Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If I Could Write a Letter To Me

Unless you've been living under a rock, or have absolutely no exposure whatsoever to Country music in any way, shape, or form, the above phrase should sound familiar. it's the title of a Brad Paisley song that I happen to like a great deal. It's about his current self writing a letter to himself back when he was seventeen. I won't rehash the song, but I love the idea, and I'm therefore going to do a little bit of creative plagiarism, if you don't mind...

[The first lines are Brad Paisley's actual intro to the song...]

"If I could write a letter to me, and send it back in time to myself at seventeen..."

[and now these are my words and thoughts]

First, I'd say that the anger you are placing towards "K" is misguided... he's a dad, with a daughter, and he's looking out for her best interests. No matter how earnest and caring you are, you are *not* that best interest, not at this time. You're going to lose this one... and that's OK. Can you have true love at 17? Yes, but only 17 years worth. You're asking for more than can be given at this time in your life, and you have to step back and let it go... and again, that's OK. Believe it or not, you're going to see "K" again in 9 years, and you are going to introduce your wife to him, and you are going to smile, and laugh, and realize that all things have their time and place. Oh, and by the way, when you have two daughters of your own, you'll understand "K" a whole lot better, and find that you actually agree 100% with him.

Next, I'd say not to be in such a hurry to grow up and be an adult. Freedom is great, but it comes at a pretty steep price. The irony is that, when you make your own money, live in your own place, and can finally make your own rules, being responsible and taking care of yourself and others leaves very litle time for all the "fun" things you think you'll be able to do when you finally become an adult. Slow down and enjoy this time.

Do you see all of those people you think are making fun of you? They're not. Many of them actually admire the fact that you are willing to stick your neck out and work towards a dream, no matter how crazy it may be. You may succeed, you may fail, but you never truly fail if you keep trying.

Music is a tough career, and it will cost you a *lot* more than you think it will to get a foot hold. By the way, you have the vocal chords of a heavy metal singer, and unfortunately, your dreams of doing music like Depeche Mode or The Cure won't work very well for you in 1986. However, you will have a rather memorable career as a frontman for a glam metal band, and many wonderful memories will be formed from that experience. Wait, don't you play guitar and bass? Yeah, you do, but your true talent lies in singing. Stop being afraid to raise your voice and learn how to control it. You'll be surprised at what comes out of your mouth after a few years.

You will make mistakes, you will break hearts, you will have your heart broken. However, you will find the woman of your dreams, and she will complete you, both figuratively and literally. Your three kids will be the greatest blessing and the high points of your life. No career choice or experience will top it.

You know that Boy Scout award you gave up on several years ago? I've got a surprise for you. You are going to have the experience of helping twelve other boys earn theirs (as of this writing) plus the potential to help many more. Never saw yourself as a Scout Leader? Well, that's OK, but rest assured, you'll find it to be one of the most fulfilling works of your life.

That church that you are so frustrated about, the one that's full of perfect people that you can never hope to measure up to... those people are just like you. They are imperfect, striving people that make mistakes, have problems, have doubts, insecurities and have weaknesses just like you. They may not have the same weaknesses, but rest assured, they have their own. No matter how they may treat you, know that your Heavenly Father knows who you are, and that he loves you, and that he has a plan for you that you will scarcely believe. You'll have experiences both outside of the Church and inside of the Church. Don't be surprised to find that the one's inside will be the ones that bring the biggest smile to your face later. Oh, and that "hopeless dream" of being sealed in the Temple... you''ll do exactly that with your wife and three children in 2002, surrounded by family, friends and loved ones who will cherish that day every bit as much as you will.

To borrow from Brad again ... "you've got so much going for you, going right, but I know, at seventeen, it's hard to see past Friday Night". Still, your life is going to turn out in ways you cannot imagine right now. Friends you love will be lost, new friends will come, you will lose family members, you will get and lose jobs, you will change careers, you will struggle and thrive, and at times you'll do both at the same time. Life is not a destination, it's a journey, and it's one that will make you into a man that you could scarcely imagine you would be. I hope you like the man that you become, and I hope you never stop trying to make him into the best man that he can possibly be.

Anyway, that's about what I would say... "if Icould write a letter to me".

1 comment:

Tyler said...

Interesting post. I will have to do that to myself one day. Very honest and open.