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, by 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. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.