We are the products of our experiences, they make us who we are. The sum total of our life is wrapped up in these experiences and we should be thankful we've had them. These life experiences include people, people whose words or actions have impacted our lives in a variety of ways. I am for the most part, a people person. While there are times I enjoy seclusion, there are also times I need people. I love to talk, discuss and debate, and hear other people's stories. I love to hear the life stories of people older than me in the hopes that I can learn something from them and I love to share my life experiences with those younger than me, in the hopes that they can learn something from me.
Throughout the course of my life I have met a variety of people from all walks of life. Never at the moment of meeting them did I understand the importance they had in my life. It was only later when I reflected on the experience of knowing them did I realize how truly blessed I was to have known them.
The high school teacher who took the time to counsel me when I felt the fear of peer pressure.
The high school friend who, after years not having been in touch, returned to my life and has blessed it greatly with her presence.
The Baptist minister who I'd never met, but after being asked by a friend, offered to conduct the service at my father's funeral.
The woman who managed the dive shop who after a two-hour conversation talked me into leaving the city I was living in and moving back home where I could be near people who cared about me.
The friend who, knowing all the stupid things I'd done in my past, saw I was going to repeat certain mistakes and advised me against it yet when I did repeat them she was there for me through it all.
The mom who, as we both get older, seems to see only the good things in me and none of the faults.
The Sales & Marketing Director who hired me with no experience just because she liked my spunk and admired my military service.
The former professional equestrian who has become my friend and makes me smile and offers hugs and kindness every day.
The coworker turned friend who lends his ear to me because he cares and because we think alike and he thinks of me as part of his own family.
The actress and comedienne who befriended me and makes me laugh and challenges me with good debates and discussion every day.
The nurse practitioner who, no matter how busy she is, always takes the time to listen to me when I tell her "I know something just isn't right with me."
The graduate student who, no matter how busy she is, always makes time to come by my office to strike up a friendly chat and ask me how my day is going.
The company commander in boot camp who got right up in my face and told me he was not letting me give up or give in.
The manager of what was once my favorite clothing store, who, whenever I went in there, struck up a conversation with me and made me smile.
The former professor turned good friend who takes the time to write to me all the time and praises me, advises me, and encourages me to be the best I can be and never give up on my dreams.
The writer who, having made a highly successful film about his life, has become my friend and continues to inspire me and my writing to this very day.
The old friend from elementary school who makes me smile when we talk about the good old days as young children.
I am thankful for all the people I have met along the way who have been a part of my life. Though it would be easy to say I got where I am all by myself, it would not be true. The people I have met and the experiences have shaped my past and they shape my present and future and I am forever grateful for them.