What is the meaning of “meant to be”11:11 PM Wednesday July 22, 2020 |

I hear this phrase all the time. When something goes right, we say it’s meant to be. When we are able to achieve something, we say it’s meant to be. When things fall apart, we say it’s not meant to be. When we want something and encounter hurdles, we give up thinking this maybe is not meant to be. When we want to have something and don’t get it, the easy justification is it’s not meant to be. This belief sometimes could deter us from pursuing what we really want or want to have.

What is the true meaning of this phrase?
In essence, do we really believe this in absolute terms? Things happen because they are meant to be period?

In my life, basing on my past experiences, things don’t just happen because they are meant to be. When I want something, I have to work on getting it. It will not come to me while I sit and wait. I have to stand up, move whatever I can to reach it or achieve it. It happens because I set a goal and worked on it. Sometimes there are a lot of hurdles, in some cases it comes easy.

If I stopped on my tracks when I encountered some difficulties in reaching out for my goal, I would not be able to have what I have right now.

There were many things that I failed to get not because they were not meant to be, but because I didn’t work harder to get them. I didn’t move heaven and earth to achieve them. They didn’t happen because I didn’t work hard and fast enough.

Simple examples:
My childhood dream was to become a doctor of medicine. Not to earn more money but to be of service to humanity. I applied at the UST College of Medicine but failed to take the entrance exam because I went a week early and decided not to go back the following week. I gave up on my childhood dream so easily only because I didn’t want to travel from our town to Sampaloc to take the entrance exam. Now, I didn’t become a doctor of medicine not because I was not meant to be a doctor. It was simply because I didn’t pursue it. It was my decision.

I met a Fil-Am who’s been renting an apartment for $1,900 a month. He thinks he cannot afford to buy a house of his own. I told him his monthly rental payments could afford him a decent house. He found another excuse not to pursue his dream of buying a house in America. He said he cannot afford the downpayment. I told him he’s been working for 20+ years, he could have saved some money for it. He goes home to Tarlac every year during their town fiesta. He brings home boxes of pasalubong to his relatives and neighbors, throws a grand fiesta celebration that lasts for three consecutive days of eating and drinking. His house is open to whoever wants to come eat, drink, and be merry. He even distributes some cash, like P500, P1,000 per person. His ego is further caressed by what his beneficiaries tell him that he should run as mayor of their town. He spends at least $5,000 for this annual fiesta celebration, excluding the dutyfree shopping spree for his relatives and friends, dole-outs, short holidays in beaches, dinner outs, etc. Add $750 for his cheapest round-trip ticket. In my mind, all in all, if he sets his sights on buying his own house, he could very well afford it. So after 20+ years, he is still staying in an apartment. Is it because he is not meant to have a house? No, because he simply doesn’t focus in getting himself a house.

I recently saw my former classmates’ Viber posts reminiscing about college days, remembering every professor’s name and looks. They also briefly mentioned about their crushes, secret loves. They didn’t end up marrying the boys they met in college. They found love at work or somewhere else. We can say that they are not meant to marry their college classmates. How about the two who were divorced? They didn’t end up with their boy crush, it’s not meant to be. They married their workmates, it’s meant to be. Their marriage didn’t last, it’s meant to be. Their marriage didn’t last not because it’s not meantto be. It didn’t last because they grew apart maybe. They woke up feeling that after 20 years they are sleeping with a stranger.

I was setting my sights on something but things were not working well to beat the deadline. I had a goal and thought that it was achievable within a limited amount of time. I believed it was. There were hurdles. But I cannot just wait for chance to happen, chance that it’s meant to be. I have to walk miles to get it. It will not come to me, I have to go and get it if I truly believe myself that I can.

I felt frustrated today and have shed a good amount of tears. Shall I give up and appease myself by saying maybe it’s not meant to be? No. I will keep trying today and tomorrow. If after moving heaven and earth I don’t get it, then I will concede defeat. I will cry, but at least I can tell myself that I tried very hard except that maybe it was not good enough, I could have done better. But I will never say that it’s not meant to be.

dinner in Monterey


  1. No, don’t say it was meant to be. What you are is what you made of yourself thru hard work determination and prayer. You are a product of your choices in life

  2. I could only think of the tagalog word “tinadhana” as something close to its meaning, but that also implies fate and fortune, alignment of lucky (or unlucky) stars, or the conspiring of the universe (a confluence of many factors) that made something happen as it happen.

    1. Hi Eugene, Guhit ng tadhana or yan ang iginuhit ng tadhana. Fate has something to do with the many aspects of our lives like our gender, race, parents, etc. There are also events that happen that we have no control of.

  3. I think it’s our culture’s way of convincing ourselves to be content no matter what the outcome maybe. I remember after grocery shopping one day, I looked at my wrist and discovered I lost my amethyst bracelet. I called my eye dr’s office to see if they found my bracelet in case I dropped it there. I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find it. I said to myself, “I guess it was meant to be!” Then while I was putting away my groceries, I found my amethyst bracelet inside the grocery bag. It probably got caught while I was carrying the bag and fell inside the bag! Then I said, “I guess it was meant to be!”

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