Yesterday Dan and I went for a hike so we could enjoy the sunshine before it snowed today.
We went to our usual spot, where elk, bears, and cougars have occasionally been sighted.
Nearby was the house where Dylan Klebold used to live.
He was one of the Columbine High School shooters. With as much as I’d pored over Columbine, I had never actually seen either of the shooters’ houses in person. Only pics.
That shooting happened in 1999, the year I graduated from high school.
“Can’t believe it’s been 19 years,” I said.
That event changed the country. I’m sure it’s part of why schools today have metal detectors, and why cameras are present everywhere, recording everyone and everything.
We live in a world where privacy is a rare, cherished thing…thanks to nosy people who are chronically suspicious (or over-curious) about their neighbors.
Having once been a delivery truck driver, Dan remembered delivering packages to the house where the Klebolds used to live.
“Want to drive by it?” he asked.
“Why not?” I said, feeling adventurous.
We suddenly found ourselves in an impromptu tour of Columbine-related spots.
Using GPS and the wonders of the internet, we drove through Littleton. We stopped near Dylan’s old house — a $1.2 million home nestled near giant rocks, with a steep driveway.
The Klebolds had moved long ago. They divorced after the tragedy.
Next we drove to Columbine High School. The last time I’d been there, I was a teenager, playing tennis and volleyball and games. The building looked old, dilapidated. They obviously hadn’t updated the appearance…ever.
The whole town of Littleton felt strange to me, with a heavy vibe in the air. I could never live there.
To me, it’s a ghost town. But that’s just my perspective — based on all the stories I have about it, in my head.
Tens of thousands of people currently live there, and each of them has their own perspective.
Finally, we stopped at Eric Harris’s old house, in a suburb of Littleton.
It was weird, seeing it in person… and equally weird seeing five cars parked in the driveway, and on the street in front of it.
“Probably college kids rooming together, who think it’s cool to live in a house where a school shooter used to live,” we hypothesized.
I snapped some pics.
“Wonder if they get people driving by like this a lot?”
Onlookers, driven by curiosity.
We didn’t stay long. We got back to our drive into the mountains, played some slot machines in Blackhawk, ate dinner, and reveled in our love for each other.
It was a fun mini-adventure, and I shook off any weird feelings, quickly.
It’s always an emotional experience, dredging up old memories of a past traumatic event.
I’m over it…but for years, it haunted me. For years, I let my emotions take over…leading me down a path of sadness and despair around the state of humanity.
…Until I realized, people always have a choice in life.
You always have a choice on who to be, how to act, and what type of mark you want to leave on the world.
The bad, and sometimes stupid behavior of others doesn’t have to scar you for life.
Had Eric and Dylan chosen a different path, maybe they’d still be alive… about 36 years old as of today.
As an editor, I sometimes muse about “rewriting” the past.
Just as easily as I clean up sentences, paragraphs, and “points,” it’d be cool to clean up humanity’s history, deleting all the unnecessary shit we get ourselves into… and making our time here on earth sparkle a little bit more.
The truth is, we already have a way to do that: by letting go, forgiving, and moving on.
The past doesn’t exist. It isn’t real. As each second passes, the previous one gets “deleted.”
Each moment is a clean slate to make a different choice.
The problem arises when we hold onto memories and thoughts that make the past seem real to us. By doing so, we go around feeling enslaved by something that doesn’t even exist.
The only time is now.
The work I did on the Columbine book is long gone, over, done with. Some people will discover it, and to them, it will be brand new. But for me, it’s old. Ancient. Irrelevant. I’m not fascinated by dark shit anymore.
(That’s the great paradox of humanity, is that some of us are discovering “old” stuff for the first time, getting mentally involved with it as if it were new.)
It really makes you think about the legacy you want to leave on the world.
We’ve all done dumb shit…sometimes it comes back to haunt us, but it doesn’t have to.
I told Dan, “That was closure for me, seeing their houses. Grateful that I don’t have to think about Columbine or be involved with it anymore.”
I’ve chosen to move on and not be “haunted” anymore.
I’ve chosen instead to spend my life helping people who are doing amazing things in the world! (Like you!) People who are actually working to make this planet a better place, whether it’s through creating great products or delivering great services.
I have the best newsletter readers on the planet… people who are committed to “living in the now,” and to letting go of everything that’s in the past, so that they can truly enjoy this gift known as “life.”
Thanks for all the work you do!
Let’s make it a great 2018.