Monday, February 15, 2010

Excitement, Stability and Bicycles

For a shy Catholic school kid from the south, I’ve led a pretty exciting and charmed life so far. Yet a conversation with two high school buddies last summer provided an interesting perspective on how unpredictable life can be.

Here is a glimpse of my life to this point: I’ve lived in five states, worked at nine radio stations and an international radio network, been self-employed twice, met numerous celebrities, rock stars and country singers, interviewed CEOs, Senators, an astronaut and Bill Clinton’s press secretary in her office in the West Wing, emceed concerts in front of thousands of fans, narrated a skydiving show in front of 40,000 spectators in Cotton Bowl Stadium, flew as a passenger in a hot air balloon race, did a few traffic reports from a helicopter, took four cross-country train trips, served in the Army, had more girlfriends than I could possibly have imagined and married three of them, helped organize a record-setting blood drive, gave a speech at a hospice event that made people cry, owned four homes, helped a friend kick a cocaine habit and on and on and on.

I’m not bragging or exaggerating, I’m just listing things here. It all seems normal to me. No big deal, really. I’m in the media so I have access and opportunities and over the years have learned how to take advantage of some of them.

My two high school buddies I hadn’t seen since college were nearly awestruck by some of what I’ve done. They were amazed at the life I’ve led.

Here is a glimpse of their lives: One has three degrees in engineering and has worked for the Corp of Engineers since shortly after college. He is a project manager and will retire soon. The other friend is a doctor and a partner in his own practice. Both are still happily married to their college sweethearts. They have each lived their whole lives in their home state, each has raised a family and each loves their lives.

I’m quite awestruck by how their lives turned out. They are jealous of the exciting life I’ve had and I am jealous of their stability. Is one better than the other? No. Would they trade their lives for mine? No. Would I trade mine for theirs? No.

Could we have imagined how our lives would turn out? Hell no.

The three of us were pretty invisible in high school and maybe that’s why we became friends. All three of us played in the band but I’m sure we never had a solo during a concert. We were shy and I believe each of us didn’t have our first dates till we were seniors.

Some factors that guided our future were random and some were planned. But I am sure we had no clue what was ahead in our lives when we’d ride our bikes on the Lake Pontchartrain levee during Easter break. We were just looking ahead far enough to avoid getting a flat tire.

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