Back when I was in high school I took nightly walks around the neighborhood. I took the same pre-determined path almost every night – one that was very easy to remember and was just a little more than a mile. In my mind, the path was always broken down into three distinct parts.

The first part was the most familiar part. It was a residential road that led to the center of town. It had nice sidewalks on the side where I passed other people in the neighborhood at night. It is the stretch of road that will always lead home.

This part is a reminder of my childhood and my past. It’s filled with some of the people who formed my character and who shared in childhood memories with me. I know almost all the families that live on that road and will always remember them.

The second part was a stretch of road that led from the center of town to the southern outskirts. Once again, this road had a navigable sidewalk and was littered with many familiar faces. But at a certain point the sidewalk ended and the people became more intermittent. As I neared the edge of town, I felt as if I was the only one there.

This part is a glimpse of the present. In my life now there are still some of those familiar faces, but they are slowly fading away. The people I used to see everyday I haven’t seen in four years. As the sidewalk ended, so does my college career. This is where the training wheels come off and I have to start walking on the road itself. Yes, it is more dangerous and scary, but there is something rewarding about walking on your own trail, being your own guide.

The third part was an old road that looped back around my high school, connecting the first road to the second. The road consisted of tar and chips – roadwork reserved for areas with very low traffic. There were no more than 20 homes on that stretch and no sidewalks. The path was lined with huge ditches –

not ideal for a walking path.

This last part is my life after college. Now, I don’t think the rest of my life will be as bleak as I described this road. Rather, I want to emphasize the lack of structure and how it can transform into opportunity. While I walk this path, I can’t see the other end. It has curves and bends and gullies and hills. One thing is certain as I traverse it: I know it leads home. Wherever life takes me, the path I’m on will lead to home. My family and friends will always be at the end of the road.

We all have a path that we walk on. Sure, yours might not be as literal as mine, but it shares the same meaning. Whether you’re beginning, in the middle or even nearing the end, keep on the road of life. Hopefully it will lead you home.