I believe we can overcome our upbringings and our DNA, we can break vicious cycles, we can defy expectations and blow them away. We can also be less than and lower the bar for ourselves. Anything is possible—or at least that’s one of the things I tell myself so that I can get through the day with some semblance of sanity. Because, hell, we live the greatest country in the world where upward mobility and social and economic progress are integral tenets of the American Dream. And I still believe, I do. In fact, I am the product of an American Dream that my father realized half a century ago. He was an impoverished immigrant who came to this country with nothing but the clothes on his back and he parlayed hard work and grit into tremendous success. Totally inspiring. He defied his destiny that seemed to dictate that he would live, toil and die in poverty and obscurity to climb to the heights of personal and professional success. No submission to the inevitable there. No predestination for my Daddy, no way. Thankfully for him, and for me and the rest of my family.
And what about all of us whose genetics incline us toward cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders? Must we plan on inevitable illness and decline because we lost the genetic lottery? I can’t believe that either, because if it’s true, I’d better get going on discharging the rest of my bucket list, because the end is nigh. My family members are genetic disasters in terms of sickness and degeneration—you name it, we have it in my genetic makeup, and it’s a scary thought for sure. And, as a result of my DNA’s predispositions, I work hard to maintain my health and beat the odds—defy my destiny of ill health and early death through the choices I make every day to take care of myself.
I believe we are co-creators of our destiny. We make choices. And some choices are harder than others. But the right choice has to be harder. Otherwise it isn’t a choice. The issue of choice is complex, and I will write more about it later, so we won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say that defying destiny is not for the faint-hearted. Just ask Adrian. He’s working his ass off trying to break his destiny, and entertain us along the way. And let me say right here and now that he is doing a truly bang-up job of all of it.
Sometimes, on the other hand, instead of defying our destiny, our task is to try to live up to it. In breaking his own destiny, for example, my father created a new destiny for me to uphold and honor with my own life and choices. Do I want to do less than my beloved father? No way. I want to make him proud, even if he’s not still with me here in this plane or on this planet anymore, I know he’s out there somewhere, wondering if I will overcome the obstacles in my path to shine as brightly as he did. Because one can break one’s destiny in a negative way as well, when we do the Limbo dance and see how low we can go, instead of soaring higher and reaching farther.
So, whatever our destinies tell us should be in the cards for us, our lives and our futures, the question is whether we will create our own realities and define our own destinies so that we can either live up to previously-established high standards or blow low expectations out of the water with our stellar performances in life. Because, as Ms. Frost so ably describes, it’s up to us. It always was and it always will be. That is the nature of destiny, broken or otherwise.