When we think of cherished memories and events in our lives, it’s often from a retrospective outlook; remembering things in the past, or perhaps retelling them to others in a story-like manner. It’s this story mode of retelling our history, paired with the ripening of time and age, that allows our past to appear sweet, memorable, and ring with a story identity.

Every now and then, I look to the past and extrapolate some semblance of wisdom or metaphorical story from the things I’ve learned or experienced.

Recently, I’ve been analyzing my life, at present, in a similar mode. The past few weeks have been excruciatingly difficult for a variety of reasons. However, they’ve also been the most fruitful weeks of my life, as I’m learning another layer of counting the cost behind our lives. Nothing is free and everything has a price. This fact enables anybody to obtain what they are seeking, should they be willing to find and pursue what is needed to pay the price.

A lot of my supposed comfort, in life, has come from money. I feel happiest when I have comfortable amounts of it in my bank account, while realizing entirely new lessons when the account dips below my comfort level; or into the negative numbers. There’s something enlightening about waking up to a bank account that’s in one extreme or another, realizing you are who you are and that will never change.

“All we have are the choices we make.”

Growing older, I’m witnessing the spread of my network of friends. Some have pursued very ambitious career paths and are being met with high reward, while others have experienced failure to launch, early pregnancies, or premature marriage/divorce.

There are many times where I find myself bitter for choices my parents made. However, when I survey the vast spread of my friends and acquaintances, I begin to realize the spread in life success is not dependent upon where one went to school (public, private, or none at all) what clothes they wore growing up (name brand, thrift store, or…none at all) or what kind of car their parents drove (Caddilac, Bentley Flying Spur, or a dirty white senior citizen transport vehicle….or, of course…none at all), but in the mind, heart, beliefs, and choices made by that individual.

It’s at this moment that I find a time of personal, spiritual, and familial salvation; letting go of past bitterness, regret, and frustration at choices either in my hands or in the hands of those providing for me.

This world is a beautiful place. Perhaps I am the product of my parents. And perhaps my mind has been twisted and manipulated by religious perversions of truth…I am a man with free will, choice, and potential to change the tables over the course of my life. And I will not shirk my duty to do so.

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