by Dave Markwell

While taking an unexpected side trip up to Capitol Hill in Seattle the other night, I recognized many old landmarks that I hadn’t seen in several years. As a little kid, my earliest memories involve riding in the car with my Dad on these streets while visiting my baby brother in the hospital. I always enjoyed these trips. I looked forward to seeing my Mom and brother and cruising around with my Dad. It was a special time. My Dad and I would always eat a late dinner at Burger King on our way home. As I drive by BK today, the smell of a Whopper still reminds me of this time in my life.

Following our little unplanned excursion, my wife and I drove home. Trekking back through the same streets that were so long ago traveled by my Dad and I, I thought about the many different lives we lead during a single lifetime. Visiting my Mom and brother as a child is a very distinct life to me. It sits alone in my memory and remains a guardian to this age. A high fence has been constructed around this memory isolating it from other memories, thereby, preserving it.

It is hard to reconcile the fact that I am the same person today that I was when I lived some of my other lives. Violations bordering on atrocities were committed by the same shell of skin and bones typing these words. Magnificent stupidity was common place. I am not proud, but that was a different life. It wasn’t me…really…I’m better than that…really…

Each single life involves a certain schizophrenic evolution. We must try on different shoes, be different people and wander for a bit before we can settle in. I have worn different shoes and hats and wandered. For this, I am grateful. I harbor a tremendous fear of not living. I am not afraid of dying. But, I am afraid of NOT trying to have my greatest life, as defined and designed by ME. So, with this in mind, I will enter the next personality phase with a grin and a hope that in the subsequent years I can feel better about these years than I do about some others. There were some rough ones.

As I glance over at my nine year old daughter, I cannot help but smile. She got braces today. Braces are a big deal. They signify that a new age is coming. They represent a change. She is entering a new life of her own. And, by extension, so am I. I hope the years are kind, though, I suspect they will not be. I am going be in it deep with this little firecracker. I can only hope to conjure up some of my other lives to lend a hand, some were wiser than I feel right now and I’m going to need all the help I can get…and I will be very pleased if my memories of this time one day rest as fondly in my heart as the evenings I spent riding shotgun with my Dad visiting my brother and waiting for my cheeseburger…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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