Lifestyle Thoughts

Our Choices

Often times, I always hear the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” To be brutally honest, I used to completely trust this statement and had a lot of belief in it. However, recently, I started to believe otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in this phrase to an extent. But recently, I came to a realization that this idea is often used as an excuse as to why some things happen out of our control and perhaps it is easier to think that something happened for a reason, rather than trying to choose our course of action.

Maybe some things do happen for a reason, I may be wrong. Or maybe I am right, and that only some things happen for that “universal” reason and some things happen based on our choices and actions. For example, I used to accept that I did not end up at my dream school (University of Southern California) because it wasn’t meant to happen. However, the reality is, is that I did actually have a choice and could have been there right now. I had the choice to choose the path to study abroad in London or Paris for one year through their Trojan Plan and would end up at USC for my sophomore year. Or maybe, if I worked a little damn harder in high school, it would have been an easy in. My choice and course of action was different. I decided on University of California, Irvine instead in order to pursue my dream of living in Southern California immediately after high school (I was dying to get out of Pennsylvania, but didn’t feel quite ready to live in Europe for one whole year right after graduating). Nonetheless, I did not know what to expect from this experience and move, but man did I surely meet some people that would impact my life forever. I met a girl named Candy who later on became one of my amazing best friends and also my big in my sorority. The connection I have with her is beyond unreal and that I believe may have happened for a “universal” reason based on my choice to attend UC Irvine. It truly is rare to come across people that have so much in common with you, while also having a significant impact on our lives, but that is just the beauty of one-of-a-kind friendships.

Another incredible connection I made during my time at UC Irvine was with a guy named Michael, who was also two years older than me. I could write a long story on this connection, but I think you get the hint. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that deep emotional connections with others, whether it’s friendships or romantic relationships, those are damn rare. And we have to cherish those, because they simply don’t come around that often. I would have most likely never met these two had I not chose to attend UC Irvine and I believe the coincidence of them coming into my life does not have a specific “reason”, but rather came from a choice I made and the timing of how events played out.

With that being said, I realize that with our choices and actions, we have to own up to them. Perhaps I would have ended up at an Ivy League like Columbia University had I chose to work harder in school, submitted the application earlier, or xyz. But I’ll never know that reason you know? And I can’t just say it happened for some random fucking reason. My choices could have changed that! We have to own up to the fact that maybe we didn’t work hard enough, we didn’t try enough, we didn’t want it enough. And that’s OKAY too. I would rather know that it was simply due to something I did, rather than the fact that it “wasn’t meant for me”. If we can’t own up to our own choices and actions, who will?

Moving forward, just two months ago I decided that I would transfer to another university to pursue a major that is more suitable for me. To be honest, it was a damn hard decision because how do I know what the hell to expect for the next two years? What if I don’t like it? Regardless, it’s my choice in the end. I have to own up to what happens. And I strongly believe that with that attitude and mindset, we can be in full control of what happens to our future.

Whether you agree with my mindset and idea on how we dictate our life, that is all up to you. But I’ll leave this for you to think about. If there is something you want in life, whether it’s a certain type of car, to attend a specific college, to rekindle a relationship, to have the career of your dreams, to have better friendships, it’s all in your fucking hands. Your choices, your actions. Don’t let something slip by because you don’t think you have any control over it. Because you do. We all do.


Emily Duong

Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, but currently residing in Orange County, California. Emily Elizabeth is an entrepreneur, athlete, and lifestyle blogger sharing her everyday lifestyle and healthy mindset.



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