Playing leapfrog in the puddles today with multiple errands on my plate, I found myself in and out of my car often. As I was driving back down Commercial Alley, I caught sight of someone who was a tenant of one of my clients about four years ago. He arrived here from one of the southern States to go to college at NIACC and rented a house with several of his friends from school. The living situation was fine at first but as the months passed, he and his friends were becoming late on their rent and I believed getting themselves acquainted with the wrong crowd. The owner finally evicted them due to some of their destructive tendencies at the home as well as the monthly problem of collecting their rent. Once when he came to the office, I noticed a wafting scent of marijuana which was likely on his clothes. My fears of him being on a dark path were confirmed today because when I saw him at the crosswalk, he noticed me and quickly turned away. I couldn’t believe how much older he appeared and wearing nothing that even resembled the smart clothes I last saw him wearing. It made me internally very sad to think how some of our young and talented people can so quickly cause the fires of their youth to turn to smoldering embers. All of us remember our youth and how we seemed so invincible. Time was nothing to us because we were too busy experiencing the moment. Everything in those years was in the state of “now”. Fortunately for me as well as many of those around me were kept contained by the social and family mores of the time. You just didn’t even consider doing things that raced through your mind for fear of paying a counter-balancing price later. In my many years of working with the public on a daily basis, I could sit for hours telling nameless stories of broken dreams due to people allowing the dark side of society to enter their lives. I’m not yet convinced that things happen as they are to happen in the course of it all. I’ve stopped arguing with people about my feelings when it comes to the excuse of everything being all about fate. I believe 90% of what happens to us in our lives is simply due to free choice, and the other 10% is fate. Many people have the idea of choice vs fate completely turned around. So, tonight I am in the state of lament over yet another who is not the victim of fate, but rather a victim of choice.