If there is one thing that the march of time does for you, it has an ability to enhance your observational skills. When I was younger, I saw ordinary people for what I thought they were: very ordinary.
Now that I’m…ahem…older, I see individuals around me as anything but ordinary. I wrote about it in a post about my grandparents, about how extraordinary they were. But there’s so much more to see.
As I see it, everyone has a story.
For the bulk of my life, I didn’t think I was anything special. A regular guy (average Joe, if you will) that grew up, went to school, got a job, met a girl, got married, blah blah blah. Just like everyone else.
However, that opinion is untrue. Mine looks like an ordinary life, but there’s a story behind everything. You have them too. How are you telling them? As The Who’s Roger Daltrey once famously shrieked, “Can you see the real me, can you?”
When I was growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that was all about community, culture, and traditions. The kind of world that barely exists anymore. There’s a story behind that.
I was a fat kid that didn’t want to be fat anymore, and I made a decision, after being inspired by a movie, to take control of my life and lose that weight and never gain it back. There’s a story behind that.
I went to middle and high school at a military academy, and struggled to fit in. There was conflict and rebellion, and it ended when I made it out and graduated. Another story.
Instead of getting a college degree, I decided to go to work in the family business. At the time, I thought it the only way to build on a relationship with my Dad. I was a bartender in his restaurant for nearly twenty years. There’s many stories behind that. 🙂
The working hours there were long, and at times went into the wee hours. If they didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have met my future wife one of those nights, while she was out having fun with friends. There’s a great story there.
If we didn’t get married and have our two wonderful kids, I probably wouldn’t have made the move to change careers, which was another struggle. I left my comfort zone behind to make sure I had enough time to spend with my family…and have no regrets.
Notice a pattern?? There’s a story behind that.
You have stories too. Just about everyone I know has a great story. Whether they believe it or not. They can be amazing, they can be tragic. Most of them fall in between. But “in between” is still worth telling. You live a bigger life than you know.
Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was under the impression that all of the family that surrounded me were ordinary. That’s just plain crazy thinking. They had some of the best stories of them all. They had memories of living through the Great Depression, of the family farm, of surviving Allied bombing raids in Italy, and relatives that fought in the World War.
Many of those life reflections were shared with me around a kitchen table, told in the simplest of terms. I am grateful to have heard them when the opportunity was there.
Don’t miss your opportunity to share yours. Remember, there’s a story behind that.
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