Life is what we create it to be. And thus life, or creation — and by extension, the identities of who “we,” “I,” or “you” are — are not fixed. We’re not solid entities. We’re not nouns. No, actually, we’re verbs.
We are autopoietic, self-creating (thanks, Gabriel). And so we are constantly fluid, always recreating ourselves in every new moment, always writing the next page of our story with every breath.
We’re all stories.
I’ve always connected to stories; both my own, and the stories of others, whether real or fictional. Stories, and the inherent connection they have to every aspect of life, is what made me become a writer. Every person you meet is a walking story. Every person’s story is the combination of planning, impulses, unexpected plot twists, and coincidence. Every “walking story” out there lives with a kaleidoscope of supporting characters, settings, and subplots running parallel to each person’s central narrative, which will eventually lead them to a final conclusion that no one can know until we get there. Yet, ironically enough, whatever conclusion may be, it will be built from every piece of what has occurred before. When “the end” comes, it will enhance and redefine all of the scenes that our lives were built out of, in ways we never could have predicted. Minor conversations may become deeply important, in retrospect, when our story becomes a possession of people other than ourselves.
Somewhat frighteningly, not everyone gets to choose what sort of story their life is. It may be a tragedy, a comedy, a horror, any number of things, and much of this is determined by such utterly random factors as chance, luck, and coincidence. Somewhere in the middle of this is “free will” and “choice.” These two things are important, but we shouldn’t fall into the illusion that either of them possesses any control over reality. Factors like societal norms, poverty, privilege, and geographical location all form the basis of a person’s story before that person is even born. Our free will is how we respond to the outside, how we choose to perceive it, but the outside has a way of taking back control whenever it wants to. But just as free will shouldn’t be overstated — when so many other factors also play a role in life — free will should also not be understated either. Free will is the only tool we have to craft our own stories, to write our tales to the best of our ability.
The future awaits, and every moment builds to it. Every person is a story. Everyone is constantly evolving. Nothing is truly static. Nothing can fixed. And change or evolution, no matter how improbable it might seem, is always possible.