My brother mentioned a quote the other day, that he attributed to Carl Jung, but after much research I can not find this quote credited to anyone. My brother suggested I use the phrase, it is said, to be said by, so I will cover my behind and use that statement, but I have to believe my brother is a genius with a bad memory.
The quote is as follows “You meet your destiny on the very road you took to avoid it.” I loved that thought and have decided to build another blog around it. Let’s look at what that can mean to you and I.
Brother just called with results of Google Search. Original quote by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695). Slightly changed by Carl Jung (1875-1961). Having now devoted a day to all this research, I am going to have to give some thought to why I began this piece in the first place. I think of all the signs of aging, the one that causes me the most angst is losing my photogenic memory and with that, the loss of words.
Back to the meaning of this quote to seniors, is it worth looking back and seeing where, had you chosen differently, your life would not be the same today. First rule don’t go too far back or you will spend the rest of your good years dwelling on the past. Instead focus on what you might have chosen to add to your life that would have given you more freedom or control over your destiny now. Please don’t say what everyone I know says, “I should never have sold my Apple stock at $ fill in the blank”. If I hear that one more time from my husband or one of my friends, I will shoot them. Let’s start with some small change we can actually do, what did you really want to do when your youngest left for college or when your last child graduated from college and you no longer had to worry about paying for their education.
I had a very interesting conversation with my husband the other day. He is a dentist and a very good dentist but he has never loved being a dentist. His is probably a very good example of going down a road you didn’t intend. Like many others of his generation, he went to graduate school to avoid going to Vietnam, he was unable to get into a medical school of his choice and got immediate acceptance at a prestigious dental school. The choice made for him, in retrospect he might have been better off going into the Army and having more choices when he returned. However, that conversation entailed my asking him, was there anything else he really wanted to do and his realizing he never had a great passion for any other profession. I, however have endless ideas of what I want to be when I grow up.
What would you want to be if you were now getting out of high school or college? With more insight into your strengths and weaknesses, what would you do with your life? With all the new industries and job options what would you choose? With no limits because of gender or race or religion how would you reshape your life? After you answer these questions look at what decisions you made to avoid making a more important decision or change. Some things you can not go back and “do over” but some you can. Pick the ones you believe you can, and go for it!
The hard part is facing what you were trying to avoid. If you married to avoid being alone and you no longer have anything in common with your spouse, you are now, alone. If you chose a career just to avoid poverty, but you are now so unhappy with that career you are unable to do your job well and poverty is closing in, you did not succeed in avoiding your biggest fear. If you had children to save a marriage and they didn’t and now they’re gone, once again your biggest fear, realized.
I can’t begin to think of all the roads I took to avoid something unpleasant. I can’t even imagine all the reasons other people made poor choices. What I do know is, as long as you have your health, and mobility you can still change your destiny. I often think if I only have a few more years, why bother, but what if I live to one hundred, that’s another whole lifetime. Do I want to take that chance?