Last night was family movie night in my house. We watched Forrest Gump. A classic. I was struck by the use of the word "destiny" as it seemed that the main characters: Forrest, Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan were all searching for their destinies.
It's like that in life, isn't it? We are all traveling along our independent journey, interacting with others, searching for what moves us, what speaks to us, what propels into the future version of ourselves.
Do we wait for destiny to find us, perhaps taking the more self-destructive route in life like Jenny did before she finally found peace with herself and her life? Do we follow the journey that was set before us by our ancestors like Bubba was determined to do with shrimping or like Lieutenant Dan had planned to do with dying in the battle field of Vietnam? Do we struggle when life changes the destiny we were seeking?
Williams Jennings Bryan once said: "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
What choices will you make in reaching your destiny? Will you sacrifice sleep to get there? Will you choose to cheat against the grind of life to create the destiny you see in your future? Who will you choose to allow in your life to help you on your way? Where will you choose to go (or stay) in order to fulfill the dream of your destiny?
Will you follow Williams' advice and achieve or will you wait for destiny to come to you, to beckon to your call and knock upon your door?
Yesterday I spent several hours with a new acquaintance. We talked and ate and drank coffee together. As we talked we shared thoughts and opinions and information about our lives. And she taught me about the mule.
As I imagined a stubborn animal in my mind, she talked about how the mule can be symbolic of the daily grind. The work that we do when we really have a passion for doing something else. Something that elicits excitement and creativity, the joy that people crave from the activity they spend eight hours a day or more doing on a regular basis.
I told her about my dream and my three year plan. The frustrations I have with my own stubborn mule that keeps me from the passion I want to pursue yet also pays the mortgage. I have a love / hate relationship with my mule. He's steady as a rock and makes it through each day come hell or high water. I love that about him. He's always on time, never misses a payment and I've learned oh so much from spending day after day with my mule.
Then there's the hate part. The part that begs the mule to do his job in less than eight hours a day. In less than five days a week. To do his job in a way that doesn't squash the very sense of creativity and urgency that I feel when I'm in the zone. Because the zone is where I want to be. It's what I crave and long for like an addict waiting for the next fix, the next high, the next opportunity to snort and drink and revel in the substance that the she knows won't pay the mortgage.
The question is, how do I keep the mule doing his job and still get the substance? How do I find enough hours in the day to release myself from the mule, making him a smaller and much less needed part of my life? Can it be done? Can I kick the mule to the curb? Or will he be yoked to me forever, pulling me away from the sinful luxury of the dream that I can't stop thinking about?
During our chat, the acquaintance (who is working toward reaching her own dream) encouraged me to start feeding the dream more than I feed the mule. That's a tough thing to do when the mule uses many of my daytime hours and brain cells before leaving me an exhausted puddle at the end of the day.
I don't want the mule to win though. One day (in the near future, I hope) I will untether myself from the stubborn mule and immerse myself into the dream. So, in order to make the dream into reality, I will carve out more hours to practice the dream. I will not allow the mule a single minute more than necessary to complete the mule-like tasks that he dictates to me. I will spend more time thinking about the dream, sacrifice sleep so that I can feed the dream until it grows into the reality I've always dreamed it to be.