When I was 18, and knew everything, I sometimes followed a path I knew was a dead end, but I did it anyway. I justified the choice by reasoning I was smart enough to change it when the time comes, and I’ll know when the time is right. What I didn’t realize is how I had changed all the starting points of all subsequent paths. What would have been an easy path to follow, could now be gone or next to impossible to find again. At this age I didn’t listen to my instincts. I thought I had life figured out. Wrong path.
In my 20’s I started to see a connection between bad things happening and my “Gut” feeling beforehand. I took chances with my life that could easily have ended badly. I was at a persons home in Portland Maine one night, and we were high on a drug called Acid. It is a very strong hallucinogenic that can cause you to do very crazy things. My friend and his brother in-law were arguing in the kitchen. I heard a scream and looked up to see my friend laying on the floor holding on to his stomach, blood pouring out onto the floor, and the brother in-law standing there with a chef’s knife in his hand. I was so high I just sat there, not realizing what I was seeing. Was this real? It was, and Billy almost died on his kitchen floor.
Another friend with me jumped up, ran to the kitchen and tackled Joey and beat him so bad HE almost died and had to go to the hospital before jail. This should have taught me that drugs, drinking and anger lead to dangerous situations, but I still let peer pressure and my inexperience control my actions. Wrong path.
In my 30’s I got away from the very strong drugs, and tried to think about a career. I had been working for a turf management company and I was rising through the ranks rather quickly. The manager and I were the same age, and we grew to like each other, or so I thought. I left the company when I moved to Florida, but he hired me back when I returned.
When I separated from my wife, he paid to move me down to his corporate headquarters and set me up in an apartment. I was so taken by his generosity that I put all my personal life on hold and gave him 110% of my time and effort. At the Christmas party that year, all I hoped for was some recognition for my efforts. Nothing, not a word. I was crushed by the fact I was so blind to him using me to further his business. I left shortly thereafter and never looked back. Wrong path.
In my 40’s I finally understood what was holding me back. I started to pay attention to my instincts. I stopped all the drugs and dropped all the friends and places that were a part of my poor decisions. I started to see the reality of the wasted time that I could never get back. The years of futile efforts that did nothing but make me miserable. When my parents needed more help, I saw an opportunity to “Make Amends” for some of my bad decisions. A way to repay them for doing their best to understand and support me through my troubled times. They didn’t know what I was going through, but they just cared and that helped more than they know. Right path.
While living in Strong Maine, assisting my parents, there was an evening my mother said she felt real bad, like she never had before. My instincts told me to take her to the hospital, but she insisted she would be OK and went to bed. I will forever have to live with my decision of that night, as that was the beginnings of her stroke. She could have died that night. I ignored my instincts that night and went to bed. Wrong path.
I wrote most of this post sitting in a restaurant. When my emotions took over, I had to leave. I’m sitting in my truck now with Vinny my sympathetic partner, and tears are streaming down my face. When you read this Mom, I just want you to know that I love you and Dad very much. I thank you for understanding and never letting go. I want you to know I’m going down the right path now, never to go back. When I sail under a clear sky, the sun shining it’s life giving rays on me, you and Dad will always be with me. Right path.