Cloudy with a chance of choice

Two days ago, I watched the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which featured an alternate universe depicting what life could have been like for the Seattle Grace staff if the circumstances and choices they made had been different. Aside from the fact that everyone seemed to go around with thinly-veiled misery, the episode got me thinking about what my own life could have been like if I had done things differently.

However, the episode also advocated that no matter our choices in life, there are certain things we can’t control, and however differently we do some things, they still lead us back to the way things are supposed to be. They call it destiny.

Recently, I’ve met up with some people from my past (not any of those), even from as far back as from primary school, and meeting them made me wonder, however briefly, how different my life would have been if I had done things differently. If I had never moved to the U.S. and remained here in that crazy, physically and mentally abusive relationship. If I had stood firm with my decision to go to London for school instead of allowing my father to talk me into going to the U.S. If I had worked harder to find a job after graduation and turned my last relationship there into something real. If I had gone along with convention and found myself a ‘nice Chinese boy’, as Becca put it, and not chosen to inject a little diversity with an interracial relationship.

Inevitably, my thoughts shifted to one of the most defining times of my life. What if I had never been at Starbucks that night — or what if I had been sitting inside, far away from the sidewalk and the people walking by? Would I have just spent the next x-number of months continuing to wait for Greg, the (now) lost love of my life, to come around and decide he would like to try and love me in return, especially after listening to me profess my love for him three times in a year? Would we have had the relationship I had always dreamed we would, only to have it fizzle out some time later because one of us would have succumbed to the pressure of keeping up that perfect relationship? Would I eventually have ended up back at Starbucks after all, perhaps to slump into another one of my crying jags, only to run into Afham all over again?

I’m not sure how much I believe in destiny, even though people who hear the story of how we met declare that it was ‘meant to be’. I admit it was sheer coincidence that I just happened to be sitting at one of Starbucks’ sidewalk tables when Afham happened to walk by and recognize me, but everything that occurred after that became a consequence of the decision I made to move on, thinking Greg was lost to me, and try and find some semblance of happiness — not mention normalcy — elsewhere.

They call it destiny. But the way I see it, it’s only the options we are given that can be considered destiny. Because ultimately, whatever become of our lives is purely a manifestation of what we choose to do with those options.