“It was from this experience came his oft-repeated belief that every man has but one destiny.”
– From the novel The Godfather
In context, this part of the story is about when Vito decided to become a Mafioso after having outwitted the current town boss.
Initially, I thought this was a very confining belief. Only ONE destiny? However, he did not say that this destiny was predetermined or that we are already on our way to this fate. I think he meant that there is one life path that suits us perfectly, and it is up to us to find that destiny.
The question is: how do we know we’re on the right path? How do we know that THIS is what we were meant to be doing?
In college, the alleged place where people “find themselves” and build a knowledge base geared toward a career, I feel there is a lot of pressure to discover that destiny. The idea of having a specific major adds to that pressure. At least through certain courses, one can better gauge their level of actual interest in that field. I have personally seen friends, initially majoring biology and chemistry, switch to majoring in political science and international relations. They love their classes now (well, as much as one can love school work) and are content with the direction they are headed. Nothing is more refreshing than hearing about someone slowly progress toward becoming who they were meant to be.
Personally, I have never fully embraced my major. As I sit studying details about E. coli that I don’t give a cent about while my friends are studying the music of the Beatles or Egyptian mythology, I sometimes question what I am doing with my life. Would I be more content studying art history or linguistics? Am I happy now? Is what I am doing anywhere near what I had pictured my future to be as a child? (Unfortunately, no, I am not a supermodel popstar living in Hawaii.)
I’m sure I’m not the only who’s had the mid-shower breakdown where you question your entire existence, while reaching for the Dove soap.
There is so much anxiety in uncertainty. As thrilling as having a thousand options sounds, the variety can be extremely overwhelming.
The Don’s belief that there is one fate set for all of us gives me a lot anxiety that I’ll never find out what/who I’m supposed to be. However, in the novel, the Don discovered his destiny when he was 25 unexpectedly. So for now, I think his advice goes out to all of us teeth-brushing contemplators that we should just live our lives and let it all happen. Because our destiny will meet us eventually. And once that destiny is found, there will be no such questions, hesitations, or regrets. There will only be confidence. Every action will feel purposeful and productive. Meaning in life will be better understood.
Maybe one, single destiny can be liberating!