when i was about 13 i wrote a letter to my 30-year-old self that went something like this:
dear 30 year old al,
hey, how’s the future? well all’s good here i’m just kicking it in 1996 at my best friend trish’s* house and we’re totes planning what our lives are going to be like. she wants to be a dinosaur expert and marry ray* and live in australia.
as for me, i want to be an advertising executive, marry greg mcdaniels* and live in a 4 bedroom house with a terrier named irish.
so self, i hope that no matter where you are that you will find this letter one day and it will help you stay true to what you once really wanted.
*names have been changed to protect the guilty. and also because it’s fun to make up fake names for real a-hole people and talk about them publicly. hey, just saying.
although i don’t have the letter in front of me, i give you a money-back guarantee that this is almost exactly what it contained – save a few details about being best friends for life with trish and wearing our broken heart be/fri and st/ends necklaces to the grave. classic stuff.
so fast forward just 5 short years later my lost 18 year-old-self wrote yet another letter to future al.
this time it was an attempt to capture myself at 18 – because apparently i going through some kind of crisis like the plot of the 1991 movie “hook” where figured i’d grow up, become a yuppie jerk and forget how important it is to follow your dreams. or something.
i found this second letter shortly before leaving for india as i was rifling around looking for my travel neck pillow. i opened the letter, laughed hysterically, cried a little (both ironically and seriously) at how ridiculous i was and then 3-pointered it back into the box.
(i then watched the diabolical dog do a jaunty tap dance routine to “i got rhythm” for about 12 minutes. but that’s a whole other post.)
anyway, what made me think of these letters is our only-human propensity to sometimes be so “in it” we can’t see “past it”.
ok sure, in my examples i was just a stupid angsty kid, but the phenomenon itself can be applied to about a bajillion (real number) things in this life: break ups, jobs, friendships, family, and yes, even moves around the world to countries comprised mostly of mud and spice.
something sneaky happens when we are blindly passionate, scared or committed – our rational thinking takes an indefinite caribbean vacay and we’re left romping around lost in the cold with no snowsuit having to pee.
basically, we lose our ability to see what really matters through all the other crap.
and really, the only way to find our way home, so to speak, is to surround ourselves with honest and hilarious people. sometimes we all just need to be told to buck up, get our shit together and focus on the big goal. all in a way that doesn’t make us want to put our heads in the oven.
as evidenced by the above anecdotes, i could have probably used a few of those good people in my life over the years. but now, as i quietly and carefully “approach 30” (it’s not real if it’s in air quotes), i have several wonderful people helping me stay focused on what really matters.
and more than this, i’ve learned how to be one of these voices-of-sanity for others. most days, that is.
i didn’t become an advertising executive (do they even exist) and i didn’t marry greg mcdaniels, (he was always kind of a douche anyway) and i will never punish a dog with the name “irish”. so i guess, in the end, i am nothing like the person my younger self had so desperately hoped i would be.
but then again, what did she know?