All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo.
Some time ago, I was stressing over an unpaid invoice when my mom said: “Maybe it’s just not meant to happen. Maybe you owed it to him in your past life.”
“What?” I gasped. “No, I submitted my work — at a very tight deadline at that — and they should have the decency to pay what they owe. Or at least pick up my calls!”
At a dinner with a particularly tense atmosphere, one of my relatives remarked that maybe some of us were not “destined” to have a good relationship. (Family dinners. Woop.)
And when it comes to romantic relationships, apparently every breakup I’ve ever had meant the two of us simply didn’t have enough yuanfen to make it last. Roughly translating to “fateful coincidence” or “fate/destiny”, it’s an abstract concept in Chinese religious philosophy that describes the chances two people have in any relationship being dictated by how much your fate ties you together — determined by actions in your past life.
Apparently, animals in this life come in this form because they committed heinous crimes in their last life. But can you honestly look into a puppy’s eyes and imagine they used to be a mass murderer?
Before I proceed, let me first say that I do believe in yuanfen, somewhat. It can be a very romantic concept (when things are working out). I believe in karmic comeback, too. When you are brought up with these ideas, they’re drilled into your brain and become a way of thinking. I’m always scared to pick up loose change I find because “you lose the equivalent of that money in health”. In my more immature days, I decided against keying a car owned by a girl whom my ex cheated with, because I didn’t want bad karma (which would probably come in the form of an arrest).
But I can also think of countless other incidents where I’m told something isn’t working out the way I had envisioned because of stuff I did in my past life, or that it was simply “not supposed to be”. And I’m sick of it.
Must everything in life that’s negative — and even positive — that happens to me be due to a higher unseen force, or stuff I did in previous incarnations?
Blaming the bad things that happen to us on “fate” and “destiny” — and on the other side of the coin, attributing favorable developments a higher force instead of celebrating our own hard work and achievement — that’s just not a healthy way of living.
If you’re wondering about my unpaid invoice, it was settled in the end, after a gruelling seven-month chase (and a tweet). The ex, whose side chick’s car I tried to key? We would have broken up anyway (why the hell should I date a guy who only showers once a week?).
I’m not trying to sound like a cult leader. But isn’t it time we take responsibility for what happens to us and try to control our own destinies?
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