Well, today I turn 40. I honestly never imagined that I would ever be this old. I was sure that I would have been killed or died by now or that the world would have come to an end amidst a new forest of nuclear mushrooms. ...but here I am. I have two of the most beautiful children in the world who I love more than life itself. I have been blessed with the companionship of a amazing woman for the last 16 years. I still have my hair (most of it anyway) and little to no grey in the beard (it's blond, not grey). My life has changed much from the idealistic fantasy that I pictured as a youth. My roads have been smooth as ice, rough as gravel and missing at times like a jungle path but still I have traveled it.
To those of you who have shared my life with me, be it in large or small part, I say to you thank you. Thank you for the experiences you have shared with me and given to me. Thank you for shaping me with you criticisms, praises, suggestions, advice, examples good and bad. I know that had my path been different I would not be the man I am today. I would not cherish the things I do.
So....from this anniversary, for me personally today, I turn to one on a larger scale.
Ten years ago I was working at a manufacturing plant in Chicago not too far from O'Hare installing some machinery. A employee of the company came in the room and began telling one of her co-workers that someone had just attacked the WTC. I thought she was playing a prank on her friend until the management of the building came on the PA and called everyone together. They announced that they were sending everyone home in one hour. I returned to my hotel just north of O'Hare and that's when things got weird for me. I had worked around aircraft for a long time. When I walked outside of my hotel and looked up though, there were no planes. If you have ever been near a major airport like O'Hare, you can understand just how very strange this is to have no airplanes turning their engines up or landing and taking off. I think even the birds were confused by the lack of aircraft. Life changed again that day. Another bump in the road that I have gotten used to. Next stop...unknown.