The Fair

It has been a long time since I’ve ventured into this arena. The last time I was here I was waiting to have shoulder surgery. I guess you could say the surgery went well. The first few months after surgery the pain was unbearable at times. Although the pain has stuck around like a damp shirt on my back, I’ve learned how to deal with it without letting it get the best of me. Therapy seems like it’s a full time job and many days it feels like I’m not making any progress at all. As with everything I’ve encountered in my life I try to keep a positive attitude and continue pushing forward. I can see how many people quit. Therapy’s not easy and sometimes the curves life throws at you aren’t easy to navigate around.

A few weeks ago I went to the Washington County Fair. Since there were a few kids with me it brought me back to a time that seems more like a past life than the one I’m currently living in.

When my parents brought me to the fair every year it always signified the end of  summer vacation. I remember my mom letting me wear my new sneakers for that one night. I always thought I could run faster with new sneaks………..oh to be a child again.

As I observed all of the kids I realized how much life can change from the innocent years into adulthood. When I was that age I didn’t think about the future. I never considered how cruel the world could be to some people. They claim you make your own luck but I’m not sure that statement holds true for everyone.

I spent many of those summer vacations letting my feet guide me to places around my home. I’d walk through the woods to go fishing. I’d wander through the fields behind the house to find a quiet place to sit on a log. I’d lie on my back in the side yard and stare at the stars in the sky at night. I’d chase lightning bugs through the field across the road. I’d play hide and seek with my friends. There wasn’t much I didn’t try. No matter what I did I always let my feet guide me. Sometimes I knew where I wanted them to take me and other times they kind of directed me to places in my subconscious mind. I was a happy kid.

Now, almost 40 years later people ask me why I’m so regimented with the things I do. I guess it all comes down to learning to be disciplined with the disease I learned to battle when I was a child. Battling Type 1 diabetes has taught me things about myself that I probably never would have found otherwise. While many people would complain, I am thankful. The doctors told me to never drink or smoke when I was diagnosed. I’ve never done either. It’s amazing to think about the small things that lead us in one direction or the other. It’s even more amazing to think about the things that we allow to control us.

I’ve definitely encountered some life altering obstacles along the journey through life. I saw a few of them coming while some others jumped out of the woodwork and all but flattened me. I’ve been beaten down, humiliated, taken advantage of, played for a fool, instigated, lied to, and hurt so badly that I felt like constructing impenetrable walls around me.

That’s when I decided to let my feet guide me like I did when I was a child. I didn’t want my friends or family to have to scale a monstrous wall I built around myself. Heck, that wouldn’t be fair to them or to me. Actually, after all of that stuff happened to me I think I became more open and willing to let people close to me. I’m sure I’ve let down a few people in the process but I still push forward.

There are still so many things out there that I’d like to experience and I think it’s essential to let my feet continue to guide me. In some ways I feel like I can run even faster with my new sneakers now than I could back in those old fair days. I’ve witnessed things that can happen if you’re careless. You have to make better choices and realize what makes you tick. I really think I’ve finally found that.

Well, back to the night I was at the fair. There I was standing among thousands of people. Just like 35 years ago, I saw a few people I knew wandering around. I gave my courteous smile and chatted with a couple people, too.

I guess for now I’ll keep plowing along the unsurfaced road and see where I end up. Lately it’s been filled with a few pleasant surprises as well as some of those obstacles we all face from time to time. I really don’t know where I’m headed but I’m sure it will be good once I arrive.

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