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.