The last year has been pretty difficult for me.
Growing up I always had this naive idea that by the time I was 24 I would have my life sorted out. I would be successful and happy. I would have the most fulfilling job, I’d have traveled all over the world, I’d be in an amazing relationship, and I’d be an inspiration to my family, friends, and all those around me. I’d be all that everyone wants to be. I’d be a hero.
Of course, life doesn't work out the way you imagine it to.
I am 24 years old and I have never felt so lost.
This isn't the way my life was supposed to be. If the 16 year old me saw me now, he’d probably be pretty disappointed. Remember I was supposed to be a hero?
I have to admit that it’s not all doom and gloom though. I have so much to be thankful for. A loving family, great friends, my health, a nice home in a beautiful city, and a standard of living that many people dream of. Still, some days it becomes easy to forget that. Some days it’s hard to see the good.
Today was especially difficult. A mix of personal issues and work problems had me feeling confused, vulnerable, and alone. It hurt, and I knew if I stayed in it would only get worse. I decided to blow off some steam by going for a run, which tends to clear my mind.
There are two routes I take when I run around my neighborhood. The long route and the short route. I almost always take the short route.
Today I opted for the long one.
As I ran I couldn't get the negative thoughts out of my head, and to my great annoyance the long route was actually long. Head down, panting, I started to regret my choice. I was beginning to wear out physically and mentally. I was fed up with everything. I wanted to give up.
Then I looked up and saw you.
There you were with your beautiful smile radiating incredible warmth, and an encouraging thumbs up willing me to continue. I got closer to you and you waved at me. I saw the genuine kindness in your eyes. As I started to pass you, you nodded your head in the direction I was going, acknowledging my journey. A right of passage.
Gestures so human, an effect so divine.
Your lips moved but I could not hear you.
I will never know what you said. I will probably never know your name. I may not see you again. I may even forget how you looked and how you dressed, but I will never forget that smile and the thumbs up and how they made me feel.
Thank you Mr. Security Guard. In a way you saved me.
In my moment of weakness there you stood , strong and assured, urging me to keep going. A strange man with his own story, his own personal problems and issues, reaching out to someone else. I could tell just by looking at you that you had obviously been through so much more than me. Yet there you were spurring me on, supporting me, hoping I would win.
Thank you for being the mini-miracle of my day. Thank you for reminding me that things really aren't that bad and that I should smile too. Thank you for proving that there is goodness in this world. For showing me that even strangers care. For helping me see that the universe is on my side. For being so beautifully human.
Most importantly, thank you for reminding me that anyone, anywhere, at any time can be a hero.
Today you were mine.