Cartoon by Roni Santiago
Cartoon by Roni Santiago

What’s in store for us in 2014? Shall we be able to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves this year?

No man can predict with certainty what is going to happen to his life in the next 12 months unless he is Nostradamus.

I believe, though, that the shape of our life in the next 365 days depends much on ourselves. At times, there are circumstances beyond our control, but often life is how we make it.

But sometimes we find ourselves deciding which of two roads before us we’re going to take, and our decision on such a crucial problem can mean success or failure.

Let’s take as an example a young man who is making a decision on which of two careers to pursue, say, journalism or engineering. How is he going to know if he has made a good decision? If he decides to take up engineering and years later he is only a fairly successful engineer, could he say that he had made a wrong decision? Would he have been better off had he decided to pursue a journalism career?

It is impossible to know if journalism would have been a better choice because he has no way of knowing what could have happened to him with such pursuit. He could only make conjectures of what could have happened to his life.

This is a typical case of “the road not taken.” Because he did not take it, he would never know if it is better or worse than the road he had taken.

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The same kind of problem is faced by a man who is about to decide which of his two girlfriends he is going to marry. If he marries Maria instead of Claudia, could he be regretting later in life and saying Claudia would have been a better wife?

This leads us to the phenomenon called “destiny.” Our destiny is written in the stars even before we are born, some savants say. This means that the man deciding which of two women he is going to marry is destined to marry Maria.

This may be true, but this kind of rationalization hues much to the theory of predestination, a theory long rejected by the Catholic Church. It means there are people born to be bad and there is no way they can become good people. But this negates the fact that man has a free will that enables him to choose between good and evil.

So in this new year, let us not allow “fate” to paralyze us. Instead, let us work harder than last year so more blessings come our way as God helps those who help themselves. We should also pray regularly because prayers can change things.