I grew up in a little town in southeast Oklahoma. I moved there when I was in the seventh grade and I stayed through my first year of college. By then, like most teenagers in a small town, I had the bug to go to college away from home. So, I got a scholarship to go sing and I packed up and moved to the Oklahoma City area. That was 23 years ago.
When I got to school I was given the opportunity to be a part of a semi-professional choir. There were a bunch of people far more talented than me, so I did my best to blend in and help make good music. I sang with the choir for a semester. I remember the first practice well. I got very lost in the big city and almost didn’t find the practice site.
I had been to the rehearsal hall (a church in northwest Oklahoma City) only once before. It was about 15 miles from the school, but I figured I had been there and I could get back. I didn’t plan for the sun going down. The city looked very different after dark!
I remember feeling panicked. I was the new guy. I was going to be late. It was going to be embarassing. Fortunately, after overshooting the church by a few miles, I doubled back and by chance found it just in time. There are still parts of town that I drive through and get flashbacks of being lost. It makes me laugh.
Fast forward 14 years. I had just moved office buildings at work. Where was my new office building? Right across from the old church. It hit me walking across the parking lot the day I moved into my office. (I had one of those Disney World “its a small world” moments.) For a second, walking across that parking lot, I remembered being a 19 year old kid. I felt far from home. Unsure of myself. Even a bit scared. Thankfully, the feeling passed quickly.
I moved out of Oklahoma 3 1/2 years ago, but I am back in OKC this evening. It is not often that I can compare then and now so clearly. I saw it clearly today though. The course I was on at 19 would not be my lifelong choice. Thankfully, it didn’t have to be. Many people assume they are stuck with the career path they chose for their major in college. It doesn’t have to be that way. thought I was going to be a music teacher and/or a performer. My life is very different now.
I am glad that one chapter of your life doesn’t have to dictate how all of the others go. The story can change. Different decisions can be made. The course can be altered. It starts with one decision.
For some reason when I came back to OKC today, I remembered the little church and thought how far I have come. I never would have imagined I would be here 23 years later, coming back from a different state to see family…living a much different life than I ever thought. It was good to remember all that went on then. It was awesome to remember the path that I have been on. It is even better to know that I am right where I need to be now. I like that.