I could go on, but I think you get the point. Fate – in all of its forms takes us to places we may never in our wildest imaginations have thought to go. Take me for instance. My entire childhood was filled with hopes and dreams of one day becoming a fire fighter. I don’t know why. I just knew that becoming a fire fighter was what I needed to become. And that path did become reality , when in 1972, the Air Force made me a Fire fighter.
But fate had other plans for me. So in April 1974, when a car smashed into me while I was riding a motorcycle, crushing my foot and ankle and rendering me disqualified to continue my career as a fire fighter, I thought the world was coming down. A year later, the Air Force sent me to school to become a Veterinary Technician. Sounds good. I always enjoyed animals. Fate must have wanted me to do this or the accident would not have happened. Yea…I said that to myself over and over again.
The thing about titles in the military is that they are often times misleading. Yes, I had become a veterinary technician, but the name had almost nothing to do with the actual job. The job was primarily public health, and public health related activities. Food inspection, food service facility inspections, field sanitation and hygiene, and other jobs necessary to protect the public health. I once asked “why us?” I was told that Veterinarians are trained in herd health. Keeping large populations of animals healthy. Is wasn’t a big stretch to make Veterinarians in charge of public health activities. I enjoyed the work. Over time, I became very good at my job. In 1977, the Air Force shipped me, my wife, a son – one year old, and a daughter, 3 months old to Germany. It was hard, but satisfying work. I settled to a life I felt fate had handed me. I took college courses at night. I hated English literature and composition! I worked hard and in 1982, when we returned to the USA, I was given a special assignment at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.
At least I thought so, but only three months into the special job, I quit. Yes, in that job the Air Force allowed a person to – “opt out” of that special duty. I will not talk about that. But, once I quit I found myself back in a regular base level public health job. Fate had stepped in and brought me back to the job I was supposed to do. Or at least I thought!
A year later, one of the doctors I had worked with in the past offered me a job teaching at the School of Aerospace Medicine. Of course I took the job.
And I flourished in the rich, scholastic environment. I loved teaching, and because I was also kind of a “ham”, my prowess as a teacher became widely known throughout the military public health community. But, as all things in life, this good thing came to an end. Once again fate stepped in and set me in a new direction. This time I would go overseas without my family to become the Superintendent of Aerospace Medicine at a notorious Air Force Base. RAF Greenham Common.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with RAF Greenham Common, it was the site of “ground launch cruise missiles” armed with nuclear weapons. There were “Peace Women” camped permanently at the front gate in protest, and the base activities were often found in world news. The truth is, the mission on this base was an instrumental part of winning the cold was. Ronald Reagan drove the USSR nuts with the ability to move around nuclear weapons at will. In the end, the job was too stressful and fate once again raised its head. I had a heart attack in the fall of 1989 and died.
Luckily I worked in a medical facility and was revived. After more than a year of hospitals, the Air Force decided i was no longer capable of remaining on active duty. So in the summer of 1990, as fate would have it I was retired from the military.
It was at this point in my life that I felt that fate had abandon me. I was not ready to leave the military and support my family. We had no plans, and very little money. I was wrong. Fate was in control all the time and took me through many jobs and countless new experiences. I even wrote a management book in 1999, not knowing that a decade from then I would become a writer. And in 2007, when I emerged from hospice, instead of seeing a shrink, I began to write.
Well, two blogs, and three books later, I am a 59 year old husband, father and grandfather who has unknowingly fallen into my last occupation. Writer.
Yes, I admit – fate has everything to do with where we are, and where we are going. Sure we may guide fate from time to time, and we might believe that we are at a point of time that is either positive or negative and there is nothing we can do about it. I thought so too. Just wait… If you listen carefully, you will hear fate – knocking on your door – and changing your destiny.