Many times over the past three or four years I have stopped to look back on my life since certain milestones and think about how the twists and turns of fate have led me to the place I am today. I’ll give you a few examples.
If it was possible to go back in time and have a conversation with myself on the day of my graduation from high school, I would tell myself several things that would totally blow my 18-year-old self’s mind. I would talk of a highly coordinated attack on America by terrorists just a little over a year into the future. I would tell of discarding dreams of becoming a video game programmer and instead opting for a “career” in writing. That wouldn't be too far a stretch, but at the time I was not thinking along the same lines as I am today.
The above examples are things that I could never have seen coming from where I lived my life up to that point. Other things like getting married and having kids were things that I always figured I would do at some point. But if I went back even ten years from now and told me that I would marry the woman that I had just met a few months prior, and have three kids with her and that one would pass away in our arms…that would have been simply too much to handle and my past self would have sent my future self back to where I (?) came from.
But back to where I started this trip down memory lane. I had the occasion to take my kids to a local amusement park this past weekend. Ten or fifteen years ago, I would have spent the day on the water slides and once the sun went down, wasted away the evening on the roller coasters and other rides that are designed to turn stomachs. This time was different. I spent the day watching my two most favorite people in the world discover boats, cars, and turtles that did little more than go in circles, and yet they had the time of their (so far) short lives. They screamed with joy, laughed, smiled, and generally enjoyed themselves in a way that gave me more joy than going on the roller coasters ever did.
Take a moment today and look back on the path you've taken to this point in your life. It twists and turns, but your memories will keep is illuminated for you long into the future. Cherish that path, but don’t be surprised if you take a sharp turn tomorrow at the same time you’re reflecting on the past.