Recently my wife asked me the other day, what my greatest childhood memory was? It's weird but I had to sit back and think about it for a while and couldn't come up with a definitive answer so quickly. To be honest I still don't have a specific favorite one, but maybe it was some of my Christmases with my family and cousins where we would go nuts and have fun running around my grandma's house. Or maybe it was in 5th grade when our school went on a weeklong adventure at Outdoor Ed (YMCA Camp Jones Gulch) in the mountains between La Honda and Santa Cruz. Our entire 5th grade class got to go as a group and also with some neighboring schools and it was bananas. We stayed up late and told funny stories and just acted like wild kids and had some amazing times. Also remember a camping trip when I was like 12 where we went to Russian River for the week and I just had a blast meeting the other families, swimming, enjoying the campfire and just got to be a kid.
It was interesting thinking of some of these memories that one of my childhood friends' names popped into my head and someone I'd lost touch with many years ago. He had a distinct name and so I decided to see if I could locate him on social media, but when I tried to locate him he was nowhere to be found. After some deeper internet searching which turned up almost nothing, I was sort of dumbfounded and then finally an article multiple pages deep in the search from many years ago popped up with his name. Apparently he had been in some trouble and was arrested and in the article was a picture of him and when I saw the picture I knew it was him. My heart dropped. What had happened to him? How did he end up in this situation? I'm not sure I'll ever know the answers but it made me realize a couple things. One is that life is tough and very real and seeing this was a reminder. We all struggle with ups and downs and I just have to feel blessed to be here today especially with all that we are dealing with in humanity. The second thing I thought about was that we all have different paths and when we are younger and are all in school together we feel like we will always be there as a group and things will be the same. As we realize when we get older nothing is the same and life is full of constant change. We all have different starting points and factors that might affect our long term directions in life, and we all do the best we can with what we have. When we are kids we are full of ambition and ideas and the world is at our fingertips, but then when we get older life is there waiting to give us a good kick in the ass. It's not easy and we have to struggle and fight to find our path and place in this world. I'm just thankful that I had enough sense to follow my heart and am lucky to be where I am today. The path of life is never straight but we must continue on our path and recognize that while things may be a certain way now, they might not be that way always and while we are here we can still be kind to each other.