The summer I graduated high school was out-of-my-head sensational.
I was thin for first time in my life. Beyond that, I was leaving Grant High in the top ten percent of my class heading to UCLA to study cytology. (Want a great nerdy pick up line? How about, “Hey babe, wanna see my endoplasmic reticulum?”) Eighteen-year-olds could finally vote and I was politically active, spending days with other activists registering voters.
However, the most exhilarating times were Los Angeles evenings with Suzanne, my first girlfriend. Our premier date was Magic Mountain amusement park.
Life simply could not be better.
It’s a rite of passage to endure the agony of a first breakup, which happened 13 months later. My reaction was to spin out of control.
Having commuted from the San Fernando Valley to Westwood every day for my first year at college, my job and my friendships were the same that I had in high school. After she dumped me, everything transformed.
I relocated to the student ghetto and became immersed in the university’s culture, establishing new friendships and activities. Becoming involved with campus politics and training to be a counselor for the volunteer helpline, time became short (studying? What’s that?), so I quit my job in Van Nuys, opting to stock clothing at the student store where I was first exposed to KLA, the college radio station.
Since I was a boy, I was a radio junkie, transistor radio glued to my ear from when I awoke until I my eyes became heavy at night. Becoming a college DJ captivated me. So, via persistence and some clever maneuvering, I added that to my list of experiences.
L.A. was the second biggest radio market and I took advantage, soliciting local big name disc-jockeys for guidance, which they graciously provided, giving me the tools to land my first paid gig as weekend fill-in jock at Top 40 KDES-AM in Palm Springs.
You can tell how successful a DJ is by how large the trailer is he pulls behind his car, and so that happened, eventually lighting in Redding, CA. That was where I met my first wife and founded the Smaller Market Association of Radio Talent (SMART). To my bride’s chagrin, the publicity garnered by SMART resulted in a profitable solicitation to a bigger station in SoCal. Stuffing yet again the trailer, we tearfully bid adieu to family and friends and rattled south on I-5.
Eventually, I was solicited to run two stations in Humboldt, which I accepted. My plan? Live here a few years and end up in San Francisco before I turned 30.
Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.
I’m well, well, well beyond 30, yet here I remain. Thankfully, my only association with the medical profession is periodic check-ups. I’m remarried. Although my cousin and I are still close, I have no idea where Suzanne is. I will always wish her well.
There is no way that I could have foreseen that meeting her, and everything that subsequently happened in that brief relationship, would hold the far-reaching effects it has had on the path of my life. Every event since could be labeled a result from a warm evening at Magic Mountain four decades ago. Should that have not transpired, I might be wearing a white medical coat today (and earning a heck of a lot more money). You would not be reading this column, nor sharing it with others. My entire life - and everyone’s I have touched - could be so unlike today that one could argue, “Would I even be the same person?”
One cannot know the unforeseen effects of a chance meeting or a quick decision chosen. We are blind to the ripples of those actions, yet they will as surely expand for decades - even generations.
Minor actions might not be as insignificant as we think. Choose well.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a motivational productivity expert and weight loss speaker. He is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and founder of 21DayHabitChange.com, guaranteed to help you change a habit in just three weeks. He can be reached at 707-442-6243, email@example.com or facebook.com/ThisTimeIMeanIt.