Life is a mix of many coincidences and many choices. Coincidences and circumstances we have little control over and the trajectory these lead you on when combined with our choices is completely undeterminable. There is no way to be confident of the distinct details of the distant future. Maybe the near future, yes, but the distant future is something we have no insight on.

Saying ‘science will progress’ is not the type of statement I am talking about. I am talking about things like the people you befriend, the jobs you land, the places you go, the things you do. If I had to guess where I would have been a week ago, I’d say home. But no, I was in Toronto for a math conference…

The person I talked with today, Andrew, is not someone I knew a few months ago. And I only got to meet them because I took summer courses and watched Wall-E with him and a few of his friends on a whim after following Elaine, a friend I made by striking up a conversation at a bus stop when I was unsure of whether the bus would arrive or not, on a day I could have skipped going to university. Tracing back this string of events makes it seem unpredictable and completely coincidental, but you may not find it shocking as this is how life unfolds. It’s not a linear path, it’s a complicated knot.

The fact that we’re all so used to the poetic way life unfolds is understandable. There are so many things that are out of our control, like who we’re born to, the people that talk to us, the interests imparted upon us (to a certain extent), and anything that comes from genetics. These are things we have no control over, so maybe we can consider these circumstances.

I think this is why we love when we have control over outcomes. We love having choices and causing things, events or outcomes to happen. But when we trace back to the inciting incident, it’s usually something that coincidence caused, and we took a small action that could have been missed. That’s what I mean by the trajectory of life is completely undeterminable. You can’t know which combinations of actions and circumstances will lead to something substantial. Maybe this is why we’re okay with deus-ex machinas in movie, or absurd plot developments because that’s how life unfolds sometimes.

But even then, we make the choices and act upon them after that inciting incident. People talk and fall in love, not because they met at work but because they talked. I decided to go to my university because of me. I decided to talk to Elaine because of me. I decided to take summer courses because of me. I decided to watch Wall-E because of me. I decided to talk to Andrew because of me. While the circumstances may have been coincidental, those actions were not.

These are just ponderings of life. Little reflections. And I can’t say if what I’m doing now will lead to something important down the line, or subside into nothingness, like many of the times we chat with people, go to places, or do things. Maybe it’s expected that actions with a small probability of blooming repeated enough will result in at least one ‘bloom.’ But that doesn’t take away from the magic of life’s pathways.