Why it’s Hard to Live a Life with Intention When Luck has the Higher Success Rate

My friend Jonathan and I often squabble about how we become friends. Both of our accounts agree on three basic facts. One, it was the second day of high school at the Academy of American Studies. Two, we were in History class. Three, we both were wearing New York Mets t-shirts. The debate ensues there after.

I claim that I initiated conversation with him, saying something essentially “So you’re a Mets fan?” He disagrees. He believes that it was his question. We’ve yet to decide who.

This was a boring story. It sucks. It showcases two egomaniacs needing a trivial edge by which to decide who is the leader and who is the follower. It we were being honest, while it might be fun for us to have something to bicker over while drinking beers, there is almost nothing engaging, compelling, or significant about it.

Yet in its own way, it is a beautiful story. With no effort, I found one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Little did we know we’d go throughout high school as the best of friends.  On a random day, we were randomly assigned seats by each other. We started talking. We finished high school four years later, he voted “Most Congenial”. I voted “Best Personality”.

Upon further review, every relationship I’ve had followed a similar method. My last name is Wohner. Wesley’s last name is Wu.  We became friends. Matt was assigned to live in my suite when he transferred into our school freshman year. His first class with with AJ. Together, we all formed Team D, the greatest collegiate flag football team in intramural history.

Everything good in my life is because I stumbled upon it. All of the people I love and the passions I obsess over were gloriously random.  I found my favorite songs because I randomly turned to a radio station at the right time. I was born in Tacoma, Washington.  How the hell did I end up growing up in New York City? I had no money. And I saw Coldplay. For free! Anything can happen, and amazingly, it so often does.

This isn’t the greatest way to view life. People ask me what I want. I’ve no real answer. People ask me where I want to be in the future. I’ve stopped really thinking about it. While America debated the merits of “You didn’t build that”, I sit waiting how life could take me to somewhere even more great than its been. And whenever it isn’t, why that isn’t a problem.

Independently, this view is naive, but noble.  Imposed on someone else, it’s a doorway to chaos. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked “Robert, if you wanted me, you would fight for me?” What possibly could I do to keep us together, considering I had nothing to do to together in the first place?

This is a terrible excuse. It reeks of complacency. And I hate having to say it. But the best things about life are most satisfying when you realized you have because of nothing did, deserved or worked for. I ask for nothing and get so much.

I don’t really believe in God. Or Destiny. Or Fate.  Which means I do not believe that my existence is predisposed to  experiencing a future with happiness or achievement. Still,  there’s an allure of control that I’m not sure I’ll learn to embrace nor will I hope that I do. It’s hard to live a life with intention when chance has the higher success rate.

But, if I’m ever asked , “Given that the universe did the impossible by bringing us together, maybe you should thank it back by not being a douchefuck?” I’d think about it. And say sure.  I can do that.


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