It's so strange, sometimes, to ponder the turns that life takes.
I've been thinking a lot lately — as I often do — about the days of my past. Typically, when I have these thoughts, I consider the person I used to be, and how much that person has changed to make me who I am now.
This latest train of nostalgic thought has taken me in a slightly different direction than it normally does.
In the last few days, I've gotten hooked onto a Facebook page with a lot of other people from my hometown — basically a "remember when" page about the people and sights, which were in that town once upon a time. Over the weekend, my trip down memory lane took me to my first job, and the time I met an older couple who, for whatever reason, took an interest in me.
The gentleman of the pair was a fairly well-known man in town, and was actually involved in local politics. His wife always treated me like I was one of her own kids.
I met them long before journalism was even a blip on my radar screen, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at the time. Still, they saw something in me, which I didn't even see in myself.
As the months progressed, I'd run into them once in a while, whether at my job or somewhere else entirely. On one of these occasions, the gentleman told me he would vouch for me in an effort to help me get into a good college.
I don't know why he wanted to do that for me. I never will know, either, because I didn't take him up on the offer. The thought of college scared me, and as I said, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was too scared, and too selfish, to make any changes in my life.
As the years passed, a number of changes happened, including the long-overdue decision to enter the ranks of college. Of course, the time I finally made that leap, the man who made an effort to stick his neck out for me, had passed away. I haven't seen his wife in years, either.
I often wonder what they would think of the person I have become, realizing that I have a long way to go toward being the person I should be.
As I ponder the past, I'm left with the question of unrealized possibilities. What if I had taken that couple's advice, and gone to college directly out of high school, instead of waiting a while? I might be further along in my career, but which one?
There's no guarantee that I would have developed a love for journalism, since that is something I began cultivating after I met people who were in college the same time I was. I probably wouldn't be married to the person who is my wife today, since I met her when she and I attended college together.
We also wouldn't have our little girl, and I cannot imagine my life without her.
I guess what it all comes down to, for me, is a realization that I don't call the shots in my life. God ordained and orchestrated every step I have taken, including my moments of insecurity and selfishness, and has given me more than I could have ever dreamed of.
Part of me will always regret turning away the offer of help, in my younger years, because I think I would have enjoyed making that older couple proud of me. Certainly, I'll never forget their kindness to me.
But, God had a better plan for my life than they, or I, could have created on our own.
Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald.