01 September 2006

Fork in the road

The other night I was listening to the song "All My Roads" by Collin Raye:
Looking back from where I stand tonight
I wouldn't change a thing about my life
Wrong turns I had to take back in those crazy years
Could not have been mistakes if they brought me here

'Cause all my roads have led me to
This night, this love I share with you
And though the road was never smooth
Life has made me someone who
Could be the right someone for you

I don't regret a single broken heart
That taught me what love is and what it's not
Someone must have planned our two paths would cross
I couldn't see it then but I was never lost

'Cause all my roads have led me to
This night, this love I share with you
And though the road was never smooth
Life has made me someone who
Could be the right someone for you

Detours, dead ends, endless explorations
You were my only destination

'Cause all my roads have led me to
This night, this love I share with you
And though the road was never smooth
Life has made me someone who
Could be the right someone for you
This is a love song, of course, but it also speaks a lot about life. About how all the decisions you make eventually lead you down paths you never expected.

Last night I was thinking about a decision I made many years ago. When I was growing up, the Space Shuttle was new and Space Camp was a popular destination for children. A friend of mine had gone, and it was the one thing I wanted more than anything else. At the same time, personal computers were becoming more affordable. I spent countless hours with my dad in his basement work room constantly amazed at every bit of technology he had built or modified. He introduced me to the amazing hobby of amateur radio and helped me pass the license exams. At 16 years old I had my first ham license, and nearly 15 years later it is a hobby that I continue to enjoy.

I don't remember exactly when I was given the choice or how old I was at the time, but I do remember it vividly: you can go to Space Camp, or you can have a computer.

As with any child, of course, I wanted both, but I eventually chose the computer. I was disappointed for a while that I didn't get to go to Space Camp, but that disappointment was quickly overshadowed by the amazing computer. I don't remember what computer we had back then (I think at one point we had a Commodore, although I don't know if that was the first...perhaps my Dad remembers), but it led me down a path I never expected.

I probably spent more hours on the computer then than even the geekiest of kids do now. Whether it was staying after school nearly every day and learning everything I could about computers and networks from my friend Dave Farrier, or running my own Bulletin Board System (BBS) from a second phone line in my bedroom, I was bitten by the computer bug.

You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn, then, that the computer is where I met Tracy. Back in the fall of 1998, we both frequented the Country Music chat rooms on Yahoo. We eventually fell in love and spent every night on the computer or phone together. We finally met in 2001, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The fork in the road so many years ago was then about Space Camp or a computer, but in Collin Raye's words:

Looking back from where I stand tonight, I wouldn't change a thing about my life.
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