be, will be.”  Similarly, I hate, “If it’s meant to happen, it will happen.”


I know these are comforting phrases, and people who say them mean well (and I’ll admit that I’ve said them a few times, too), but whenever I think about the meaning behind these platitudes, I get SO annoyed.  Of course what will be will be!  It’s being!  And if it happens, of course people will say it was meant to happen, or if it doesn’t, they’ll say it wasn’t meant to be.   What if I want something else to be?  Or what if what is happens to be really crap?


Pretty sure I just talked myself in a circle, but you know what I mean. 


The other night, the Husband and I watched the movie The Adjustment Bureau.


The plot goes like this:  Matt Damon is a rising politician who has a chance encounter with Emily Blunt.  Sparks fly – they’re clearly meant to be.  But sinister agents work to keep them apart because being together is not according to ‘the life plan’ for Matt or Emily.  If Matt leaves Emily, he becomes enormously powerful, and she becomes a successful dancer.  But if they stay together, their lives will take a different path entirely.


Of course, this brings up all sorts of interesting questions about destiny and free will.  And that brings me back to my earlier compliant.  If we have free will, then what’s up with the “what will be, will be” stuff?  Is everything just destiny?  Or coincidences?  Honestly, I’m not sure.


The movie prompted the Husband and I do to some fun life charting.  You know, if X, Y, and Z never happened, we never would’ve met, fallen in love, and gotten married.


In high school, I wasn’t exactly cool but I wasn’t un-cool, either.  But I definitely did not roll with the popular kids.  However, I fell madly in love with the most popular boy in school – I stalked him in the hallways and joined clubs just to be near him.  Yet we hardly ever talked because I was way too nervous to say anything; I’m not even sure he knew who I was.   I remember once he said hello to me at my locker, and I rushed home to tell my mom that he had spoken to me.  Basically, I had it bad.  (PS – I REALLY hope he’s not reading this!)


Anyway, a series of chance events brought us together on a school field trip to Europe.  I had to literally beg my parents to let me go, and he got a last minute scholarship.  In Europe, we got to know each other, and much to my amazement, he actually fell in love with me, too! When we got back to America, we stayed together even though he was leaving for college.


If I had never fallen in love with this boy, and we had never gone on the field trip together, and he had never called me from the Miami airport to say he didn’t want to see other girls in college, I would’ve never applied to the University of Pittsburgh.  I didn’t even know where Pennsylvania was on a map (seriously).  If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship, I never would’ve gone.  If I hadn’t been placed on the 16th floor of my dormitory, I would’ve never met my best friends.  And if I hadn’t been sitting on their twin extra-long bed the day Kristien stopped by to visit his old high school buddies, I never would’ve met my future husband.


And if the high school boy hadn’t cruelly dumped me without warning during my sophomore year, I don’t know if I ever would’ve gotten out of that relationship.  It was unhappy, but I’m not sure I could’ve ended it.  And without that, I would’ve never been available to dance the night away in a dingy frat house basement with the Husband… and now, the rest is history.


Without the Husband, I would’ve never started to write professionally.  I would’ve never moved to Orlando and then to Charlotte.  I wouldn’t have Maggie and James.  Who knows what else would be different?  It’s mind-boggling.  There must be thousands, if not millions, of different ways my life could’ve turned out – a spilled coffee, a rejection letter, a different friend, a disease, a new lover, a different job, a winning lottery ticket.


I imagine the possibilities of my life spreading out like creamer in my coffee.  I pour it in and watch the cream roll in different directions, rippling up on one side of the cup and disappearing down into the dark java on the other.  Who knows where I could be?  All I know is that I’m glad I ended up where I am.


Sometimes I wonder what is fate and what is just the consequences of our choices.  After all, life is a series of choices.  And sometimes the smallest choices create the biggest ripples.  


How’d you end up where you are?  Where else could you be?  Do you believe in destiny or is it all just chance?



  • Liz July 6, 2011, 10:14 am

    I completely understand and remind my husband of this often. My husband was married & divorced once before I started seeing him. He says that he often wishes that our marriage could have been his one and only. I just say that if he hadn’t married his first wife, he wouldn’t have understood what he was truly looking for in a woman and he wouldn’t have known how great I was when he met me!!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 6, 2011, 10:15 am

    Oh wow, this is such a cool topic! It’s so funny how things turn out, and it’s great to learn more about you Caitlin! I haven’t seen the Adjustment Bureau yet but I really want to! I was born in Alberta Canada, but my dad’s job took my family to the Middle East for 5 years of my teenage life. That was a hugely life-shaping experience for me, even more so now as I look back on it and compare myself to the paths some of my friends from my home town took. Sure it had its very rough days, but now I’m so glad I’ve got that international experience because there were some awesome times too – travel opportunities, friends from all over the world, golfing almost every day (yep, I did it!), and tons more. 🙂

  • allison @ thesundayflog July 6, 2011, 10:15 am

    caitlin – this was such an awesome post!!! i love thinking about the way my life turned out and how i got there 🙂

  • Anne @strawberryjampackedlife July 6, 2011, 10:15 am

    If the University of Washington hadn’t gotten their paperwork mixed up and been able to offer me the money for graduate school like they wanted to (I desperately wanted to go there), I wouldn’t have ended up at Virginia Tech. Then I wouldn’t have met my husband.

  • Kimberly July 6, 2011, 10:19 am

    I think about this all the time! I can trace so many things that could have been so different if only a few minutes of time happened differently. I am really happy with the way things are turning out for me and it sounds like you are, too, so maybe this is all how it is supposed to happen.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 6, 2011, 10:22 am

    Very cool to think about. I’d like to think there is a bit of destiny responsible for some of what happens in our lives. Mostly b/c I’m pretty sure I made a few recent decisions that weren’t the best in the long-run and now in order to “fix” or change the implications of them I/we need time. I’m hoping there is a bigger reason out there for having made those decisions in the first place. Maybe it’s my way of trying to shift blame? Not sure, but it’s interesting to think about nonetheless.

  • Rebecca July 6, 2011, 10:23 am

    Nothing is promised in life. You can work as hard as you want; you can try to be in complete control. You aren’t. You can work hard at working out and be stricken by disease or accident tomorrow. You can save and scrimp all you want, and your money can be taken away tomorrow. Nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed, nothing is deserved. Do people who work hard all their lives “deserve” to lose everything in a natural disaster? No. And we don’t “deserve” our comfort either.

    That’s why people need to understand that “what will be, will be.” It’s uncomfortable because it’s true.

  • The Teenage Taste July 6, 2011, 10:23 am

    That was such an interesting story about how you and your husband met. I definitely believe in destiny but I also think that the choices we make can alter that destiny a bit, too. 🙂

  • Rachel July 6, 2011, 10:23 am

    i think about stuff like this all the time! my husband Jason & i actually grew up & went to high school mere miles away from each other. yet we never met until we were both students at Michigan State University, about an hour drive from our home town. we even had the same orthodontist & Jason life-guarded at our swim club-but never knew each other! we met b/c my college roommate had business classes w/ him & they would study together at our house. Jason & i will celebrate our 5 yr wedding anniversary next month & we have a beautiful 2 yr old daughter & another little one on the way next year!

    • Laura @ Running Dame July 6, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Yay! Michigan State! Where did you grow up? I’m a fellow alumna of MSU.

      • Rachel Starr July 6, 2011, 2:29 pm

        GO GREEN! I grew up in Birmingham & the hubs in Bloomfield Hills. But now we live in WA! We try to make it back for homecoming as often as we can. Love pretending like I’m a carefree college kid for a weekend 🙂

        • Laura @ Running Dame July 6, 2011, 9:49 pm

          I grew up in Kalamazoo, but I now live in Cleveland. We try and make it back as often as possible as well…late nights at The Riv get the best of me these days!

  • Jen July 6, 2011, 10:24 am

    My fiance and I (it sounds so weird to say that!) just got engaged on the 4th, and all the time I think about what I would be doing right now if I had never met him. It’s so weird to think about the possibilities. You’re definitely a contemplator like I am! I would have never gotten certified as a personal trainer if it weren’t for him, and my muscles wouldn’t be nearly as strong! Obviously that’s a very fluffy example of something that wouldn’t be the same, but it’s still funny to think about.

    By the way, we were going to buy the Adjustment Bureau from On Demand the other night, but decided against it. Was it any good?

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 10:26 am

      congrats on your engagement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

      The movie was great. I really liked it!

  • Liz July 6, 2011, 10:24 am

    I love this post! I love thinking about how small changes have an ongoing ripple on our life and I definitely do not believe in destiny (or soul mates, which are closely related IMO). If I had made different choices along the way, I would likely now be in a different career, a different city, and with a different bf, but I believe that I would be equally happy with my life as I am now. I think that there are a huge number of paths that we can follow, and I try not to get to caught up in stressing about making the “right” choice. Often, there is no one right choice, just different possibilities.

    • Cara July 6, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I totally agree with you on this one! I did a post on this topic just yesterday too! ha

      I used to stress about making the ‘right choice’ and it had to be ‘just so’ but you know what?!….there are so many routes to go. If we limit ourselves to this one way thinking then I believe we are really cutting ourselves short and waisting time over thinking things. And if you pick a path and feel that its not where you want to be headed then you trackback and take with you that particular experience.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me July 6, 2011, 10:24 am

    Oh man, I’ve definitely thought about this before. There are so many things that would’ve changed my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I can’t regret any of it!

  • gabriella @ embracement July 6, 2011, 10:24 am

    These are the things I think about that I KNOW will give me a headache but I do it anyway. Similar to “I know I’m seeing red, but maybe my version of red is your pink but we call it the same thing and we’ll never know if you’re seeing red or green” or “when you die are you really dead forever and how LONG is forever ANYWAY?” I think that life is just a bunch of random decisions made concurrently with other people’s random decisions that either bring us together or apart. It’d be almost impossible to live an entire life on just your decisions bringing you somewhere (unless you live in serious seclusion). But really your firends, byfriends, siblings, parents, teachers….all their decisions effect your life’s outcome too. It’s so crazy…

    • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment July 6, 2011, 10:30 am

      Hahaha I have the “red/pink” argument with myself all the time! I’m so glad I’m not the only one out there wondering if the sky is really magenta or something!

      • gabriella @ embracement July 6, 2011, 10:35 am

        Me too. After I wrote that, I was thinking “um now I sound like a nut, no one else thinks about whether the ocean is really neon yellow”

        • Katie @ cooklaughmove July 6, 2011, 10:56 am

          That reminds me of the relation between flavors and colors! Peppermint = red, spearmint = green, cola = brown, etc. What if everything was either the color it is nature or neutural colored (no colors added). Would red velvet cupcakes taste the same? What about Pepsi?

    • Cindy Robinson July 6, 2011, 11:56 am

      Me too! I think of those. Especially with food too. I wonder if veggies that I love taste like grass to people..:)

    • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) July 6, 2011, 12:38 pm

      Oh, I think the color thing all the time, too! I imagine everyone else’s world looks like one of those trippy black-light posters where everything is the “wrong” color. 🙂

    • Amber K July 6, 2011, 12:39 pm

      I have thought about the color thing more times than I care to admit! What if my blue is really your green? What if we all see things differently? What if your blue is some color I can’t even see? Oh, everyone is weird. At least, that’s what I tell myself 😉

      • Allison @ Happy Tales July 6, 2011, 3:53 pm

        OMG i love this. My friends and I would talk about the color thing ALL THE TIME back in elementary school. We thought we were being so philosophical. I still love stuff like that!

        • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) July 6, 2011, 8:11 pm

          The Boy and I talk about this stuff all the time, too, but in addition to colors, we also talk about perceptions of EVERYTHING. Is the chair really a chair, or is it a table? what if HIS chair is MY bookshelf? Is a cat really a gopher?

  • LindseyAnn July 6, 2011, 10:26 am

    This is an awesome post!
    If I hadn’t recommitted to running last January, I wouldn’t have my job today. I’m beyond blessed that I had the opportunity to take a hobby and make it in to a job. It’s not the classroom teaching I was trained to do, but I’m still teaching, and teaching something I love just a little more than English and literature.
    If I hadn’t decided to stay in my college town after graduation rather than move home, I probably would not have met my fiance. Or, I would have met him but the relationship wouldn’t have played out. That was a risk, and a rough road financially, but it played out amazingly in the end. Not only did I learn a bit more about the balance of independence versus relationship, but I started developing my own life away from my family and their safety net.
    If my family hadn’t started vacationing in Upper Michigan when I was a child, I probably wouldn’t have chosen Northern Michigan University. That region of Michigan can be intimidating, but being familiar with the area and the community and loving it already sealed the deal for me.
    It’s funny when you think about it, but it’s those little things that end up being the biggest influences and re-directs in your life.

    • Laura @ Running Dame July 6, 2011, 12:22 pm

      What part of the U.P. did you and your family visit on vacation?

      • LindseyAnn July 6, 2011, 4:42 pm

        Our cabin is just south of Munising. 🙂

        • Laura @ Running Dame July 6, 2011, 9:50 pm

          Very cool. We have a cabin in the U.P., too. It is in Ewen in Matchwood Township, a few hours west of Marquette!

        • Kristie July 29, 2011, 3:02 pm

          I honeymooned in Munising! Such a beautiful area with the Pictured Rocks :).

  • Hannah Hawley July 6, 2011, 10:26 am

    oooh I love the “What if game!”

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment July 6, 2011, 10:27 am

    My boyfriend and I have this conversation a lot, actually! He had a few missteps back when he first went to college, eventually transferring from a ritzy private school to a big, loud, state school. Despite being incredibly smart and academically gifted, he ended up leaving college entirely after half of his sophomore year.

    It’s 5 years later, and he started taking classes at a community college a year ago towards his associate’s with the intention of transferring that degree back to a state school to get his bachelor’s. He’s in school full time, working full time and juggling a social life and our relationship at the same time. When he gets really frustrated about how, “if he had just gotten it done with when he was in college the first time,” he tells himself that if he had, he never would have been working full-time at our local major league ballpark or living with his roommate…who subsequently introduced him to me!

    It’s crazy how the butterfly effect is a real thing, and how all those little chance encounters and decisions make such a difference in our lives. I try to keep that in mind when I’m agonizing over some MAJOR decision — it might end up being important, but the fact that I chose iced coffee over hot coffee that morning could end up being the decision that changed my life!

  • Hannah July 6, 2011, 10:29 am

    Cute story!! I HATE the phrase “Everything happens for a reason.” My mom says it ALL THE TIME and my boyfriend even got me a card with the same saying a few weeks ago. To me, it’s just another way of saying “Bad things can sometimes turn into good things.” GRR SO. ANNOYING.

  • Amy July 6, 2011, 10:29 am

    I never knew that you went to Pitt, I’m originally from Pittsburgh and went to Carlow College! 🙂
    I think it is funny how life works out, because I think about these things all the time, like “what if” this happened instead of that. I am so happy with how my life worked out, but it is crazy to think about how small moments of time changed my entire life. This post very much reminds me of the movie 500 Days of Summer, if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.

  • Amy July 6, 2011, 10:30 am

    I love this post. My life, and my sisters’, were all profoundly impacted by my twin sister’s choice of where to go to college. Seriously, if she hadn’t gone to that school, none of us would be married to our husbands or living where we are. It’s really interesting to think about.

  • Lisa @ lisa letting go July 6, 2011, 10:30 am

    This is a really really interesting post! I love it! It totally has me thinking about my life and where I am now and what could be different.

    I was in a bad relationship at the end of college that I often “wish” had never happened. However, it was that guy that sparked an interest in me for my current profession. Before him, I never knew a masters degree existed in the field I now work in. I moved with him to another city and because of that I ended up miserable and decided to pursue my masters at the large state school that was 2 hours away from him. I knew I needed a change! Well, 4 years later, I completed my masters, broke up with him shortly after I moved for grad school, took a chance by moving half way across the country for a ‘crush’, had my feelings hurt by said crush, but then found the man I’m going to marry! It’s crazy! I never would have met him had I not taken the chance to move so far away.

    I don’t know if I believe in fate or destiny, but things like meeting the man of my dreams so far away from where I grew up make me think someone was looking out for me and guided me here.

  • Kelly July 6, 2011, 10:31 am

    Ah, this type of thinking can &@$%%^ your head in!!! I am a firm believer in Fate, and that “everything happens for a reason”…you have to take the good, the bad and the ugly in order to get to where you’re supposed to be. I hate that tiny decisions can make big changes in your life (not always good). I thin of this in terms of car wrecks and things like that…if I’d sat to watch the creamer spread out in my coffee maybe I’d have missed that wreck that broke my neck and paralyzed me. You know…stuff like that. I am rambling now, but I as someone who worries and stressed A LOT about decisions, I have to let some of this go and believe in Fate. I’m learning to let go more and to just let life happen as it comes, as it will.

  • Meg July 6, 2011, 10:34 am

    I dropped out of college a moved to Spain after my freshman year. The classes I took in Spain put me ahead of where I had been at college 1 when I transferred to college 2. That put me in the same Spanish class as my now husband. I often think about how the choice to leave school changed my life for the better in so many ways.

  • Judy July 6, 2011, 10:35 am

    I loved reading this and the comments. Here’s another one I hate: “Everything happens for a reason.” No it doesn’t. Stuff happens and it’s up to me to turn it into something useful and worthwhile even if it did stink.

  • Ashley @ This Is The Place July 6, 2011, 10:36 am

    I met the husband at a bar on New Years Eve. That definitely sounds like a total chance encounter, but once we got to know each other we realized that we actually had a few friends in common and we lived near each other. The husband likes to say “we would have met no matter what, because I can’t imagine a life without you” (insert collective awwww). I don’t know what I believe…but I like that my little story lends itself to both interpretations.

  • Morgan July 6, 2011, 10:36 am

    Spike and I just watched this movie last week and had the same convo. Our “story” is so random that anything could have happened to throw us off course. If I had never started running, then started a blog about training for the Chicago Marathon, he never would have started reading it and left me a comment. Then we never would have met in Chicago and fallen in love, and I wouldn’t have moved from Orlando to Michigan last year to be together. Life is a wild card and you just never know what will happen…

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 10:42 am

      So freaking cute that you met your man through your blog!!!!

  • Susan July 6, 2011, 10:36 am

    I can’t stand when people say “It is what it is.” What does that even mean? I think about the what if’s a lot, especially now that I have kids. I can’t imagine not having them! And this is also similar to a discussion I have with a friend a lot…do you believe in soul mates or good timing?

    • Judy July 6, 2011, 2:13 pm

      I often say, ” what is, is.” and conversely, ‘what isn’t, isn’t.’ Helps to keep me from vexing about things and get to work making them better.

  • MJ July 6, 2011, 10:36 am

    It is indeed an interesting topic to ponder over. I really believe that things happen for a reason, but sometimes we cannot help to ask ourselves, “what if?”
    But what I really wanted to say is that this piece is incredibly well-written! Maybe it’s just me, but I can see how your writing has greatly improved in the last few months! Keep it up!

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 10:43 am

      Thanks MJ 🙂

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness July 6, 2011, 10:37 am

    This is so deep 🙂 And I like it! My boyfriend’s father and my father were best friends in school. In Africa. Then life intervened and they moved away…my Dad to England and Rob (Tom’s Dad) to New Zealand. They drifted apart and then 50 years later got in touch again by chance – which takes us to 2 years ago! When they did, Rob said that Tom was visiting England from NZ, and Dad invited him around for the weekend, which was how we met! I love how life’s little ripples can have such a big effect…so glad they were friends 50 years ago, lol! And that Tom visited England. Phew! <3 Loved reading your little story 🙂 xyx

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg July 6, 2011, 10:37 am

    I do believe everything happens for a reason — and the decisions we make lead us to who and where we are today. If I had never thought about becoming a police officer (which does not suit me at all), I never would have joined the police reserves and I never would have met Jason. Not in a million years. Those gut feelings I had about being in law enforcement were there (I think) so that I could meet Jason. I think God has a plan for all of us, whether we like it or not — and I just have to trust in him and I need to follow my instincts — that will get me where I need to be.

  • Juani July 6, 2011, 10:38 am

    My belief is kind of weird.I feel like our lives have ‘different’ destinies – meaning that at certain big junctions in every life,you have to make a decision,and according to those decisions your destinies are altered.Don’t know if that makes sense 😉 I see it like a big tree with lots of branches – every time I make a decision,there comes a lot of new decisions to be made and they all alter my destiny.

  • Amy July 6, 2011, 10:38 am

    I always think this sounds totally wishy-washy, but I tend to believe that life is a combination of destiny and choice/free will. I feel pretty strongly that there are some things that have happened in my life (and perhaps more importantly, some people I’ve met) that were truly meant to be. But I feel equally strongly that some other things I created by choice and by willpower. I like to think that our lives are loosely laid out on a map of Fate-sanctioned landmarks, and it’s up to us on how we get there.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 10:43 am

      I think this is a good compromise!

    • Amber K July 6, 2011, 12:42 pm

      I really like that!

    • Susan July 6, 2011, 2:33 pm

      I agree. I feel like I made some good choices over the last decade or so and those choices opened up opportunities that I may not have otherwise had.

      I can’t stand people who just wait around expecting things to happen.

      • Cara July 6, 2011, 2:56 pm

        I like this a lot 🙂 not wishy washy at all!

  • Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories July 6, 2011, 10:40 am

    I think about that sometimes too, with my husband! I, for some reason, went to college in a state I’d never been to, at a college I initially said I would never go to. It turned out that I loved it there and met my future husband on one of the first days (and, of course, liked him right off the bat, haha). So cool, so very cool how many of these kinds of stories there are! Thanks for bringing the topic up.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) July 6, 2011, 10:41 am

    We watched that movie, too and had a similar discussion! Too funny.

    If I never would have let my best friend drag me out of bed (hungover) to go to a tailgate I never would have met my husband. If my bff had not have worn uncomfortable heels, we would have never ventured through the frat house to find a couch to sit on, that just happened to be in the room of my future husband.

    Some days I definitely look around and wonder ‘how the heck did I get so fortunate to end up here?!’. Although I’m sure I don’t know the full answer, I attribute it to hard work, following my heart (I know, another cheesy saying!) and a little bit of luck or fate 🙂

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas July 6, 2011, 10:41 am

    Love this. If I hadn’t decided to stay in state for college – to be stay close to a controlling and horrible boyfriend.. my life would not be the same (even though I say I wish I had gone away). If I hadn’t chosen Fairfield.. I would not have been able to work at a nearby law firm.. baby sit for my now second family. If I had not done that.. I would have never realized an office job was not for me.. becoming ateacher. If i hadn’t went to Fairfield.. I would have never met my friend.. who just so happen to introduce me to Justin – the best thing that ever happened to me. Theres a lot more to it.. but I can already see this comment kind of not making sense. Woops. (In my mind it does though!)

  • Erica July 6, 2011, 10:43 am

    This is a great post and really got me thinking about my life as well. I also hate those platitudes! The other one that I really dislike is “Everything happens for a reason.” That one gives me the douche chills!

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 10:44 am

      Douche chills just literally made me LOL at the clinic.

      • Erica July 6, 2011, 10:47 am

        Awesome 🙂 It’s one of my favorite phrases, hah!

  • Ginger July 6, 2011, 10:43 am

    Great post 🙂

  • erin July 6, 2011, 10:43 am

    “everything happens for a reason”. well, no shit. (i hate that one too)

    i do not believe in destiny, soulmates, fate, etc. a lot of things had to happen for my husband and i to meet. as they do when you meet *anyone*. if i hadn’t been dating my ex-boyfriend, i wouldn’t have gone to the university i did and would not have met the mutual friend who introduced my husband and i. BUT i have no doubt that i would have met someone else (eventually), married them and had been just as happy. that sounds horrible but it’s true! i don’t believe there is just one person for everyone (i think that’s completely ridiculous actually).

    maybe i’m just a control freak and like to think that i have more control over my own life than fate or destiny. ha.

    (man i sound like a cynic!)

    • Emily July 6, 2011, 10:57 am

      I take the same attitude. I wasn’t destined to be with my husband, it could have been someone else entirely. Its just chance, not fate.

      I think its summed up rather nicely in this song by my favourit comedian

      • erin July 6, 2011, 11:07 am

        hahah. so true.

    • Maureen July 6, 2011, 11:14 am

      I tend to agree with this sentiment as well, and I don’t think it’s cynical at all. Personally I just don’t believe fate brings two people together, are there choices and chance encounters, absolutely. But I think saying that fate brought you together and keeps you together almost takes the “hard work” out of a relationship. Instead I think that every day is a choice, every single decision is a choice to stay with a person, to be with a person, to love that person. I just don’t think “fate” is the be all, end all answer for why two people work out (or don’t).

      • Cara July 6, 2011, 2:54 pm

        I love that “every day is a choice”, I used to believe that there is that soul mate for everyone but for me personally, the more I thought about it the more it didn’t make sense for me. The only control that we have are of the choices that we make and because we can’t control anyone elses choice then how can there be that one person?!

        I don’t know about you but it took awhile for this mindset to settle in…and then I was pissed at disney and the happily ever after/ soulmate mindset that I’ve grown up with lol

        We have are our choices, we can attempt to predict the consequences(good or bad) but due to so many “hands in the pot” its near impossible to be 100% accurate every time.

        I don’t think its cynical at all 🙂 I’ve enjoyed reading the varying opinions on the matter!

        • Maureen July 6, 2011, 3:20 pm

          I agree, it also took me a while to get to this point and mindset. I just think that life is made up of so many choices some with good outcomes, some with bad and it’s not about some predestined map for each of us. Instead it’s how we react to those choices and outcomes that determines our “fate”. Yes, one decision can impact the entire outcome of your life. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t get where you are today, or be with who you are. Ultimately because you don’t meet someone because of one choice you don’t REALLY know if you would have met them because of something else.

          Personally I also think people tend to fall back on the statement “everything happens for a reason” when the outcome is good or positive. I sometimes wonder if they feel the same when the outcome is less than ideal. Speaking from experience my father died from leukemia 5 years ago, he was an avid marathon runner, ate his vegetables, and was single handidly the healthiest person I’ve ever known. Do I think he died “for a reason”. No! I think he got a bad deal with the deck of cards he was dealt in life. He took the bad situation and made the most of it (until the very end)…..and while I know that his death directly impacted certain events in my life I still don’t think it “happened for a reason.”

          Anyways, just my two cents.

    • Susan July 6, 2011, 2:44 pm

      I don’t believe there’s only one person for everyone either. I don’t think it’s cynical. I’m glad my BF & I met and that we’re together, but I think it’s crazy to think there’s only one person in the universe you could be happy with.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine July 6, 2011, 10:44 am

    This post comes with such funny timing for me. I believe that we have free will and we have to work for what we want, but I also believe, when it comes to relationships at least, that sometimes you have to let people go in order to see whether it’s “meant to be.” Overall though, I wouldn’t change a thing about the way I’ve lived my life. Every tiny decision has brought me exactly to the place I am right now, sitting here typing this. I don’t know. It’s weird to think about!!

  • Beth @ 990 Square July 6, 2011, 10:45 am

    Have you ever seen Sliding Doors? It’s an old Gywneth Paltrow movie about two tracks of one woman’s life after she catches/misses a train on the tube in London.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 11:54 am

      YES. such a classic movie!

      • M July 6, 2011, 8:18 pm

        Actually your post totally reminded me of that
        Sliding Doors movie,in fact I was sure your post was
        based on it after reading 🙂

        I am not sure myself what I believe in…I like to believe there are some mysteries and things about life we just can’t explain or know why they are our destiny…

  • Tracy July 6, 2011, 10:47 am

    Oh yeah, I think about this stuff all the time. I also think about how I (the very specific me, myself and I) could have easily never been born… how a different sperm could have made me boy. Or what if my parents had never met? I think about it in regard to my children too… how very random oddities of daily life shape who they are, who they meet, what they want to become, where they may want to go or what they may want to do. Destiny schmestiny 😉 Make it happen.

  • Allie Q (Fit Geek) July 6, 2011, 10:48 am

    Great post. Last night I was actually thinking about Slaughter House Five and how the aliens in the novel say that earth is the only planet where its inhabitants believe in free will. I was trying to turn it into some big metaphor for a post I was writing but it I think it turned out to be a little too muddled and “out there” haha. Oh well.

    I wanted to see that movie but kind of forgot about it. Thanks for putting it back on my radar.

  • Clare - Never Niche July 6, 2011, 10:49 am

    So interesting, I love this post. I wouldn’t have met the love of my life if he hadn’t been my ex-boyfriend’s co-worker.

  • Marisa E July 6, 2011, 10:50 am

    My hubs and I think about that all the time. We were friends and though I never thought of him as anything more, he had stronger feelings for me. We started spending more and more time together- just us two- and one drunken night he built up the courage to kiss me…. the rest is history. Ha!!

    Oh and I HATE the phrase “It is what it is….” Grrrrr!!!!

  • Wendy July 6, 2011, 10:50 am

    I actually think about this a lot. I’m not going to tell you my whole life story because I would end up writing you a novel, but where I ended up is back in my little hometown with two wonderful children and in a second career teaching high school science . . . and living 2.5 hours away from my husband. It was a long and convoluted series of events that resulted in our present situation, and while not ideal, we are definitely not unhappy. And I also firmly believe that our family will end up back together someday.

    I do believe in fate – that we are all where we are supposed to be in our lives at this moment. But I do not believe that we should give up on life and just let it happen without participating. Even if it’s fate, sometimes we still have to work for it. And I also believe through our life decisions, we can change our fate. I’m not sure that even makes sense, but as a previous commentor said, it makes sense in my head! Thanks for giving me something to think about today. 🙂

    • M July 6, 2011, 8:19 pm

      Yes-I believe in fate,but that we can also CHANGE our fate.
      I love the mysteries in life…

  • Michele July 6, 2011, 10:52 am

    I couldn’t have said this any better myself. This is an excellent way to look at like, even though you at some point felt you were dealt the worst hand of cards,if that never happened you wouldn’t be at point B. I am sure all of your readers can relate to this and reading this just reassures us all that you should be happy with what you have and how things led to it because it could be worse.

  • Mary ( What's Cookin' with Mary) July 6, 2011, 10:52 am

    When I was deciding where to go to college, I was dating ‘the wrong guy’. Without him I probably would have gone away to school and would then have never fell in love with Brian. B & I were friends, but became close when he moved around the corner from my college and I started spending tons of time together (read every day & night). Thanks ‘wrong guy’! lol

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove July 6, 2011, 10:52 am

    I love playing that game! Life is really a “Choice Your Own Ending” adventure book, we just never know what weight what choice carries!

    Here is a good one:
    My husband invited his golf buddy to our wedding. He couldn’t make it due to a business trip to London. Due to a series of delayed flights, his trip was postponed for 2 days and he made our wedding. There his buddy danced the night away with my baby sister and in 2 months they are getting married!!!

  • Aimee July 6, 2011, 10:57 am

    I do believe in fate but I also believe in taking the bull by the horns so to speak. It’s important not to wait for life to happen, follow your dreams and live them. I do love the story of how my husband and I met, and I truly believe that there was an intervention of fate at work. Had my dental records not been lost in the mail I would have served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia rather than Mozambique where I eventually met my husband. My life has certainly taken a variety of twists and turns to lead me to where I am today. Interesting topic, lots to think about.

  • Lindsey July 6, 2011, 11:02 am

    Love this post! I do believe in destiny for sure 🙂 There are so many (little) things in life that have added up to where I am today. My best example is my hubby applying to go to University to be an Engineer, and at last minute was told his one mark wasn’t high enough – this prompted him to switch schools and programs to where I was and how we met – almost 9 years ago! After a year of watching my the boyfriends in his program I also realized that my current program wasn’t where I wanted to be and switched to the same program as him. I love what I do and could not imagnine if I had stuck with the previous program!

  • Evan July 6, 2011, 11:08 am

    I love this and think about “life charting” quite often.

    Had I not been in a serious relationship with a film major in college, I wouldn’t have started interning at the magazine where I work now. He did video editing for a national food magazine and encouraged me to apply for the (first) editorial intern position! So I did, and I fell in love with food writing, and I got my first job during my senior year of college, even though the relationship fell apart 2 years prior. Like you, from heartbreak came a great opportunity!

    Had I not applied to NYU on a total whim, despite my parents’ disapproval (they didn’t want to drop the $$) and so-so SAT scores, I wouldn’t have gotten in. And I wouldn’t have spent 4 years in New York City, where I realized that a food writing career is what makes me tick.

    You know what? I might have to do a post about this topic, too. Thanks for the inspiration, Caitlin! 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 11:57 am

      Can’t wait to read it Evan!

  • Sarah for Real July 6, 2011, 11:09 am

    I love these kinds of stories! Here’s mine:

    My husband’s Freshman dorm roommate was friends with some other guys they all met at Freshman orientation weeks before school started. One of these randomly met friends of his liked to randomly call campus phone numbers trying to find girls dorm rooms (creepy no?). They ended up calling some girls that actually agreed to hang out.

    Those girls lived one floor above mine, next door to a girl who I’d met because we were both honor’s architecture students and became friends in our shared class.

    So those guys and girls were all friends throughout freshman year but I didn’t meet the guys myself until sophomore year at a party the girl from my classes was throwing. My future husband was drinking pink wine from a box and had a paper bag on his head. It was love at first sight.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 11:17 am

      Pink wine gets me every time.

  • Heather July 6, 2011, 11:11 am

    whata great post! I may steal it and do one on my blog. I believe we have free will, but I also believe, being a Christian, that God already knows what we will choose.

  • Stephanie July 6, 2011, 11:14 am

    I love the concept behind this post! I would have never met my fiance if not for his expired passport. He was supposed to be on a 2-week vacation in Europe with his family when I met him. But he didn’t realize his passport was 10 days expired. So he had to stay behind and cat-sit for his parents. His parents lived next door to the house my good friends were renting. My friend also knew him from high school and invited him out with us one night. One thing led to another, all because of an expired passport. And now we’re getting married next May! If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.

  • Michelle July 6, 2011, 11:19 am

    SOmetimes I think about that kind of stuff. If I never went to UVic and graduated with an English degree and made the decision to travel overseas to South Korea to teach, I never would have met my husband who is in the US Army and was stationed there. If I never went out to eat dinner that night and ended up talking to him randomly outside of a bar, I wouldn’t be living in the USA and wouldn’t be married to him. I’m so glad I went to Korea and so glad I got plastered that night and worked up the courage to talk to him 🙂

  • jen @ taste life July 6, 2011, 11:20 am

    Sometimes I think about how amazing it is that things are the way they are in my life! If one little thing had been different things, wouldn’t be this way. It’s both interesting and frightening to think about! I met my significant other when he came down to visit friends, and I happened to be a friend of theirs, too. I had gotten out of a long relationship just months before. One of the mutual friends’ father died while he was visiting and he ended up staying an extra week to care for their dogs, which meant us spending more time together. Now we’ve been together almost five years, but so many things could have prevented us from even meeting! Crazy. And career stuff, too. So many little ripples that have had an impact on where my career has gone. Great topic!

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian) July 6, 2011, 11:21 am

    This is so funny. Hubby and I were just talking about this on Sunday (our 1st wedding anniversary) and the what ifd and paths that took us to meet each other.

    We met in San Diego 🙂 The crazy thing is, he is a local boy here too. .. well, Prunedale local to my San Jose and I swear to Goddess we may have crossed paths at the McD’s and the Safeway where he worked in high school and I was in grade school,we would go to that shopping center a lot when visiting family in the area.

    Anyways, I went to UC San Diego because I didn’t receive an acceptance letter from UCSB (a school I desperately wanted in) and decided against UCLA. After a few months holed in my cave of shyness I ran into a girl I met earlier in the year and she introduced me to ACTA (transfer group) where I met many good friends and my future Hubby. The moment I saw the Prunedale sign on his wall, I knew something had to have gone on in the universe. He was shocked I knew where his town was and we got to talking. We’ve been talking ever since 🙂

    I do believe in free will, but I also think there are dozens of paths that are set for us and any of our actions puts us on one of those set paths. Kind of like the Choose Your Own Adventure books I used to read when I was a kid 🙂

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair July 6, 2011, 11:21 am

    I wrote a post about this on my blog a couple of years ago and it is still one of my most-read posts on my blog!

    And already 1.5 years later I think I feel differently than I did then, I’ll have to write a follow-up.

    Anyways, I believe in choices and free will but I think that some things that seem to be a coincidence could also be “fate/destiny” it really depends on WHO you are and how you look at it. For example, my fiance and I have been dating since high school but IN high school we were tormented teenagers and our relationship was really on and off. At one point it truly was OFF for good and we hadn’t talked in months. I happened to run into him at the bank one afternoon (and we don’t even use the same bank so this was something not very likely to happen) and we started talking. We got back together a few weeks later. If I hadn’t ran into him at the bank that afternoon I often wonder if we would still be together today, having just bought our first house and planning our wedding?

    PERSONALLY, I think our run-in at the bank was a coincidence but I know some people would call it destiny/fate.

    This is such an interesting topic for discussion!! Great post as always Caitlin 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 11:58 am

      I loved your post Amber 🙂

  • Jen July 6, 2011, 11:22 am

    I give myself a headache on a regular basis thinking about stuff like this. If my 7th grade English teacher didn’t make my assigned seat next to my now BFF, I never would have gone to college with her, and I never would have met my hubby. Crazy how one small thing can determine your whole life.

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good July 6, 2011, 11:23 am

    I think each of us have many possible paths and outcomes for our lives. I might have married someone else, had different children, a different line of work, etc. if I had made different choices. It feels nice to *think* that it was meant to be. I’m glad I went to college where I did, made the friends that I did, including my husband, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t know the difference. Make sense? 🙂 I’ve often laughed at the path that led me to my husband. It was sort of ridiculous, but I’m glad it worked out this way. Fun topic, Caitlin!

  • Nikki July 6, 2011, 11:24 am

    I hate when people say those things, too! I also hate “it is what it is.” I mean, what? It’s funny that you wrote about this because I was just thinking about it yesterday. When I moved to NYC I had been accepted to two graduate programs at different schools, and if I hadn’t chosen what I chose, I would have never met the friend that introduced me to my husband. Some days I wish I had chosen a different school for career purposes, but then I think about my husband and I’m grateful. All decisions, large and small, add up to something in the end. I don’t believe in fate but I really think that sometimes life would be easier if I did, because then even the tough times would be “meant to be” and there is something comforting in thinking that way.

  • amanda July 6, 2011, 11:24 am

    I love this blog. I struggle with that same question a lot … in some ways I would like to know that there is such a thing as ‘fate’ and that there is a greater plan for me. On the other hand, I’d love to know that the decisions I agonize over aren’t for nothing and that I do have some say in my own life!

  • karin July 6, 2011, 11:26 am

    Im grappling with some of these same questions right now and have a similar love story. My hubby always says if he wasnt a 5 year college student, we wouldve never met…makes him feel better anyway:)

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe July 6, 2011, 11:34 am

    I can boil my entire adult life as it is now down to the result of one choice I made in high school that I almost didn’t make. I think all the time about how different things would be if I hadn’t taken that one chance. I really don’t believe at all in fate or destiny. I think that the things that happen in my life happen because I either choose them or I unconsciously set them into motion. Everything does happen for a reason, but the reason is because I or someone else made it happen, not because it was destined to happen.

    • Maureen July 6, 2011, 3:26 pm

      You know I’ve also disliked the “everything happens for a reason” statement but maybe that’s because it’s always been tied to the concept of fate/destiny (as I mentioned above). But I really like the way you put “Everything does happen for a reason, but the reason is because I or someone else made it happen, not because it was destined to happen.”

  • emily July 6, 2011, 11:34 am

    I think about stuff like this all the time. When I was a kid I wanted a time machine for the express purpose of going back to my morning and seeing how my day would have been different if I chose grape juice instead of orange juice!!!

  • Christine July 6, 2011, 11:35 am

    Don’t forget “it is what it is.” No crap. And people of course only say these stupid phrases when bad things are going on, which makes it even annoying.

    I do the “what if” game, with good things and bad things. Always with bad things- if I would have left 5 minutes later I wouldn’t have gotten in that accident, if I… At the end of the day we work for our success and accidents (good and bad) happen.

  • Anna Crouch July 6, 2011, 11:35 am

    This is a tough one, because it has so many “if, ands and buts,” and everyone has a different opinion and view point! But coming from a spiritual standpoint, I believe that we all do have destinies, but we have free will to do what we want (I think to an extent), and what we do (based off of what we want) can ultimately change our destiny. Example: I know a couple who had the choice of adopting a 3 day old baby. They were faced with the decision and told that they must decide within 24 hours, or the baby would go back to it’s mother. This baby was a little girl, whose 24 year old mom was in an abusive relationship with a very old man. In addition, she was so ashamed of becoming pregnant by this man, she hid her pregnancy from her family by gaining an enormous amount of weight. She put the baby up for adoption, but only to this couple, because she was ashamed of having this man’s child. If the couple didn’t want to take the baby, she would take her instead. So, this couple had the choice. This couple immediately realized that the destiny set before this child was NOT a good one. She would live believing that her mother was ashamed of her existence. She would live believing that she was a mistake, and was never meant to be. So, they decided to adopt the baby. This couple actually asked me before they adopted her, if I would be their nanny. I agreed. The first thing they said to me was that it was a very important job because after all, they were changing this child’s destiny. And THANK GOD.

    Today she is 3 years old. She was my flower girl, she’s like my own daughter–I love her with all my heart. She is the sweetest, most caring, loving, friendly child you will ever meet. But I believe it’s mostly because she has grown up in such a wonderful home. I ponder on the idea of the “what ifs”. What if she was never adopted? Knowing her personality, believe she would grow up being a hurt, depressed, under valued child. She is a very social person and loves attention, loves being loved, and depends on affirmation to keep her going. I highly doubt she would have gotten that from her biological parents. And even further, if she wasn’t adopted, I would have never been her nanny. I would have never learned many of the things I now know about children. I would have never had such a love for a child–I probably would have no idea if I even want children…but after watching her for all this time, I’m dying to have them! If I had never nannied for her, I would have never been forced to deal with my eating disorder (yes, nannying her somehow, through a series of circumstances, forced me to face my fears and disorder). I also would have never become so close to her parents, who have done SO much for me and my husband financially. They have literally financially supported us sometimes from month to month when we first got married. I whole heartedly believe that life is not just a series of coincidences. Things happen for a reason; we may not know why RIGHT NOW, but somewhere down the road we will know.


    About 6 months ago I was in a town called Kirkland, about 30 minutes from my hometown. I got incredibly lost on my way to a grocery store. I drove around for about 40 minutes trying to find it. I was so annoyed and mad. It’s not like I HAD to be somewhere by any time, but still, I felt like I was wasting time. Well…a few months later I had a doctors appointment in Kirkland. I left home a little bit, so I was rushing to find the doctors office on Google Maps. I got to Kirkland, got A LITTLE lost, but then realized this was the same area I had gotten lost in last time. Because of my last experience, I knew a few roads that were on the map, and I knew the peculiarities about them. Needlesstosay, I find my way quite easily, since I learned from my last trip! I made it to my appointment with 5 minutes to spare! I said to myself “Wow…I’m glad I got lost last time.” Everything happens for a reason.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 12:00 pm

      Oh I love your examples, Anna!!! Both big and small 🙂

  • Kris @ tryingtotri July 6, 2011, 11:39 am

    Ugh, yes those phrases suck! Fate, luck, karma… my hubby and I both believe that “things” happen, both good and bad… and it’s what you DO with those things that matter!

    My ex-hus makes me crazy, but if not for him, I wouldn’t have my two kids, nor would I have met my current husband, who helps centre my world. 🙂

    It’s what you do with events in your life that shapes who you are.

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) July 6, 2011, 11:50 am

    I thought that this was such a cute date movie when I saw it with my future hubby. We had a similar conversation after the movie. I really believe in fate, and that things happen the way they should. I look back at a job that I got fired from and I’m so thankful it happened, because it gave me the push I needed to enroll into college.

    But I do think that looking too much into what if’s can make a girl go crazy 😉

  • Mama Pea July 6, 2011, 11:52 am

    It’s comforting to me and it gives me such hope and inspiration in my life to all know that it is part of God’s bigger plan for me. Sure, I can steer this ship wherever I want, but Someone Else has already charted the course, and all the waves that seem so threatening down here, are as you say,”small ripples” from up above.

  • Raya July 6, 2011, 11:56 am

    Wow, I almost got choked up reading this! Great post! I think about stuff like that all the time-and currently, I can say with some certainty that if I hadn’t had my heart broken I probably wouldn’t have left Orlando to move to Phoenix, and I LOVE it here so much!!!

  • Kate July 6, 2011, 11:58 am

    I can totally relate to this post—I am currently at a university because of an ex, and similarly was cruelly dumped with no warning. I know that our relationship was not exactly happy, but that I never would have found the strength to end it on my own. Thanks for sharing your experiences; I plan to make the most out of my last two years here, and then who knows what will happen 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 12:01 pm

      Our relationship wasn’t always bad… but getting dumped let me get some perspective and realized how it really wasn’t not the best choice for either of us. Your prince will be there waiting for you! Who knows – you might have already met him!

  • Lauren July 6, 2011, 11:58 am

    I always think like this! I believe in fate in that “what is meant to be will be.” Obviously, there has to be some higher power that has a purpose for us or else life is just made up of a series of meaningless moments. There is a reason for everything! 🙂

  • Cindy Robinson July 6, 2011, 11:58 am

    I listen to The Power almost religiously after falling in love with The Secret. And I get confused alot. Sometimes I think one way, sometimes I think the other. But I’m also fairly religious, so I believe God has a big hand in things too. I try to be a good person, friend, wife, and Mom, and hope that great things come my way.
    P.S. I don’t like the phrase “To be honest with you…” 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 12:02 pm

      I also hate “I don’t mean to be offensive, buttttt [I’m offensive.”

      • Jen July 6, 2011, 11:36 pm

        YES! No offense, but…(and you just know that you about to be offended). 🙂

  • Amanda (modernation) July 6, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Aaron and I talked about this last weekend, actually. I asked him, “What would you be doing right now if we had never met.” Both of us had a hard time imagining it, and the things we did come up with seemed sad, just because we weren’t together in those scenarios. I do believe we have some sort of control over the direction our lives go, but I always am conscious not to regret anything in the past. I have had a lot of crappy things happen in my life, but if those didn’t happen I might not be where I am today and I am happy to be here!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) July 6, 2011, 12:00 pm

    I do think things happen for a reason, but I think our free will dictates that to some extent. There are choices we make that guide us in a direction and there are things out of our control. I think life is a learning experience and I think we choose our path to some degree. Do I think I would have met my husband in another scenario, sure, I think we were meant to be.

  • Cindy July 6, 2011, 12:01 pm

    I think about that a lot. If I had not broken up with B, I would have never gone out with S (which was the biggest mistake of my life) and things could be so different for me right now. I most certainly would not be writing this from the University of Glasgow library, but I might have the kids and job I’ve always wanted too. I’m feeling very introspective as of late as I am freaking out over my deadline and what I was possibly thinking in doing this second Masters degree.

  • Kelly July 6, 2011, 12:03 pm

    This reminds me of the Darius Rucker song “This” 🙂 I definitely think life is a series of choices and then lead you one direction or another. I met my husband out for one of my friend’s birthdays- had it not been for a blizzard, we would’ve gone out the weekend before and definitely wouldn’t have been back there the next weekend. I also was supposed to be studying abroad in Australia that semester, but I switched it to first semester… anyway, long story short 🙂 I do think there are some things that happen outside of our control. For example, I switched my study abroad time because the place I wanted to go was full for second semester- I could’ve switched locations which was a choice, but I couldn’t go to my top choice that semester. So sometimes things happen for a reason, but a lot of it is choices.

  • Cat July 6, 2011, 12:10 pm

    After reading your blog for a year or two now, I have to say that I did wonder how you ended up going to Pennsylvania for college! Just seemed random coming from Florida! 🙂

  • Holly (Faith, Food, Fitness) July 6, 2011, 12:13 pm

    This is such a cool topic and one I think about a lot! It’s amazing to think that what seemed like the littlest decisions at one point changed my life drastically.

  • Sarah July 6, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Oh my gosh I love this post! I believe we all have a destiny and they we all do have a purpose and the choices that we make lead us to our destiny. Serendipity is my favorite word and I believe in it!

  • Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport July 6, 2011, 12:20 pm

    This topic couldn’t apply to my life more!!

    A chance trip to Spain – a flight I almost didn’t board – lead me to my now fiance and current residence in Madrid!

    I just did a guest post today about living your life in preparation for great things to happen. You can find it from my post today. Right up your alley!

    Thanks always for the great discussions!

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence July 6, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I love this post. I think about it a lot, and it really resonates with different aspects of my life, too.

  • Jenn July 6, 2011, 12:22 pm

    The hubs and I talk about this, I think things happen for a reason, but we have the power to follow or reject that path.
    The hubs and I met while working at a hospital together. I had just backed out of my first engagement that would have sent me to Japan (among other military bases). I couldnt see a happy life so cancelled the wedding just two weeks before the big day… gulp!
    The hubs had just gotten out of the USMC, applied to join the state troopers, but denied. He got a job at the same hospital while waiting to be accepted to the metro police dept.
    Amazing how setbacks in our life brought us together. I couldnt imagine a different live with my incredible husband and our two daughters, three dogs, and a cat. 🙂

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In July 6, 2011, 12:32 pm

    I LOVE thinking about things like this. It’s what gets me through tough breakups or upsetting changes in my life –it’s there for a reason and without it something great in my future wouldn’t have the chance to happen!

  • Natasha July 6, 2011, 12:35 pm

    Love this post! It’s so true and I often wonder about my life in the same way! Have you ever seen the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow? It’s basically her life in two senerios one by making the train, one by missing the train. It’s a really good movie…check it out if you haven’t yet!!

    • KitKat1126 July 6, 2011, 2:51 pm

      woops, totally replied below saying the same thing! 🙂

  • Kelly July 6, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I love hearing about how you and Kristien met and fell in love. 🙂

    Anthony and I made out drunkenly in a club 3 years ago in Ft. Lauderdale. That weekend Anthony’s cousin was supposed to get married, but the wedding got called off last minute. If the wedding had never been canceled Anthony and I would never have made out in that club and might not be together and engaged to be married today.

    Life can go in so many directions. I don’t believe in destiny but I think the small choices I make every day lead me down the path that I want to live. Otherwise I would have made different choices right?

  • Sarah July 6, 2011, 12:37 pm

    I love this post so much! I definitel believe things happen for a reason.

    My best example is when I was traveling Thailand, I went by myself and met this girl 5 days into my trip. Her and I became friends and Hun out for a few days- one of which we decided to read our books in a coffee shop. Another guy commented on her book she was reading as it was one of his favorites (east of Eden). We got talking and realized that him and I were from the same home town. Without meeting this girl, and him and I would never have met. However, it gets even more serendiptious!
    2 days later the three of us (along with the girls friend she had met up with-so 4 in total) decided we should all move on to the next touris stop. We tried to get tickets together but the bus only had 2 tickets left, so mark (the boy from the coffee shop) and I took the first bus and the other 2 girls took the bus an hour later. In that hour that the girls were waiting for the next bus, one of the girls had her cell phone stolen. So when they got to our next location they had to deal wiu insurance claims and the polic so mark and I spent the evening just the two of us- which is when we had our first kiss!

    A year and a half later, Mark and I are still dating and it’s the best relationship I could ever imagined. And if the bus wouldn’t have been almost full, or if the girls cell hadnt been stolen, or even if my friend had chosen to read a different book- we likely wouldn’t have ever crossed paths!

  • Crystal July 6, 2011, 12:38 pm

    I haven’t even read your whole post-just the first 2 sentences or so lol! I wanted to comment though, because it reminded me of my least favorite quote. “It is what it is.” It’s so pessamistic (sp?). I mean yes, you have to be realistic and look at the facts as they are. However, I really believe that once you do that, there is almost always something you can do to make the situation better or to learn and grow from it.

    Anyway, I’m off to read the rest of your post. I just wanted to comment because I’ve never had anyone agree with me on this. At least I think you’re in agreement from what you wrote : )

    • Crystal July 6, 2011, 1:46 pm

      Oops-maybe I should be a little less impulsive and read the entire post before replying 🙁
      I was just passionate in my dislike of the “it is what it is quote.”

  • kelsey July 6, 2011, 12:44 pm

    I think this is really interesting. I’m not 19 but my life has taken some unpredictable turns.

    My mother passed away last year unexpectedly and if that didn’t happen, I would’ve never reached rock bottom with my eating disorder. After that happened, I was hospitalized for 3 weeks and met the most amazing doctor who I wrote about in a college entrance essay. That essay rewarded me with a campus interview and a hefty scholarship, which we sorely needed. I’m now healthy, learning how to be happy, and attending OSU in the fall.
    If my mother was still alive I would probably be horribly underweight, socially isolated and attending a community college. But I know how much she sacrificed for me and I miss her everyday. I love you Mom.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 12:48 pm


    • Lindsey July 6, 2011, 1:07 pm

      Wow. Awe-inspiring. It’s not often you hear someone refer to their mother’s passing with such clarity. You sound like a very mature young woman and are going to do amazing at OSU, Kelsey!

      • kelsey July 6, 2011, 2:56 pm

        Thank you! I needed that. 🙂

  • Kelley July 6, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I think of things like this all the time too! My husband applied 3 times to get into college before they finally let him in a couple of years later. If he’d gotten in the first time, he would have graduated before we had a chance to meet. It was fate!

  • Jackie @ That Deep Breath July 6, 2011, 1:02 pm

    I’ll admit, I am one of the people that says “what’s meant to be, will be” because it’s what gets me through the hard times. I don’t know if we have free will, or if it’s destiny, or if things are just planned out for us & we are along for the ride. But thinking that there’s a reason for the bad things helps me keep going & look forward to the future. This is definitely an interesting topic to talk about, we all have different opinions!

  • Ali @ Ali Runs July 6, 2011, 1:02 pm

    This is such a thought provoking post! I have never really thought of this, but it definitely is interesting!

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) July 6, 2011, 1:07 pm

    It really is all mind boggling to think about and somehow I think it’s a combination of free will and destiny. It’s also a source of comfort when bad things happen (and good things) because it’s paving a path for us down the road hopefully for good things to come. Things definitely happen for a reason and some things we can control, and some things we can’t.

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} July 6, 2011, 1:08 pm

    Another saying I hate? “Everything happens for a reason” No, actually, some things just happen. There is not a reason for every bad thing that happens.

    Do I think destiny can plan a role in our lives? Sure. Does destiny orchestrate every little thing that happens? No.

  • Hillary July 6, 2011, 1:13 pm

    Oh, lord. I play this game with myself all the time.

    If my dad hadn’t forced me to go to our state university, I never would have met my boyfriend (the man that I plan to marry). Like you, if I hadn’t been placed on the second floor (south side, even) of my dorm, I never would have met my very best friends. If my dad hadn’t moved to Maryland, I wouldn’t have looked for jobs or moved here. I could do this for HOURS, but at the end of the day, I am where I am. I will be where I will be. I think part of it is coincidence, a lot of it is choice, and who knows about the rest?!

  • Aja July 6, 2011, 1:16 pm

    I’ve done that before with my boyfriend. It’s odd to think that even if one thing went differently, the entire future would be changed. If my parents hadn’t had their horrible marriage, I’d be living probably in Texas or Colorado and maybe I wouldn’t have a little brother or my amazing boyfriend and my beautiful cat. I like where I am, even if my past has been full of tears.

  • Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! July 6, 2011, 1:21 pm

    Very well written post, Caitlin! I feel like I’m on the opposite side of things right now. Instead of imagining all of the different ways my life COULD’VE turned out, I’m at the precipice of trying to figure out all the different ways my life WILL turn out. Do I take a new job offer? Do I go back to school? Culinary or nutrition? Do I stay in my house, move back home, move to my own apartment? So many questions, so many different outcomes. And it’s all those hundreds, thousands, millions of possibilities that are making me so hesitant to pull the trigger…

  • Kelly ( July 6, 2011, 1:25 pm

    I LOVE this, Caitlin! It’s so true. I also hate the phrases that you mentioned as well as the “everything happens for a reason” line. I’ve been experiencing some personal difficulty this year and if “everything happens for a reason”, I seriously don’t know what it is. REGARDLESS – I like the way that you think! And I went to Pitt too!

    • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 6, 2011, 2:07 pm

      I hate that phrase too.

      And also “what doesnt kill you will make you stronger.” <–cringe.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) July 6, 2011, 1:29 pm

    I think about stuff like this all the time! It’s crazy how much little things lead to important things.

  • theresa July 6, 2011, 1:38 pm

    The absolute worst is “it is what it is”. Ugh, I hate that!!!!!!

  • Nicole (Earth Based Beauty) July 6, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Wow, there’s some really awesome comments here… and your post is awesome too, Caitlin! I wonder about all this all the time. I always wonder if I hadn’t moved to Ohio when I was younger, would I have met my husband? Because I am from California and he ended up going to California via the Marine Corps so maybe we would have met anyways, just later on?! It’s so crazy to think about all the different directions. I hate the sayings you mentioned too but they are sort of true. I have some things I wish would have went differently but if they hadn’t, would I have learned what I learned or would I still be going along on some other path. So weird.

  • Katheryn July 6, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Although maybe you and hubby would have met some other way. I sometimes play the same game, but then I remember that I don’t know what would have happened if I had chosen a different path.

  • Shelly @ July 6, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I’m one of those “what will be, will be” people – I kind of have to be, because I’m a control freak, and that notion is just about the only thing that keeps me from driving myself absolutely crazy when I can’t control a situation! 🙂 I do believe we’re destined to some things, but free will can derail our potential.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 6, 2011, 2:05 pm

    What a great post!

    There are things Ive done and choices I made, small ones, usually, that have totally altered the course of my life…like the steps/things that happened in order to meet my hubs, to where we have decided to live, professional choices..they have all been built on a series of other choices, most of which were very small and ‘innocent’ but definitely altered the course of my life.

    Gosh, this post will have me thinking…all day! 🙂

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances July 6, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Amazing post! I think about this stuff ALL the time! It’s so interesting to ponder the “what ifs” in life, and I think it’s healthy to acknowledge that there are many different paths we can take in life. I’m still struggling to decide exactly what I believe when it comes to destiny, fate and if everything really does happen for a reason… but the owner of yoga studio often says something that I really like, which is: “It’s all perfect.” — and I guess that’s about the equivalent to “what will be will be”… but I like it. 🙂

  • Amy July 6, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Eeeek! I don’t like those phrases either…. my least favorite “it is what it is.”

    • Sara July 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

      That is MY least favorite saying too!

  • Sara July 6, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Hi Caitlin- Love your blog! This is such an interesting story, especially because it somewhat mirrors mine in a lot of ways. I am from Orlando, met my husband in Clearwater, FL and then moved to Pittsburgh to be with him because his family was moving there. We went to the University of Pittsburgh- I wonder if you were there at the same time?! Then we moved back to Orlando because we hated Pittsburgh 😉
    After that, the husband got a job in Seattle, WA where we moved and now we are back on the east coast in Chapel Hill, NC- which we love! Anyway, thought it was funny that you have lived in Orlando, went to PITT and moved to NC also. I strongly believe that we make infinite little choices that get us to where we are today. Some are good choices, some may seem like “bad” choices at the time- (even though they almost always seem work out to be the best choice), but they all get us somewhere and they all create our lives as we know them.

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 2:30 pm

      I was there from 2002 – 2006! You?

      • Sara July 6, 2011, 2:35 pm

        We were there in 2003-2004- so funny!

  • Janie July 6, 2011, 2:38 pm

    this made me happy 🙂

    i think about that, too. i probably would have married my high school sweetheart, but once i realized i didn’t want to marry him, we broke up. and now we’re friends. and my life is amazing because of the man i did find – through odd circumstances (we lived four blocks from each other in Manhattan!). and now we have a dog and live in this amazing city and i couldn’t be more thankful.

    miss you. xx

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 2:40 pm

      miss you too!

      are you going to our high school reunion??? crazy to think about, huh?

      • Janie July 6, 2011, 2:43 pm

        i’m going to try! it’s crazy!!!!!!!

  • ashley@cookingforjohn July 6, 2011, 2:38 pm

    loving this topic! i am a firm believer in creating your own life, your own destiny. we have so much power over almost everything that we do, it’s hard for me not to believe it.

    for instance, like many vegetarians, i come from a family of meat LOVERS. i grew up slamming mcdonald’s and destroying pints of ben & jerry’s. but once i started educating myself, i decided to make a change. something that seemed small, but has affected my whole life- ripple effect!

  • Sana July 6, 2011, 2:47 pm

    If I had never started my blog I would have never started wit Twitter I would have never met my boyfriend who randomly ( or so I think) started to follow me on Twitter.
    Either way, I want to marry this man and having Twitter loving babies. I wish the future would HURRY UP. Can you imagine, we are going to have to give our babies real names and Twitter names at the same time??????

    • Sana July 6, 2011, 2:50 pm

      P.s blog idea. People meeting their significant other via their blog. I would blog but I am Indian and it’s all hush hush.

      • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 2:53 pm

        Hahah “Toady we gave birth to @BabyGirl”

  • KitKat1126 July 6, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I love (and yet hate) thinking about this type of thing! It truly is mind boggling.

    Have you ever seen the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow? The idea behind it is fascinating, that one small event can alter everything – and yet it could all end up the same in the end – but the paths to get there can be quite different. The movie looks at two different paths that could potentially happen depending on one small event and then then you see the end of both…

    As much as I love the saying what’s meant to happen will happen – who is to say what’s meant to happen? I want some free will! But I also want the backup that everything will work out in the end the way it should 🙂

  • andrea July 6, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I belive everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the things that are happening are not plesant but in the end those things lead you to other things. The other things end up being so much better than what you thought you wanted and were so upset to loose. I spent most of my adult life being in love with someone who was not worthy of my love and devotion. One day I did something on whim that I had never done before and a few weeks later I met the man who would end up being my husband.

  • Freya July 6, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I hate those phrases too – they make it seem like we have no control over our lives, because ‘what will be will be’ – gah! I like to think I can choose where my life will go, it’s not laid out. I MAKE things happen.

    Ooh I always think like you just wrote! How my life coulda been different if I’d stuck with certain groups of friends (I had 5 different groups in high school) – ie the popular girls, the rocker girls (most of whom did drugs / babies) etc etc. In the end, I settled with ‘the geeks’ – but now I have a 1st class degree, which might not have happened.
    I live by ‘no regrets’, even the bad stuff. I had an ED which sucked – BUT I never would’ve blogged, never would have learnt to love cooking, never would have become SO close to my mum…it’s weird. SUCH a crazy topic to consider.

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy July 6, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I think about stuff like that often. I was as you described yourself in high school. I was obsessed with a boy and he didn’t know I existed. I never did date him. My cousin asked me to go with her to a football game (she was a high school senior, I was a freshman–we went to different high schools) because she wanted to see some of her friends that had gone to college. Long story short, if I hadn’t gone with her, her friend “Patrick” wouldn’t have stopped by and said hello. He wouldn’t have noticed me or emailed me or talked to me. He wouldn’t have ticked my cousin off, made me mad and we wouldn’t have stopped talking. He wouldn’t have found my email (an email I rarely used, actually) off a mass email my cousin sent out three years later when I was a senior in high school. I wouldn’t have randomly checked that account for the heck of it, he wouldn’t have instant messaged me, we wouldn’t have “remet” and we wouldn’t have fallen in love, gotten married … just odd. All over a football game. If my mom hadn’t pushed me to take journalism in high school, I wouldn’t be working as a writer for a public relations department. If I hadn’t worked at the local hardware store, I wouldn’t have met my co-worker who was a president of a local organization that led to an internship which led to my current job. I love webs 🙂

  • Kristin @ Wounded Fawn July 6, 2011, 3:28 pm

    One thing that I think is cool to think about is that I met my boyfriend from Craigslist. We were each just looking for friends. I responded to his CL ad and he then responded back and for the next two emails from him they went to my spam folder, weird yahoo!, and I just thought oh well, he didn’t want to talk but I still wanted to talk to him so for some reason I checked my junk mail and there he was.
    We were just looking for friends and we became fast friends, fell in love just as fast.

    So glad I checked my spam! I’d probably still be meeting lying married men from online if not… haha jk, kind of!

  • Nadine July 6, 2011, 3:30 pm

    These are all great things…but unfortunately, they work in reverse too. 6 years ago I made a decision to move to FL from NH. Clearly the BIGGEST change in my life, ever. I told my husband then that I was worried, being the straight and narrow girl who NEVER takes risks, I that I was afraid of what this HUGE ZIGZAG in my life would do. It took only 4 years to find out. My brother moved to FL about 6 months after we did. My parents followed a year and a half later. My Dad ended up having surgery for what was 90% certain to be a cancerous lesion in his lungs. It wasn’t cancer, but he didn’t survive the surgery. There is a HUGE part of me that believes that he would be alive today if I didn’t move to FL and he didn’t follow. I know it sounds like a big leap without all the details, but I think about it every day 🙁

  • Kristin @ Wounded Fawn July 6, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Oh dear, I seem so intruiging in print. haha!

  • Errign July 6, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I think about this sometimes & it totally freaks me out! I think it’s fun for awhile and then I get totally panicked 🙂

    Let’s see –
    *If I hadn’t been born 3 months early, then I would have been in one grade lower, and probably would not have the same friends, etc.
    *If I had accepted my close-to-full-ride scholarship to Miss Porter’s in high school, then I would have went to a fancy schmancy college & not have met my very best girlfriends or my ex in college. I wouldn’t be living in Asheville, just hoping to find a job and taking the long route to getting my degree.
    *If my dad hadn’t gotten sick senior year of high school, then I would have applied to more schools and went away to college, rather than attending a state school & studying abroad first semester.
    *If I hadn’t studied abroad first semester of college, then I wouldn’t be an international relations major & fanatic. I probably also wouldn’t have been able to travel to Taiwan and Singapore.

    I do think that I should have gone to Miss Porter’s and taken charge of my full potential, but I wouldn’t trade meeting my best friends (sisters, really) for anything. I think it’s chance, more than destiny, but I do think that destiny plays into everything…now I want to write a post on this!

  • Mary July 6, 2011, 3:54 pm

    this is such a neat-o topic.

    I’m a pretty firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that the “big dude upstairs” has a plan for all of us.

    for instance, If I did not move from Syracuse, NY to Raleigh, NC, I would have not met my future Husband and would probably be engaged to my ex bf who I had been dating for 4 years who I was very unhappy with. I’d probably still be feeding my eating disorder and being very cruel to my body, among other things.

    I think that by taking a risk and doing what I wanted to do, Things ended up exactly in my favor!

  • Alexandra July 6, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Wowwww this was such an amazing post to read! I have been thinking all morning about the choices I’ve made and how my life has turned out. I suffered from an eating disorder during college… tried to go abroad junior year but was sent home early… made it two weeks into my senior year and then was sent to an inpatient facility… I keep thinking what my life would be like if I was consumed with so much negativity for those years. I like to think I am a stronger person, that I have really learned about myself down to the deepest level I can, and I am in the place I am meant to be in but still…

    ps. did I miss the wedding announcement?!

    • CaitlinHTP July 6, 2011, 5:18 pm

      It’s was!

  • Michelle@Crazy*Running*Legs July 6, 2011, 4:00 pm

    My husband and I – and our kids – are a result of a ripple. My mom and my mother-in-law were friends when my hubby and I were younger, although WE never met. They lost touch, but reconnected at freshman orientation before college started. We were introduced, hated each other, and went on our merry ways. Months later we met again at a party and after a semester of friendship we started dating and 5 years later we got married. If my parents had never moved and started a business (which is how my mom/MIL met) we would have never met. Their business ultimately failed, but they got a son-in-law and two {super cute} grandkids out of the deal. I say it was win-win!

  • Kristine July 6, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I actually often think about this. I think about “where would I be if I never moved from Ohio to Massachusetts when I was 9?” or “where would I be if I didn’t transfer from a small college where I was miserable to a big university with tons of opportunities?”

    And now, i’m taking a HUGE leap of faith and moving from MA to AZ on a whim and leaving my family who i’m so close with and have always lived near. I originally decided to move to AZ because of a boyfriend who later broke up with me (i decided to move in Sept and accepted an externship for school and he broke up with me in October). I’m STILL moving even thought I don’t have anyone there and am really wondering where life will take me. I’m 25 and always thought i’d be in a serious relationship or married by now. I guess God has other plans for me! 🙂

    Good post!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales July 6, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Oh my goodness I LOVE this post, Caitlin! It’s weird, but i think about this kind of stuff all the time! Truly blows me mind thinking of how I got to where I am… or where else I could be. Seriously, even the decisions my mom made while she was growing up affected me even being born! If she didn’t go through so much hardship, I wouldn’t even be here. So crazy to think about…

  • amber July 6, 2011, 4:38 pm

    That was definitely my favorite post of all time.

  • Mary @ stylefyles July 6, 2011, 4:38 pm

    ack, I love this post.

    that is all.

  • Dani July 6, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Interesting post!

    I hate those phrases, too. To me, they just seem like the lazy way out. I think things happen because either me make them happen, or we don’t. That’s it.

  • Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl July 6, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Wow, what an amazing post.. I loved every word of it. How funny it is to see how life pans out, each heartbreak, decision, mistake, dinner date, etc. etc. Thanks for this! It’s got me thinking…

  • Kelly July 6, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I loved this post! THIS is why I read your blog. Not for your food or exericse tips but for this. Discussions that make you think. I don’t believe in destiny. I don’t believe in soul mates or fate. I believe everything is free choice. I am not religious but I do believe in God. I don’t believe God has some master plan for us. I believe he gives up the power of free choice and allows us to make our decisions much like good parents do. I believe we all make decisions every single day that effect our lives. Everyday our life is changing. I think we follow paths and make decisions on what we want to do with our lives based on relationships, our talents our interests and the outcomes are always products of those decisions. Sometimes we make consious decisions and other times they are unconscious but they still change the outcome of our lives just the same.

  • Julia July 6, 2011, 4:45 pm

    This is an amazing post. It’s so weird to think about how everything could be different if I had chosen one thing differently. My boyfriend of 5 years and I met on a cruise ship the first day and after kissing on the last day of the trip we exchanged numbers and eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend.

    If we had gone on a different boat or time, we never would have met. Or if we didn’t exchange numbers or contact past the trip. Or if I had listened to my friends when they told me it was pointless to pursue a guy who was an hour and a half away.
    I honestly wouldn’t change anything. I don’t know if I believe it is chance or destiny, but it’s a really interesting thought.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) July 6, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Such a cool story!

    I do NOT believe in fate at all. Or destiny. I strongly believe that the choices we make in our day to day lives create our present and future.

    I also don’t believe in soul mates!

    With that being said, Im also a huge romantic so go figure. 🙂

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 6:25 pm

      I don’t think you have to believe in soul mates to be a romantic! And I definitely agree, our choices matter.

  • Katie July 6, 2011, 5:18 pm

    My long-term boyfriend, who I thought was going to become my husband, and I just broke up last week. I’ve been having a lot of thoughts like this lately. I was so sure my life was going to be one way – now I have no idea what it will look like. It’s strange to know that what seems like such an awful thing now will seem like a blessing when I look back on it. Knowing that, and trusting there’s something better out there for me, keeps me in a positive place. This was the perfect story for me to read today 🙂

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture July 6, 2011, 5:38 pm

    Such a cool post! And story! 🙂 I’m conflicted on this one as I believe in fate and destiny and all that jazz but I do think you have to fight for some things and go against the grain to get where you should be. You know actually make conscious decisions rather than just float with the tide. And although I believe in soul mates I do think you get more than one in your lifetime, you might just have to travel some to find them! 🙂 Great topic to think about!

  • Dee July 6, 2011, 5:49 pm

    Love this post- very intriguing! I don’t believe in destiny, I definitely think that you just make a bunch of choices (which you can be strategic about, or not) and land where you land.

    I don’t believe anything is “meant to be”. However, I don’t mind that people invoke those phrases because as you say, they are words that bring comfort at times and can close down the cycle of negativity/anxiety/regret that can come with dwelling on “What if?”.

    I think the “What If” question is best posed at one’s future, not your past (except to have fun with, but not to upset yourself about past choices, which are just lessons learned).

  • Carly July 6, 2011, 6:09 pm

    I don’t believe in fate or destiny, I believe we are all responsible for the lives we live!

    I work with (amazing) youth who are in ministry care, and it’s so difficult because they can’t grasp the concept that the present shapes the future, which is why so many poor choices are made. If “it is what it is” or “everything happens for a reason”, then these kids didn’t get a fair chance. Their pasts will shape who they become, but it is their responsibility to shape themselves, not fates!

  • kate July 6, 2011, 6:17 pm

    Amazing post! Thank you!!!

  • Heather @ Dietitian on the Run July 6, 2011, 6:19 pm

    We saw that movie, too, and it kind of made my head spin! As do these kind of “What if” thought processes – it’s so overwhelming to wonder what would’ve happened if ONE simple thing had gone differently, but I think that’s one of the coolest fact of life. It makes you appreciate the Little things that add up, and eventually make up the BIG parts of our every day experiences. 🙂

  • Jen July 6, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I love this post! I believe in chance, but not fate. I think that we lack control over our environment, the way other people behave, etc. and we’re significantly shaped by the people around us (I would be unrecognizable if I had different parents, or didn’t have my sisters). And sometimes, things happen that we would never want to happen. But, we do have control over how we react to those unpredictable, external variables, and that’s really what’s important to me. I define character as how a person reacts to those unforeseeable circumstances, and while character is malleable and it changes as we meet different people and experience different things, I think that it’s important to see oneself as a more active agent than those fatalist phrases suggest.

    I think it’s really tempting to view love in terms of fate, but I don’t like that idea at all. I don’t think that fate brought me and my boyfriend together or that we’re soul mates. But we are kindred spirits and a lot of different factors, internal and external, allowed for this wonderful, beautiful relationship to begin, and I’m thankful that those things happened. It’s our characters that have made us stay together for these three years, however, and that’s what interests me (it’s almost our anniversary so my apologies for any excessive mushy-ness haha 🙂 ). How we met is less important to me than why every day we wake up and choose each other.

  • Juli @ BlessMyHeart July 6, 2011, 6:25 pm

    “I imagine the possibilities of my life spreading out like creamer in my coffee. I pour it in and watch the cream roll in different directions, rippling up on one side of the cup and disappearing down into the dark java on the other. Who knows where I could be? All I know is that I’m glad I ended up where I am.”

    – That’s great stuff right there. Keep at it, girl.

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots July 6, 2011, 6:25 pm

    It really is so crazy to think of all of the little events that got you to where you are today! Great post!

  • monicanelsonfitness July 6, 2011, 6:26 pm

    great post! So deep and lots to think about. I am going to ponder more and get back to you!

    I do believe though that you attract what you want in your life, hands down. 🙂

  • Brooke July 6, 2011, 6:32 pm

    My FH and I met while working at A&F together and we needed up falling in love and moving to Orlando for schools and almost moved to New Orleans but had the chance to move to Savannah (where we currently reside). He works for BMW and I work for a high-end wedding cake shop. Its crazy to think things could be different, but I definitely believe in destiny. All things happen for a reason.

  • Katie July 6, 2011, 6:38 pm

    It’s crazy when you think about it. My big one is that I wanted to take French in school, but that particular year they didn’t offer it, so I had to take Spanish. Well, almost 20 years later, I’m fluent in Spanish, have worked as a Spanish teacher, and I travel to Mexico once or twice a year. To say that my life would not have been the same is an understatement.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit July 6, 2011, 6:59 pm

    So interesting! I *kind of* followed a boy to the first college I went to- he was a year ahead of me. We never dated but I met my future husband at that school!

  • Molly @ RDexposed July 6, 2011, 7:00 pm

    This would be why the show “How I Met Your Mother” is so popular.

    It might be because Neil Patrick Harris makes a hilarious womanizer, too.

  • Alaina July 6, 2011, 8:01 pm

    What a great post!!

    My husband and I always talk about what if our lives took us down different paths. One for me is, what if I was how I am now, when I was in college. If I was happy with my life 5 years ago, would I have done online dating? I am so happy with my life right now that I’m glad with every path that I have taken.

  • Shannon @ My Life As I Live It July 6, 2011, 8:06 pm
  • Tricia July 6, 2011, 8:12 pm

    If my parents hadn’t gotten divorced when I was 4 yrs old, I would have never moved to IL. Which means I would have never met my best friend. Which means I wouldn’t have a passion for eating disorder and suicide prevention, which means I wouldn’t be a counseling major. And would have missed so many favorite moments of life without her.

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) July 6, 2011, 8:15 pm

    Dude, I think about stuff like this ALL THE TIME.

    and I think you may have inspired me to write a post about this later tonight, too! The Boy often says we would have met through my best friend regardless of the choices we made up to that point, and then I point out to him how I met my best friend and well..

  • Brittany @ Delights and Delectables July 6, 2011, 8:18 pm

    My husband and I were introduced my freshman and his senior years of college. We dated for a little while, and broke up with he moved 4 hours away. After switching colleges, changing majors, and several other life altering moments, we started to communicate again. He was always the one that made my life make sense. We ended up dating again my 4th year of college, and we married 2 weeks after I graduated! (Yes, I was a 5th year senior!)

    I believe that God allows us to make our own choices, but ultimately he knows the outcome. I believe that He is in control of all the universe, but yet we still have free will. He would not be a God of love if he forced himself or his will on us. That is what is so beautiful about it! That is such a deep and mind boggling subject! I’m glad that you raised the question, because I love to be reminded of things like this!

  • Kelley July 6, 2011, 8:34 pm

    LOVE this post! I especially love the idea of the creamer in the coffee as your life choices.

  • Kristen July 6, 2011, 9:04 pm

    I love this post! I am in total agreement with you on this one.

    I also love that so many people have mentioned in comments about hating “everything happens for a reason”. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. I think sometimes things just happen, and you have to let me acknowledge that they are senseless and unnecessary and, well, they just suck! No other explanation. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it. You can get through it and hopefully make something good out of it or at least move on, but when you’re in that moment of sadness, tragedy, heartbreak, whatever it is – “everything happens for a reason” really just makes me want to punch someone.

  • Anne P July 6, 2011, 9:15 pm

    Such a fascinating post – I love the story of you and the high school boy and all the weird random choices that bring you to where you are today. I always think stuff like that – if I had never gone to a random bar a random night in DC with my college friend, we wouldn’t have run into another random guy from college, and met his roommate, who is now my boyfriend Matt. It’s so crazy to think how easy it would be to majorly change things with a simple and small decision, like not going out one night.

  • Anne P July 6, 2011, 9:15 pm

    p.s. Now I want to see a photo of you and the high school boy!

    • CaitlinHTP July 7, 2011, 10:56 am

      hahah no way! 🙂

  • h July 6, 2011, 9:52 pm

    Or the Yinzer version: “It is what it is.” Gah!

    Great post, Caitlin!

  • Catherine@happinessafterheartache July 6, 2011, 9:55 pm

    Wow! Interesting! I think although destiny and free choice seem like they would be contradictory, they must work together. Like I think I was “meant to be” with my husband, and that would have happened no matter what. It’s just that our choices along the way made it happen WHEN it happened. Different choices may have led us to meet sooner or later, but it would have happened eventually. Deep thinking.

  • Kate July 6, 2011, 9:56 pm

    I just watched that movie too! I thought it was awful but it definitely raises questions.

    In my junior year of high school, I had an eating disorder and it got very bad. I was totally socially awkward that year and incredibly smart because all I did was study 🙂 But if I didn’t got through all that – going to inpatient and whatnot – I probably wouldn’t appreciate everything I have now. I am just thankful to go outside and enjoy nature – something I couldn’t do in the hospital, where I was stuck in a wheelchair.

    Even though sometimes I don’t want to exercise, I have to remind myself that I am lucky that I can exercise and do HIIT workouts, run, jump, dance, etc. That experience made me more outgoing and I don’t care for the most part what people think anymore. Plus, I wouldn’t have graduated high school early and be on my way to Russia in August.

    Sorry to be so long-winded 🙂 this is the first time I’ve actually thought of how my disorder changed the path I am on.

  • kirsten July 6, 2011, 9:56 pm

    You really are such a great blogger, you always have awesome thought provoking posts! 🙂

  • kyla July 6, 2011, 11:14 pm

    My boyfriend has told me that he thinks the reason why he decided to come to SLU was because he would wind up meeting me here despite the fact that his ex-girlfriend followed him here and was convinced they would get married!

  • mi-an d. July 7, 2011, 1:11 am

    I think what’s meant to happen will happen. I mean, I know we have our choices in life but sometimes you just have to let go and life always works itself out. When I was 3rd yr in med school (in Grenada which is in the caribbean), I failed the boards. I was so devastated but I had to accept it. Therefore I opted to start my clinical rotations in the UK. I was placed in this tiny town called Winchester. I didn’t wanna be there. I wanted to be in London. But they said it was full so I had no choice. Winchester turned out to be one of the best times of my life. My bf now (whom I will marry) was actually in the same situation, failed the boards as well and was placed in Winchester (and also he wanted to be in London). I mean, we were in Grenada together but never met, but we met in UK! We also found out we both re-took the boards on same day but different states (he’s from NY, i’m from Cali)…crazy how life works out! We both graduated from med school together and now living happily here in california. 🙂 Sooo insane how life works out when you just let go.

    Ok sorry so long! 🙂

  • Julia @ Brides Up North July 7, 2011, 7:59 am

    Hardly ever comment twice in one day, but wowzers. This is a great post Caitlin.

  • Kate July 7, 2011, 8:17 am

    hahah I’ve definitely had the exact same rant about the phrase “it is what it is.” Well DUH, of course it “is” what it is!

  • Aubrey S. July 7, 2011, 10:25 am

    That movie sparked one of those conversation between me and my husband as well. Did the movie remind you a little of the theories in the Matrix?

  • run run rachel July 7, 2011, 3:03 pm

    so weird…just saw today that you posted about this movie…I did too yesterday.


  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats July 7, 2011, 6:29 pm

    I think the whole fate vs. destiny is super interesting (and part of the reason I loved the show Lost!). I do believe that the choices we make absolutely shape our lives – good and bad. I’ve also come to see all of them as blessings, even the crappy ones like breakups and diseases because they’ve all shaped my life and it’s a pretty darn good one!

  • Jolene ( July 8, 2011, 1:12 am

    I think that I ended up wear I am because of the choices I made along the way …

  • Stacy @ Stacy Eats July 8, 2011, 10:36 am

    Love this post! Although I do sometimes say, everything happens for a reason, I do believe it for the most part. It’s cool how random events can change your life in such a great way. And it’s always fun to look back and see what happened to get you where you are. I loved reading about you and the Husband’s “ripples”. 🙂

  • Amanda July 9, 2011, 11:56 pm

    I think about this a lot. I met my boyfriend in the Bahamas on Spring Break senior year of college. Now we’ve been together over 4 years, own a house together, and hopefully will be engaged soon. If we hadn’t been on vacation at the same hotel during the same week, then we probably never would have crossed paths since we lived in completely different states.
    It’s hard to not think things happen for a reason sometimes, but it’s also hard to admit that and feel like you don’t actually have the control or free will over your own life.

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner July 11, 2011, 10:55 am

    My husband think about that a lot. We met because both of our parents FORCED us to work at this frozen custard stand. Although there were turns in the road before we became an us, we never would’ve crossed paths had we not worked there together. I am a “If it’s meant to happen, it will happen” person – I think just to keep a positive attitude. I had my heart set on a teaching job at my husband’s school last summer that we pretty much thought I had in the bag – the other teachers wanted me and I had an impressive resume to boot. Unfortunately, the principal thought otherwise (he didn’t want to hire someone who was married to another teacher in the school). I was heart broken, but what if we had worked together again and it didn’t work out between us? You never know. But, I did find a great job and have made amazing friends at my new job, so I can’t complain too much. Everything happens for a reason… ;o)

  • Ali July 29, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Love this! And I totally agree…if I had never gone through the bad break-up I did, I would not have been out with the girls for a crazy night at a country concert where I met my now husband! 🙂

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