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Things don't happen for a reason

"Things don't 'happen for a reason'. But you can find purpose and meaning in things that do happen."
- Jeff Huber

If you were asked for the top five events that have shaped your life so far, you will be able to name five events and exactly how it is that they've impacted your life. Although, back when they actually happened, you would have been able to tell with far less certainty what kind of impact they would have, let alone say if they would be in the top five events to shape your life. 

But, looking back, we tend to like the 'things happen for a reason' narrative. Especially when it is something bad that has happened. That is understandable. It is a way for our minds to cope with grief and disappointment. And to keep our hopes up that something better is coming our way. Although things do happen for a reason (or for multiple reasons), the reason is definitely not related to what happens after. 

Like Bruce Wayne found purpose and meaning in his parents' deaths and channeled that into becoming Batman, we can always find purpose and meaning in things that do happen. In fact, a lot of superheroes (and villains) have such an incident to spur them on to doing whatever it is that they eventually become known for. 

The movie, Rockstar, took it to an extreme when it made the protagonist seek out grief in order to bring out his creative side, highlighting that we invariably seek out inspiration when pushed to the brink and end up creating art.

The idea is not to seek out grief to bring out the best in us, nor is it to blindly believe that everything happens for a reason and not be curious. But it is to live with wonder. It is to embrace what has happened but at the same time be curious enough to find out why it did and wonder how you could have turned it out differently. It is to be open and to seek out new experiences, ones that will shape you. 

Seeking out new experiences is a big reason why I've resolved to visit at least one new place with a different culture each year. And am looking forward to doing that in a couple of weeks!

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