I saw the best bumper sticker over the weekend on the back of a fellow minivan: “I used to be cool.”
That sums me up perfectly. Well, maybe I wasn’t cool, but my story was a cool one. Years of traveling around the world led to more than a few epic adventures. I worked at the Olympics. Served microbrews in college towns. Danced with rock stars in Venezuelan clubs. Drank with rock stars on trans-Atlantic flights. Climbed mountains and cruised down them. Found myself stuck on more than a few cliffs.
If I wanted to learn the history of some place, I simply went there. I hiked through territory still teaming with land mines. Passed by the remnants of recent bus bombings. Made my way through foreign riots complete with burning tires and road blocks. Averted my gaze from guerilla fighters in the jungle. Avoided drug smugglers. Escaped knife-wielding thugs.
I traveled by bus, plane, train, truck, moped, boat, foot, and I even hitchhiked (shhh, don’t tell my mom or my daughters).
My story was cool. I was proud of my story. I owned my story. My story defined me.
I suppose it still defines me, but I don’t think about it as much and I certainly don’t talk about it. I’m on to the next chapter, and this one’s not so cool. But it’s still my story, and it’s a work in progress.