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Looking back on life grants perspective

It makes me feel old whenever I ask a younger airman where they were during 9/11.

One recently told me that he was in kindergarten when the second tower came down. I was a senior in high school at the time.

Another thing that gets me is when I talk to them about the movies of my childhood. It upsets me when one of them hasn’t seen “Aladdin” or the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

But after having these conversations, I’m left with one indisputable fact: I’m getting old.

I don’t know where my 20s went, but in one week I’ll be 30. I’m now going to be the same age my parents were when they had me.

Birthdays that end in zero are always the most important ones in our lives, or at least they’re the most celebrated. For some reason, these birthdays make us reflect on the lives we’ve led and how we’ve changed thus far.

When I was 10 years old, my parents were married, I lived in California, and my best friend was a boy named Clint. By the time I turned 20, none of this was true.

My parents divorced when I was 11, my mom remarried and moved to Indiana when I was 12, and I never spoke to Clint again.

By the time I was 20, I was in the Air Force. I had met three guys whom I considered to be my best friends, and my weekends were consumed with going out to nightclubs and chasing after girls.

Only one of these things is still the case — don’t worry it’s not the latter one.

This is how life works. We live each day, barely taking notice of all the small changes happening around us. But after 10 years, we can look back and see how all these changes made us the person we are today.

My favorite quote on life comes from the guitarist of the Eagles, Joe Walsh, who was paraphrasing a philosopher when he said, “As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation or that situation, and then, this happens … (But) later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. But at the time, it don’t.”

And now that I’m about to turn 30, I can look back on the years of my life and see that everything happened for a reason, and that the person I am today — with all the struggles and triumphs that make me who I am — is the person I was meant to be.

(Correction: It’s important to correct an error I made in my previous column on multi-level marketing. I quoted a 2011 study I thought came from the Federal Trade Commission. Instead, I should have referenced a 2011 study published on the FTC website.)

Kitsana Dounglomchan, a 12-year Air Force veteran, writes about his life and times for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 
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