Friday, July 27, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

If you're like me, most songs have a vivid memory attached to them.

Last week I was listening to my iPod and the song Somewhere from Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album began playing.

During my sophomore year of college, my friend Laura Kretokos skated to this song during one of the Miami University hockey games. I have long since lost contact with her, but I can still see her in my mind as she performed in front of hundreds of my college classmates.

As I listened to this song, I realized that Laura was just one of the many people who slightly nudged my life down the mysterious path of who I am.

I went Miami because a number of people from high school were going there. My dear friend Elizabeth also attended Miami and was much more socially comfortable than I. She was in a sorority and networked like nobody's business. As a sophomore, I began my darkest of years, with so many of my freshman friends now in fraternities or serving as RA's. The year before I rushed and applied for both but was not invited to join either group. That left me scrambling to find roommates for the next year. But there is a reason for everything.

Elizabeth introduced to me Laura, who turned out to be in my dorm that sophomore year. She had two suite mates, who took me under their wing that first semester and the two of them connected me to the Alpha-Phi-Omega service fraternity. And that second semester, I pledged and blossomed socially...as my 1.3 GPA would indicate.

A-Phi-O connected me to a wealth of friends including a wonderful woman named Chrissy. She was the beer chugging champion of A-Phi-O and we became fast buddies. After graduation, Chrissy moved out to Washington, DC. A year later, I decided to hoist my sails from Chicago and head east to join her & a few others from college.

It was three months into my DC venture when I began contemplating if being a waiter would be my destiny. Then Chrissy came home with a job announcement from her company. Two weeks later, I was hired as a meeting planner.

I hated the boss but loved the company. There was soon an opening in another department and I made the jump. The new boss was great and quickly became my friend.

And then, after a year or so, stopped being my boss and became my partner. Through that company we met two amazing ladies who wanted to be moms. And we all know where that led. :)

Stop and look where you are right now today. It's amazing see all the minuscule connections and decisions that would eventually get you and me to this point.

If Elizabeth had gone to another college.
If I hadn't gotten into the same dorm as Laura.
If Chrissy went a different city instead of DC.
If I didn't find the guts to pack a U-haul and move without a job.
If I found my own job instead of taking the one at Chrissy's company.

If...if...if

This is what life is...a whole bunch of "ifs". Each orchestrated with thousands of different endings that wouldn't exist without the prior one occurring.

The spouses and kids we write about today, might have been so much different if just ONE of our endings had gone awry. Sure we'd have kids, but would they be the same cast we've loved after all these years? Can you imagine a life without Peanut, Cheeky, the Goon Squad, 3B, Clare, Baby R, Sweet Pea & the Monk, or Lil Dubya? I can't.

Take a look at your path. So many times it's easy to see some bad situations. But honestly, all of them led to where you and I are today. I'm not sure if want to change that. Would you?

7 Comments:

Blogger Whit said...

I think that all the time. I have plenty of regrets, well, I have a few, but then again, to few to mention... but I digress.

They have brought me to this exact point, and while there may have been riches or ruin down other paths, I wouldn't trade what I've got.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I am often amazed how my life has turned out and how it got that way. Sometimes I get frustrated when I don't have as much control over my life as I'd like but then I end up in a fantastic place that I never knew existed. Fate? Happenstance? Whatever, it's still great.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Dad Stuff said...

I sometimes wonder if I have any control at all. But it is fun, sometimes, to guess at what the future could have been if small things were different.
The only thing I would change if I could would be to have eaten more Snicker Bars in my youth.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Great post! Amazing what hearing a showtune makes you think of, isn't it? All I think of when I hear "Somewhere" is that I never got to play Riff.

You're right though. Even what may not be the best decisions got us where we are today. And that's not such a bad thing.

1:41 AM  
Blogger Mark D said...

Other than the fact that I have never actually associated a Barbara Streisand song with ... well, anything, I can relate.

The story of how The Mrs. and I met is one of those "a million things could have made the meeting impossible, yet everything went right" type of deals that makes me believe that everything -- good and bad -- happens for a reason.

It may not always be a good reason, but a reason nonetheless.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

Loved the post . . . it actually made me teary eyed a bit. Some how I think you had a partner in the 1.3 GPA (not me . . . but I've heard the stories). I spend a lot of time wondering what would have happened if I zigged instead of zagging. For some reason, I have to believe that everything would work out the same way.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Crazy Computer Dad said...

Steve,
This was a great post. My life has been full of craziness for so long I rarely think about the connections that got me to where I am. I have a few "what the hell was I thinking" or "why the hell wasn't I thinking" moments, but the broken road has had some incredible moments too. I'm with Mark D about Streisand, but Rascal Flats "Broken Road" comes to mind.

11:01 PM  

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