Be True to Yourself
There it was, right out of the blue. I had just done one final check of my e-mail before sending the daily edition of The Journal to print and I saw it.
“Hello old friend.”
The origin line showed the name of an old friend I hadn’t seen the better part of 15 years. We’ll call him Al. I blinked. Had I just become the victim of some kind of complex Internet scam? Those hackers must be getting pretty good if they can pull up someone from my past like that.
For security reasons I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I opened the e-mail. It was asking me if I was the David Hotle who had lived in Moline during the 1980s and ‘90s. I replied, asking if the person was in fact my long lost friend.
We got the paper out that day and before I had gotten back to my computer, I got another e-mail from another friend I hadn’t seen since high school. We’ll call her Tami. She explained that my name had come up as part of a Facebook discussion and that another old friend of mine had looked me up online. She found the Washington Evening Journal Web site and my picture next to my biography on one of the pages. They decided that they needed to get hold of me.
Al had also sent me a reply saying “Yes, it is me” along with a phone number.
A brief note here: I went back and looked at the Facebook discussion they had regarding me. According to the comments, they thought I was dead. I can’t begin to describe the laugh that the other members of the newsroom and I had gotten out of that. Apparently before planning a pilgrimage to my grave, one of them actually thought to try looking me up on the Internet. I am happy to report that rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
I forwarded the e-mails to my home address and responded to them after work. I found that many of the people I hadn’t seen since high school or college are living relatively nearby. Long story short – I have been spending about the past month re-introducing myself to old friends. It has been great.
One of the most amazing things is how much people have changed over 15 to 20 years. Another amazing thing is how much they have stayed the same. Some are professionals. Some don’t have jobs for whatever reason. Some are laborers. Many are parents. One thing that I can happily say is that in each case all my old friends seem to have remained true to what they had started all those years ago and they are all happy. Yes, I was the one who was always writing something or trying to find out the latest on what was going on.
This experience serves to illustrate the power of following your passion in life. I’ve met a few too many people who didn’t stay true to their goals or their passions and ended up miserable as a result. I guess if I had one piece of advice to pass along to the students I know attending high school right now, it is to follow what you like.
Just think, 20 years from now, someone you are currently friends with may get hold of you out of the blue. What would you like to be able to tell them you have done with your life?