As I fly over DFW airport, I can see downtown Fort Worth in the distance. I have 13 years worth of memories there that are surprisingly happy considering how eager I was to leave. I guess it is hard to fully appreciate something while you are experiencing it. The tendency, at least for me, is to move forward. I have been in pursuit of some ambitious goal ever since I was a boy. It is virtually impossible to look back while you are going full steam ahead. But the older I get the more I find myself reminiscing.
I think that ambition is one of the things that separate the young from the old. Young men have a drive to succeed, usually out of necessity, that their elders can’t match. Sorry ladies but I only feel qualified to stereotype men, so don’t be offended if I leave you out. As a young man, I would try to brute force life until it either worked out for me or broke. I either got the knowledge, the job, the girl or there was a restraining order. Thankfully I’ve matured a little bit over the years. I learned to rely less on bravado and more on experience and intelligence. Ironically most of that experience wouldn’t have been possible without youthful bravado.
Sometimes it feels like tradition herds us into a common routine of school, job, marriage, kids, retirement etc. I can remember feeling trapped as if my life had been planned without my input or consent. Now I realize that it takes a certain amount of order for freedom to even be possible. If you bulldoze your way into getting the things you want, you end up breaking them. It took getting married and having a family before I could even begin to comprehend this.
We moved to Fort Worth in 2001. I wanted a job as a software developer. There wasn’t much of a market for that sort of thing in Oklahoma City at the time. Truth be known, I just needed a change of scenery and Fort Worth was as far as Linda would go. We did all of the things that grown ups are supposed to do. I began a career, we had kids and bought a house. We also made every mistake in the book. In short, we both grew up.
My focus has shifted. Instead of trying to find my place in society, I now think a lot more about putting my boys in the best situation so that they can find theirs. I no longer feel the need to conquer the world the way I did when I was 25. I enjoy spending time with my wife. We like to watch our boys play sports. I am quite happy with my job. My primary goal now is to be the best father I can be, which does seem ambitious at times. I learned a lot in Fort Worth. We stayed there a lot longer than we ever intended. However, I don’t regret it and I miss all of the close friends I made.
My plane is now flying directly over Jerry World. I am reminded of a 4th of July that we spent watching a fireworks show in an empty parking lot across the street. There was another family there who understood English about as much as we understood Spanish. Our intention had been to find a park. Instead, we spent the night sitting in the back of my truck watching the show with new friends. We never saw that family again and we always prepared for our 4th of July outings better after that. But as I look back, I remember that night fondly. I feel the same about Fort Worth.