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I'm fifty-one years old. I'm at that point in life where real reflection about things seems to be starting. Most likely more pavement has passed beneath my feet than lies ahead. And with that reality, I find myself with one eye peering back in time taking in the events that have happened in my life and the other transfixed on the unknown ethers called the future. What I'm seeing are a few continuous threads that wrap this entire span of time into one thing that for lack of a better word I would call destiny.
These are the big rivers we flow down that have a starting point where we entered the waters with no real idea of what we would find ahead and no suggestion of when or where we would set shore and walk away. But it was important to set out nonetheless. These are the moments that are our destiny.
Certainly for me one of those began the instant I turned on my television late one wintry February afternoon and saw the Ironman for the very first time. I saw the river, and two weeks later it became irresistible. I had to jump in-no canoe, no paddles-and start my journey through destiny's uncharted currents. The decision didn't seem like part of some grand plan at the time. In fact, the reality was my life had no direction and my "plan" was to use training for Ironman as a fat six-month procrastination. Why decide your life's path when you can avoid it for another half a year!
But let me stop my story for a moment. It's your turn to look back. What random act from the universe put you on a path that you can now see years later was a part of your destiny? When did that moment happen for you when you jumped into the river while all your comrades were calling you back to shore? "Come on, keep sunbathing. Don't get wet. You have to go to work!" These are moments of destiny, were without any planning or forewarning life sends you a personal invitation that has not your name but your heart inscribed on it. You have no choice but to answer the call.
Destiny is by no means a head on collision with the inevitable. Far from it! Few would say that winning an Ironman was inevitable for me. In fact, for years that dream looked totally impossible. Do we give up? Not a chance! Destiny is a doorway that has a disclaimer stating in very clear terms "Enter at your own risk. There's no guarantee of success, my friend." But looking through it you catch a glimpse of something on the other side that has meaning and purpose. And with those two words as fuel, you have no choice but to embark on a one-way journey with no way out except to make it to the end. It's a grind, yes, but one that doesn't crave glamour as a distraction. It's thousands of hours, millions of steps and countless daydreams keeping you in line and on track tending a scratch that must be itched.
It can be easy to mistake passion for destiny because they both light a spark inside us. What's the difference? Passion is something you will wake up early for or stay up late doing free of charge. Destiny will keep the same hours but might require mustering your forces on occasion to do so. But while letting a bit of passion slip through the cracks is usually not a big deal, a moment where destiny is wasted feels like a small death. You know it's just not an option to let destiny's train leave the station without you on it.
Passion soothes your soul. Destiny soothes the soul of the world. Both are important.
Best of luck with your passions and your destinies.