Memory is a way of holding onto the things we love, the things we are, the things we never want to lose. Memory Lane is a figure of speech which means to remember something. It is an imaginary path through the sentimentally remembered past; the memory of our past life likened to a road down which we may never travel again.

Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards. We all have our time machines: some take us back, they're called memories; some take us forward, they're called dreams.  We can close our eyes to reality but not to memories.

I have never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. Everything we live through helps us make the person we are today. I don't understand why some people hide from their past, but of course, they have personal reason(s) to do so.

My wife and I had another opportunity to visit again, this year (2015), my hometown in Iloilo City, Philippines. It has changed a lot since the old Iloilo Airport has been continuously developed into a spectacular and modern business park.

As I enjoyed the splendor of the Iloilo River and the Esplanade, I could not help myself taking a trip down the memory lane. Not far from the park, I remembered a young boy walking about six kilometers a day to sell Filipino Donuts in order to build his dreamed bicycle. His father died when he was six years old and while his classmates went directly to high school, he had to earn a living at a very young age because of poverty.

When the bicycle was earnestly completed, it was his first delightful experience of success; he realized that with patience and perseverance, everything is possible. He learned to use his bicycle and ventured to a more money-spinning interest, this time as a jueteng collector (local primitive lottery) and he became a well-known collector in town.

The experience made him realize that education is the key to success in life and it fueled him to go back to school after six years away from school by all means possible. He went to Southern Cotabato and worked in a repair shop, later as a tractor driver at night and went to school the following day. He did not stop until he acquired a degree by working as janitor and a Timawa scholarship from the government, graduated with flying colors (M. C.) and easily passed the CPA. He went to US, worked at AT&T and retired as a manager at age 55.

As I walked down the memory lane, once again, I was convinced that when we feel a genuine passion toward something, it enables us to effortlessly think the thoughts that lead us to accomplish the desired outcomes and it stirs the very important emotions that literally attract success to us; we begin to create a powerful and unstoppable creative force that allows us to create pathways to fulfillment, enrichment, and gratification in our lives.

I have learned that what we make of our lives depends upon what we desire and have a passion for achieving. It is a matter of choice, our choice. Life is how we make it. Our destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not something to wait for, but something to work for. We have the ability to create success, it is optional.

As I leisurely strolled the scenic Iloilo Esplanade my heart was full of gratitude for all the opportunities that God had given me to improve my life. It came to mind people who were sincerely there for me along the way through hard times: my mother, my siblings, some relatives and some neighbors. It is a pity that I could not return the favor to them, but I believe, I could extend and pass on their kindness by sharing, encouraging, inspiring and motivating others with whatever I could to touch their lives.

Memories are just stories we tell ourselves about our past; and that is often why they don't match when we share same experiences with someone. I have always been fascinated by memory and dreams because they are both completely my own. No one else has the same memories, no one has the same dreams and not everyone has the same successes and failures.

As we look back at our lives, we relish and enjoy the good times, but we should also appreciate and be grateful for the challenges and painful struggles that have changed our lives for the better. I do sincerely believe that during those trying times when we were struggling, God was preparing us for a better life; that when we stick to what is good, what is true, what is honest and what is real, God is always faithful to His promise, He will never abandon us and we will always prevail at the end.

By Tim Pedrosa

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