I've always loved goats. For 21 years, while my children were growing up, we lived on 50 acres and had lots of animals. I loved them all, but the goats were the cutest. For years, I looked for a Nubian goat because of its adorable ears. Finally, the year before we had to move off our mountain paradise, I found a Nubian goat at the county fair. The young 4-H goat owner was happy to sell me her Nubian on one condition--I had to take her Alpine goat friend named Destiny. I didn't really want Destiny, but I did want the Nubian, so I brought both home.
Well, that was one of the best thing I ever did. My Nubian goat was dull and uninteresting. She was not friendly at all; in fact, she seemed completely devoid of personality. However, Destiny was the most delightful of companions. She was so excited every time I came to the barn. She would run to the fence and kiss me. She liked to frolic, and she enjoyed nothing more than for me and my youngest son to play with her in the pasture. I cried when I had to sell her because our new home did not have the facilities for a goat. I did, however, have the good fortune to sell her to a gentleman who was getting the goat as a pet for his grandchildren, so I knew Destiny would be well loved.
Having Destiny taught me a lot. She taught me that what I often think I want is not what I really want. I had thought I wanted a Nubian because of her cute ears, when, in fact, I wanted Destiny with her regular Alpine ears. Had the young 4-Her not insisted that I also buy Destiny, I would never have known what I was missing.
What else, I wondered, had I possibly missed out on in life because of a preconceived idea of what I wanted? Some men for sure. Why? Because my immature, romantic notion of the perfect mate was a tall, broad-shouldered man, like John Wayne, which meant that during my dating and mating days, I passed over men near my height. Who knows what gems I never even glanced at or considered?
Destiny also taught me that when my expectations were dashed, something unexpected might present itself. The Nubian goat was a huge disappointment, partly because I had built up how great a Nubian goat would be, and partly because she had a boring personality. But Destiny, for whom I had no expectations, gave me greater pleasure than I could have imagined. This gives me hope for my future.
Why? Well, my plans for my empty nest always revolved around my husband. We were going to have adventures together; we were going to grow old together after a lifetime of shared memories; instead, my husband developed dementia 15 years ago, and my empty nest days are spent caring for a person who has no adventures nor shared memories with me.
But, like my goat Destiny, there have been some delightful surprises. I had the unexpected, completely unplanned, opportunity to teach English at a community college for three years, and my students gave me great joy, joy I had never anticipated. Additionally, some of my colleagues have become friends, and my life would be poorer without them.
There is still much more of my life to live. What will it bring? I do not know, but I do know that because of Destiny, my pet goat, I say yes to many more situations than I had before she taught me what I would have missed out on if I had said no to her. Now, when a preconceived notion rears its ugly head, I remind myself of my goat Destiny, and say yes to something new, heading for a destiny that would not have been possible before Destiny came into my life.
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