A Place in the Past

October 23, 2008 at 6:47 pm (2008)

Driving to work today I realized that life is sometimes a bittersweet journey. There are moments, sometimes brief, when you take a step back and look at it from another point of view, when you look at how far you’ve come and wonder where you’ve yet to go.

I’m always surprised when I hear of all the jobs people have before settling into their career; what enthralls me are the stories, the memories, that are tucked behind the titles. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll look back on my life in that same kind of fondness, remember those little moments, and understand how everything has added up to make my life my own.

I glance at all of the people in the cars surrounding me as I stop at a red light and wonder what their stories are, where their lives have taken them. I wonder if they look back on their own life, then and now, and reflect on where their paths have led.

Did that woman in the sedan, dressed in a suit and stylish jewelry, always work in an office? Is that truck driver far from home, missing his family, wishing he could spend time with them? Is it the titles that define them? Or the moments that culminate into something greater? Is a teacher still a teacher outside of a classroom? Is a war hero still a hero fifty years later?

There’s a man driving an old Dodge truck, the license plate the only indication that he’s a Purple Heart recipient, “wounded in combat.” That thought lingers with me, and I wonder what memories he holds, wonder where life has taken him, wonder if he ever looks back.

The light turns green and the truck pulls away. I hope that he still considers himself a hero.

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