Friday, March 9, 2012

3 Letters to Me

"If you wrote 3 letters to yourself; the young you, the you right now, and an older you, what would they say? I did my best."

Dear younger me,

You were wrong. Not on everything but on many things. This is simply because you were young, idealistic, and chomping at the bit of independence. You couldn’t wait to see what “being an adult” was like and heaven forbid, you found out. Life is not easy. Success is not easy. Love is not easy. And opportunity does not plop down in your lap. Things that are worth having in your life take effort to obtain and more effort to preserve. It is in your wrongness on these things you were able to gain a strong life lesson wrapped in the sucker-punch of reality.

You were wrong to think that the clothes you wear, the things you have, the titles, the cars, and places you go make you who you are. It is your appreciation of these things that may begin to define you, but it is who you are in the absence or loss of these things that showcase your character. Your riches will be found in your relationships.

You were wrong in thinking that there will be an age where you are too old to do anything. You are never too old to learn, fall in love, enjoy new horizons, and to start anything all over again. The chronological age of your physical body cannot deter the youthfulness of your ever-expanding mind.

You were right however, in being optimistic–optimistic by remaining deaf to the little voices that wanted to tell you that you could not do something. The “damn the torpedoes’” attitude (that often backfired) propelled you into new experiences and situations that took you too both the high and the lows that now can be considered “learning experiences.” The distance between when they happened to you then and now make them a glorious lesson that shaped who you will become.

Youth is a lesson in wasted excesses. MTV taught us, “too much is never enough.” Having once lived by this I can say that too much can also knock you for a loop. Trying to be too thin, too rich, too drunk, to crazy, too cool, too anything–is often an attempt to seek approval from those who are not necessarily in a position to give it, nor have your best interest at heart. Realize that the greatest form of approval comes from within you.

When you think you will never be loved¬–you will be. When you think the pain will never stop–it will. When you think that your life is ruined–it will be restored. When you think you can never forgive–just try. And remember, it is okay to be mistaken, just learn from these mistakes and do not repeat them.

I love you; respect you, and thank you.

Signed,

Me the older you

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Dear me now,

I know it can be hard. I know it is hard for others to see a change or believe one is brewing as past evidence still gets in the way. But remember it is our time. I hope you have learned from the past that always seeking approval lends itself to disappointment in yourself. Others’ favor wanes and is fickle. To be truly satisfied, you must be able to feel it in your core. Check your motivation, check your intention, and check your navigation and unfurl the sails and go.

As you are experiencing, and may continue to experience, you come to the realization when old thoughts and behaviors no longer serve you. You enter the chrysalis and begin a transformation. However, be humble and wise to realize there is only room for one in each cocoon. Other may not, or care not, to make the journey and you must respect the choices of others as you wish to have yours respected. Trust me, we all end up where we are supposed to, just pray that those you care about or that should be in your life have the “red X” marked on the same spot on the same map. You can dance together later.

I want you to take a moment to congratulate yourself. You do not do that enough. Sometimes we get so busy looking at what we fear now that we forget to look back on all the times where what we feared did not keep us down. It did not hold us back, it taught us, and importantly it did not kill us. You should, by now, have evidence that you can do more than you ever thought you could with a lot less that you thought you needed. Also remember that what you fear or face now will someday be one of those stories you tell of how you overcame.

I hope you smile when you now realize that it took the desire for the toys, the titles, and all the stuff you thought you needed to be who you are–and then to lose or no longer have those things in your life to prove to you what you had all along. Your riches are in the people around you. I think you get that. I am proud of you for that. When you look at all the times you had the most difficulty, when you thought you were alone, when you thought you were not enough, when you thought you couldn’t go on–it was not your wallet, your car, or your trinkets that came up, hugged you, and said, “I love you, and this too shall pass.” It was people. Invest in them.

Enjoy this phase of your life. You would not like the alternative. I am here for you as I have always been, but I think our relationship is much better. I think we have a trust and a love, and most of all, an expanded awareness of our worth and potential. Whether you trip and stumble, or sprint through the tape, I will be here for you. I always have.

I love you; respect you, and thank you.

Signed,

The me beside you now

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Dear older me,

I can’t wait to meet you. I am praying that you will have a wealth of wisdom, stories, and experiences waiting on me. I can only hope that you have continued to polish the soul that I see growing inside you now. Through this diligent practice, you will be surrounded by the treasures reaped by one who has invested wisely in their contribution to others.

I can’t wait to see who you are as an older man, but how you have done as a father. You planted good seeds and I am sure they will flourish. I hope that I was able to tend to my garden well now so that you can enjoy the fruits of my efforts. The children who bring you so much joy have also posed challenges, but through guidance and by example–hopefully they have come through the obstacle course with little scar tissue. I hope you have grandchildren. Maybe you do, maybe not. I know it is not up to you. Either way, you were lucky enough to get the ones you had, but I know you know that. That alone deserves a smile.

I hope you now are enjoying your wife as you did when you were first married. Anyone who stuck by you like she did deserves some attention. Maybe she doesn’t want it. I think she will. Either way, continue to be there for her. She stood by you in times when most others would not. I think you now realize you needed her as she held the strengths you could not fit into your own soul. She brought to the mix what you often boastfully thought you could do alone. Have you got it yet? You needed her and were lucky to have her. I think you offered something to her too. A pretty good match indeed. I think you realized the weight of a large ego is too much to carry for too long. The heart of another is much lighter and much more satisfying to lift.

Knowing you now, I assume you are in a space to be able to say, “Well done!” Maybe there are things that didn’t get checked off the list. I think you also know that given the time and interest, you could check them off. I also think you know that striving needs to take a back seat to enjoying, to cherishing, and to simply being. There does come a time when the glass has just enough. I think you realized that a while back didn’t you?

I hope at the end of this ride, the old me, the me right now, and the older me get a chance to merge into what was originally intended for us to become. We are not separate people. We are simply chapters in a brilliant, emotionally driven; divinely orchestrated ride nestled between the covers of our life’s story. I hope our story inspires others. If not, like a forgotten diary that archives the whims and magic of one man’s’ journey through time, I hope simply that the world was a little bit better of a place than when we arrived.

I love you; respect you, and thank you.

Signed,

Me the younger you

4 comments:

Stefanie said...

I think this is a valuable exercise for us to do during times of transition or times of self-doubt or times of being stuck. Thank you for sharing yours--good to see you back in the blog-o-sphere.

Katherine Jenkins said...

I love this idea and I love what you have written here! Beautiful!

Harmony said...

Thank you... I shall try it .

Cynthia Pittmann, PhD said...

I love the writing task you set for yourself. Your blog is quite beautiful and shows a lot of thought.

It's easy to get sidetracked and move away from writing. (I noticed that you are also on Writers Rising.)

We have to keep re energizing ourselves as writers and creators.

I hope you come back and start writing again. It's important.