The steady falling autumn rain this past Saturday did not dampen my spirits one iota.
One fleece, one windbreaker and a cheap hooded plastic poncho combined to keep me warm and dry. Amid the throngs, the thousands of students and alumni alike making their way into Ann Arbor’s “Big House” for Homecoming, I was transported decades back to when I was a senior on campus.
It was a time of promise. A period of unknowns — intoxicating, energizing and more than a little terrifying with endless possibilities. As I walked into the noisy Michigan Stadium with 110,000 others, I felt the raw exuberance I once felt as a student all over again. This time it was softened by the wisdom of small triumphs, dashed dreams, and hard-won lessons.
Over pre-game coffee with three friends I hadn’t seen since our dorm days, stories of life’s surprises tumbled out. Each of us had our own unique setbacks. None of us had been spared messy, complicated twists and turns. There was enough drama to fill a few weeks of talking. We didn’t dwell on the painful times, though, choosing instead to reach back and relive awkward, comical moments that defined our young adult days.
We invigorated each other with our collective desire to reacquaint ourselves with our playful, bold, take-no-prisoners, sassy selves. In no time at all, we turned back the clock and rediscovered the unsullied people we once were.
Shedding the cynicism that comes with age and prodded by memories long buried I began channeling the impish optimistic young woman who confidently greeted the future. The one who charged ahead fearlessly. Laughed easily. Dared life to challenge me. Then, as now, I feel the pull of the future. On the flight back to California I was also reminded of the subtle difference between fate and destiny.
Fate is seen as divinely planned, whereas destiny offers us the power to influence, to take action, to modify our course.
What walking back in time made clear is that while there have been many events and experiences that have knocked me on my keister it’s always been up to me to pick myself back up. Where fate implies no choice, with destiny we can elect to participate in shaping outcomes — whatever they may be.
And now for more on playfulness. Just prior to Ann Arbor, I had the pleasure of spending an evening in mid-town Manhattan with Dr. Marni Rosner. We indulged in one of the latest happening sites and laughed and chatted our way through cocktails and dinner. We followed up our visit with emails full of links and ideas.
One link in particular caught my eye…let’s talk about sex. A recent study reversed the thinking about the sex lives of those who had engaged in infertility treatment and went on to live a life without parenting: “A decline of sexual satisfaction in childless couples (often reported in the literature) was not observed in this large sample.”
I have my own theory about this. Our sex lives rule! Without the stress of raising children, we not only have more time to focus on romance, we can also allocate more time for physical fitness — all of which keeps us romp ready.
9 thoughts on “Will It Be Fate or Destiny?”
Parallel lives, it seems. My post today also has to do with Homecoming and life paths.
Though I forgot to touch on romping ;-)
I am going to read that study. After I leave work :).
Glad you enjoyed the game!
Another wonderful post, Pamela. I learn so much from you all the time about influencing our destiny, taking action, and shaping the dialogue.
And – great to see you!! (Next time, a quieter place.) Glad the game and company were terrific. May we all reconnect with our impish, sassy, and playful selves!!!
@misfit: I thought you were going to say “I’m going to read that study…after my afternoon romp!” :)
Isn’t it refreshing to see folks from our younger days back before adult-level problems set in? I find it really gets me back in touch with qualities in myself that I’ve let go of over time and miss. I feel great for days after a reunion. Glad you had fun!
great article – it is strange to stop and think about the girl that you used to be – I was quiet and shy, but knew what I wanted to “be when I grew up” – I wanted to work with children, be married and have children of my own – WELL, I’m caring for my mother, married to a wonderful, loving husband and we aren’t able to have children – I have only recently (very recently) come to the realization that we are going to be a family of two – I’m not sure if realization is the right word, maybe it’s …. I don’t know what it is – I think God has given me some peace about this and for that I’m grateful – it’s just interesting that I’m reading this article now – sorry to babble, just needed to – thanks, Jen
LOVE this post, Pamela! :-D Our sex life is definitely MUCH better once we stopped TTC. :-D Here’s to living life to the fullest and making the best of it! :-D
Although football & homecoming were not really a part of my early 1980s Canadian Prairie university experience, I can definitely relate to that feeling of raw exuberance & endless promise when I think about that time in my life. I’ve been in touch with a few old classmates from them & high school, and yes, life hasn’t always treated all of us well or fairly. But the human spirit is amazingly resilient. Glad you had such a good time!
I loved this line, “In no time at all, we turned back the clock and rediscovered the unsullied people we once were.” Friendships like that are so precious. I often wish I could have had advice from my older self but it is true that we can learn a lot from our younger selves as well. Beautiful post!
Here via Perfect Moment Monday and one of my perfect moments today (though now it’s Tuesday) was reading your post. I love how you described your return to Homecoming and spending time with your old friends. It’s been a few years since I have been back to my Alma Matter (the University of Illinois), but I always enjoy returning for a visit and remembering the fun times my husband and I had there during our college days. I also appreciate the distinction you make between fate and destiny here and also am happy (for you and my other friends living childfree) to hear about the results of that study and your own personal experience! Thanks for sharing.