…I was finishing up my junior year at Agoura High School. Last Thursday, I spent nearly 3 hours in a classroom composing (frantically scribbling would be a more accurate description) 18 and 1/2 pages in a Green Book for my Shakespeare final at the University of California, Berkeley. Thus ends my junior year at Cal…
In the immortal words of David Byrne: “How did I get here?”
40 years ago I was a Fire Department Explorer with the LA County Fire Department. I was planning on taking an EMT Course at LA Pierce College the following year that I might increase my chances of finding employment as a firefighter. I did. For 16 years I was a Firefighter and eventually Fire Captain after previously serving 5 years as a first-responder Paramedic in Ventura County. I found my niche. Dream fulfilled. I had set a goal and attained it. Game over.
40 years ago I thought this was how it’s done. Plan meticulously, account for all variables, work hard: goal attained/life made. In the ensuing 40 years I found out, sometimes quite painfully, that isn’t how life works. At least not my life.
40 years ago, if someone had time traveled and told me what the reality of my life would be 40 years later, in all honesty I probably would have ended my own life. If that entity would have informed me that my life will be traveling down the path it eventually took, I can guarantee that I would not have had the courage to take another step.
40 years ago, I could not, in a million lifetimes, expected my life to turn out the way it did.
40 years ago, I would never have expected to be writing this. 40 years later.
40 years ago, armed with supernatural foresight, I would never have chosen to take another step. That would have been a tragic mistake.
40 years ago I was about to embark on a life beyond my wildest nightmares and expectations. I sit here today and as sure as my pulse bounds, I can say without reservation that EVERY SINGLE tragedy and trial in my life was crucial to making me the man I am today. If that same time traveler offered me the opportunity to change my destiny–knowing what I know now–I wouldn’t change a thing.
40 years ago I embarked on a journey called my life. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t fathom what it would entail (despite my meticulous planning). I consider myself to be blessed beyond measure by whatever entity/spirit that guides our universe. I am wonderfully imperfect and struggle on a daily basis, but I can stop and be eternally grateful for what I have.
And 40 years later, that’s what I am: grateful.