Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Crossroads of Life in Limon, Colorado

Take a look at this picture:

This photo may not look like much, but that seemingly random picture has a huge meaning in my life. Yesterday I drove from Topeka to Denver and the entire way I was waiting for the point in time that we would go through Limon, Colorado.

Why Limon? For most this town is just gas stop on their way to or from Denver. It isn’t the most exciting of towns, but I have sat in awe of my experience there for many years. Honestly, at least once a month, I will get on Google Earth and look at the town and just sit back in deep reflective thought. There aren’t many times in life that a person knows of the spot that was a true bridge between one segment of their life and the next. Limon, for me, is that spot.

It was back in October in 2003 and I had just spent the month in Las Vegas as an instructor at the Derek Daly Academy. It was an amazing month for me as I was living in my Kansas of auto racing and was being paid for it. Could I have asked for anything more as I truly was living my dream?

However, as with all dreams, there was a point in time where the dream was over and I awoke. Limon, Colorado was the last thing in my dream as on my return trip I spent the night in the town, and actually stayed at that Econo Lodge across the street. I can remember every moment of being in Limon back in 2003. Each minute ticked by as if I were hearing an alarm clock but I wanted to remain in my dream.

Once I returned home from my month long trip in Vegas my life slowly unraveled and just one month and one week later I got my assessment for Asperger Syndrome and I forgot who I was and everything seemed to implode.

I was very interested to see how I would handle going back to Limon as this was like visiting my former self. I have a videographic memory and as we pulled off the interstate it was just like I remembered it. It felt like 2003 all over again and right away we headed towards the restaurant that is across the street from the Econo Lodge. It has a different name now, but it was just like I saw it back in 2003. It was rather eerie as it was like going back into a dream that you had many years ago but can remember it like it happened just five minutes ago.

After dinner we filled up with gas and headed out. I was lost in thought as I was thinking back to who I was in 2003. I mean, how often is it that a person can visit the spot that an era came to an end and set up the events to get a person to where they are today? When I look at Limon on Google Earth I now often think, “What if?” Yes, what if I had continued down the racing path. What would I have become had I never got the diagnosis and actually made it in the sport of racing?

Limon represents a crossroads for me. If racing would have worked out I would not have passed through there yesterday. I would not, probably, have any emotions whatsoever about the town. I also, almost certainly, would not have this blog and not have my book. And, above all us, I would not be on this nationwide tour raising awareness and understanding about the autism spectrum. So yes, in a way, visiting Limon yesterday was like visiting a dream that I had had. But dreams oftentimes, well, as I said we wake up from dreams. Thinking about what I am doing now I can honestly say that the present is far greater than anything I could have ever imagined. Had I been racing, and it was my dream, I would be living for me. Now though, through that shattered dream, I have done more and seen more than I could ever have hoped for. To be told that I am, “changing lives” is something that wouldn’t have happened if I had made it racing. Yes, visiting Limon was like visiting my former self and it was surreal, but I think I needed this. A big chunk of my presentation is talking about who I was and remembering who we were is sometimes difficult. Yesterday though there was no mistaking where I was in 2003. I thought I had it made, but little did I know that getting so close, while difficult at the time, was setting me up for bigger and better things.


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