In my short life, I have somehow manage to figure out that life is comprised of two elements: Consequence and Fate.
Consequence is stuff that happens to us because of either someone else's actions or our own. Think about it, at some point, everything you do will undoubtedly have an effect upon something you do down the line. Going to college, for example, will put you in massive amounts of debt and financial despair in the short term; but as I am finding out, it also opens up doors of opportunity most will never see. Everything I do will come back to me in one form or another.
Fate is a little tricky. Fate requires faith, not the theological kind of faith, but the kind of faith you take waking up a dark stairway, hoping for another step to be there when you put your foot down. I believe that this universe is too big and too significant to ignore the possibility that an external force exists out there, determining the lives of those who have lived and are living within its sphere of influence. I believe that fate is when things happen for a reason, or when they happen at the most opportune (or inopportune) moments at the time.
In either case, one thing can be pulled from both of these elements; both present opportunities for reflection upon our lives, both allow us to decide whether we are to move on from our current situation and make us better, or if we are to wallowing in the mud of our own misery and self pity for a while. There is no right answer in my opinion, sometimes wallowing allows you to take in the moment longer, until one comes across some pearl of wisdom while rolling in the mud.
In short, Life is a chain reaction, the events are there whether we asked for them or not.