Note: Every week, a member of the Blogenning chooses a theme for the lot of us. This week it’s Brandon, and the theme is a letter to ourselves 10 years ago.
If I were to tell you I’m writing this from the future, you (rightly) wouldn’t believe me. I can’t say I blame you. I barely believe I’m writing you. It’s sort of a bizarre thing, after all, isn’t it? The idea that so much of your life has happened already, and you’re still in high school, saving up for that school trip to London and Paris. Well I have some proof to throw down here, and it’s in the way of bad news. That trip is going to be cancelled something fierce. If this “writing back in time” thing is working correctly, then you’re reading this paragraph on September 8, 2001. In 3 days, New York City is going to be seriously changed in a very permanent way. No one is going to see it coming, and when you find out about it, you will be hearing rumors in the hallways on your way to your free period, around 9 am. You’ll be in the cafeteria, having a slice of school pizza, and you will see the news. Your job during that time is to simply be. Be there for your friends, be there for momentous moment.
Our parents still remember where they were when they heard Kennedy was shot, I’m sure. You will remember this moment for a very, very long time. I promise you that. Now put this down, Tom, and come back in a week or so, once you know I’m speaking truth.
I’m assuming you’ve passed through the fateful day and you are now ready to listen. Good. Pay attention, because what I’m about to say very well might blow your mind. Are you ready? Sit down for this one. Here goes nothing:
I have no advice for you.
Before you get angry, hear me out. I want to give you advice. I want to tell you that when you get to college, be less angry about your classes and focus more on your friends. Don’t worry about shit that only matters for a few months. It’s not worth it, not when some of the friends you’re making you’ll have for a full decade later (you’ll get to write a wedding ceremony for one of them, in fact). I want to let you know that alcohol is not nearly as bad as you think it is, and that it depends entirely on the person to use it for fun or ill (good news: it’s been 10 years, and there are lines I still will not cross). I definitely would love to warn you about women. Fuck, man. Women are more dangerous than you can imagine, and you are going to embrace every moment with them, and you will learn so many hard lessons (but they will all be worth it, far as I can tell).
I can’t really tell you about that, though. Because even though I typed it all out, what good will it do? I know you, very well. You’ll think about it, and maybe keep things in the back of your mind, but overall you won’t worry about it. You have a girlfriend right now, graduation soon, college next year, and all sorts of crazy experiences in front of you, including a bunch of radio shows you’ll host, and a drama club that will welcome you with open arms. Hell, even after college – I’m writing this to you from my totally sweet apartment in Boston while various songs from my 93 GB digital music library play. But there’s only one way you get to the moment I’m in, and that’s by taking the path I did.
The only path you’ll take.
Don’t think too hard about what that means for pre-destiny and free will and all that jazz. Instead, consider it this way: you are going to make almost every single major decision (and many minor ones) based on what you feel is right (or at least best) for you and those around you. You’re going to follow your heart into a lot of dark places, but I know you’ll follow it right back out. I know, because I did. You still have a perfect amount of free will, but I already know the next decade of your decisions because I can see them from the other end. I don’t regret any of them.
I know you already suspect things tend to work out, but I can tell you that they do. Your suspicion is right. Stick by your friends, be true to yourself, and all that other self-help nonsense. You’ve got some rough times ahead, but you’ve also got some awesome ones. You’ll be telling stories (and having stories told about you) for years.
Now that I think about it, I do have a little bit of advice, if you want it:
Drink good liquor. Eat good food. Listen to good music. Read good books. Watch good film and television. Make good friends, and spend your time with them. Really, man, any advice I can give you comes down to “enjoy life.” It may sound lame, but it’s amazing how many people don’t know how to do that.
Don’t worry, though. I’m enjoying life every day. You will too. Mostly.