When I visited Asbury Park in March, one of the most interesting things about the visit was how desolate the boardwalk was on a chilly, wind swept Friday afternoon. The last time I was in Asbury Park was Labor Day Weekend in 1985, when there were still rides on the boardwalk. I have a photo of myself and my best friend standing in front of the Olympic Bob as proof. That ride is long gone and only shells of buildings remain, and although Asbury Park is improving, I’m glad those shells still exist. They remind me that the past is indeed the past, and will never be relived. People, places, and things die and we move on, our life becoming something it would never have been if those things remained.
I often look back at the picture of myself, and that friend, in front of the Olympic Bob, and miss that smile, while knowing deep within my soul, that if the smile was still present I wouldn’t be who I am today. The shells of buildings in Asbury Park are a reminder to live in the present, rather than wishing for the future, because the present is all we truly have.