At the end of a life, I suppose a person stops and looks back. What does he see. What does one wish to see at the end of a life.
I wonder. I don’t know why I do. But I do.
I sat here tonight looking back at my own life. I’ve been fortunate. Might be an understatement. I’ve traveled across the globe. Experienced wondrous events. Met incredible and sometimes amazing people. Seen and touched some of the wonders of the World. I’ve tread upon 4 Continents. Danced in some of the nicest clubs across the planet with some of the most beautiful women in the world. I’ve climbed the Great Wall. Gazed in wonder at the Taj Mahal. I’ve seen the carnage of war and the peace in it’s aftermath. I’ve been fortunate enough to aid in rebuilding a country ravaged by war.
I’ve fallen in love and been stung by love. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve met women who I probably should have married and dated women from whom I should probably have run. haha I was married to an awesome lady. I left the marriage because I was a foolish child. Still am. Kelly was a great wife. Great person. She still encourages me. Still befriends me. Holds no grudge even though she has every right in the world to it. She is simply an awesome person. These are the people who have been in my life. So many great people.
I’ve a wonderful family who loves me. My Mother and Sister who love me completely unconditionally. Two bros who, though they get wrapped up in their own lives and forget about me (LOL), love me despite the maddening smart ass that I can be. A step-Father who I grew to love as a Father. No step needed. My Grandparents. Only one left to me now. All wonderful. All treasures. And an extended family who keeps me in their prayers even if I am a heathen pagan heretic.
The places I’ve visited and explored. Saigon, Hanou, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Frankfurt and Paris, the Grand Canyon and the temples of Angkor.
I’ve traveled on the Silk Road and spent days, weeks and months in the Kingdom of Siam.
I’ve driven alone through Kabul and flown through the Hindu Kush. I’ve entered the city of Herat and been fortunate enough to see it’s most wondrous monument. The Masjid Jam-e.
Kuwait with it’s towers and golden monuments. Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
I rode a camel to the Pyramids and actually climbed the Great Pyramid. I’ve gazed upon the Sphinx and the numerous pyramids both famous and obscure–the Red Pyramid, the Bent Pyramid, the Ziggurat of Sakkara. Climbed Mount Sinai.
I’ve swam the Rio Chagre and explored ancient Spanish forts in Central America.
I’ve even spent a bit of time in jail cells on 4 different continents. Dubai, Egypt, Germany, the US and Korea. haha
Who could do such things and then complain about one’s lot in life. I couldn’t take myself seriously if I found myself complaining about this life. What a fool I’d be. Not that I take myself all that seriously at anyrate.
I’m the fool on the hill. Running through life madly. Enjoying it all the way. it’s a blessing as I see and experience it.
I’ve met wonderful people along the way. My good friend Becca. My oldest friend Bruce Taylor with whom I played as a wee toddler in times that I barely remember. My cousin Carl who for some reason beyond comprehension is a Louisville Cardinal fan. I’ve forgiven him that slip. Rick. My Wildcat brother. Justin from my Old Guard days. Rob and Joe and Pete and Conrad Sweeney with whom I conquered Tel Aviv in ’98. Can’t forget thin man. My good buddy Paul. Big Will. MSG Keys. Even the crazy, silly Lyshia.
I’ve even been fortunate enough to get on well with my workmates. Some of whom are a bit looney. But decent folks all.
Where would I be today without Rick, Katrina and Dorian. Valentina my buddy from Kosovo and Shawn and Jay.
All of the good Army folks whom I’ve met in my days at KBR and ManTech.
Roop from AECOM. A girl with whom I said naught but boo until my last day and befriended through the magic of this blog and the ideas and beliefs expressed hereon.
My Indian friends like Satheesan, Sandeep, Kumar, Tanzeem, Rajeev. If you never have the chance to work with Indian chaps, you’re missing something special. It’s like coming to a new family.
Speak of Tel Aviv and I always remember Galit Kabra and Mali Kiasi. Two very different women. But both beautiful and extraordinary. All Israelis serve in the military. All of them risk their lives in the face of the fascist Palestinian terror goons. I don’t know if Galit is even alive. We kept in touch until suddenly she stopped responding. Her responses stopped soon after an explosion in a Mall that she and I frequented. I have no idea if she was there or if the halt in communication was simply coincidence. I prefer to think that she is still alive and well.
Presently, I find myself in Afghanistan. I’m doing a piece of work here that will assist in re-establishing Afghanistan as a nation. If the people of Afghanistan decide that they want it bad enough. Sometimes working with Afghanis and getting them working towards a common goal is a bit like herding cats. Near impossible. So many agendas. But it’s challenge.
This job affords me the opportunity to work directly with the people of Afghansitan. I get to see them in their own world. Their culture at work. The religion. The tribes. The good and the bad. It’s an amazing opportunity.
I don’t know what I will do when I leave Afghanistan. I don’t even know when I will leave. Sometimes, I think about doing some NGO work in impoverished nations of the non-developed world. Pre-industrial communities. Spend some time in Cambodia or Vietnam working with villagers to bring some modernization to their world. A great part of the world lives in conditions that I would liken to the 1800s in the Wild West of the United States. Running water and electricity is non-existent. Basic living conditions. Mud huts. Wooden stilt houses.
Perhaps, I’ll see if I can do something to help them for a while.
Perhaps, I’ll go home to America and enjoy my family and some good old Kentucky Basketball.
I don’t know.
I may not make it home. Anything can happen. Whatever does, I don’t regret a moment of the life that I’ve lived. Not a second. There’s more to come. I’m sure of it.
Thank the Gods for my many life blessing. It’s been an extraordinary life thus far.