Saturday, October 17, 2009

a letter to a 16 yr old me

Ian,

i won't ask how it's going because i already know. you're doing fine by the way, be encouraged. i'm writing you from just over 25 years in your future because i need to smooth over some stuff for both our sakes.
first of all, relax. you'll be in love, you'll get married, you'll actually get to have sex some day and you'll be very happy with the mate you choose. Jesus won't return before you get a chance to have all those experiences. don't do anything rash, just chill. sex is overrated anyway. don't get me wrong it's great and you really enjoy it but it's not worth the wishing effort that you waste on it. it's just better to relax and let your friendships support you better. i get it that you're just 16, and it seems like forever til you'll get to the place that you'll "do it" but ... you will do it and you'll be fine.
the world isn't going to explode over these 25 years ahead of you, in fact the Berlin Wall will come down and you'll even get to see and touch it before it does. i know, that was pretty cool. by the way, when you're in Berlin you'll see a Lambourghini and actually take a picture of it, don't misplace that picture, because your friends won't believe you when you tell the story. you'll worry a lot less about the arms race in time and the Soviets end up losing power so that there's a lot less "us and them" talk globally. you even end up marrying a girl whose dad was born in the Ukraine. that's cool.
you'll fret over what you're going to do with your life but don't worry too much about that either, like i said, you'll be fine. you'll help people and you yourself get helped. you'll own a house, you'll be involved in life events that give you life, you'll be a part of a church community that reaches you in depths that you don't think you have. you'll bless people and they will bless you. your vocation will fulfill you and you'll love your life. get used to riding your bike because you'll truly LOVE that you're commuting to work by bike while staying not nearly as svelt as you are right now.
by the way, you cannot just continue to eat whatever and whenever you like. your preference for Oh Henry bars and Pepsi gets your waistline into predicaments that you're still trying to get out of. ease up a little will ya?
people really do like you. everywhere you go, you find friends. try to be more friendly. i know you get absorbed in your own stuff but you really should pay more attention to other folks. contrary to popular belief it's not all about you. people hurt and you can help. don't be afraid to reach out and you'll see that your friendships deepen.
listen for God's voice and actually do what you know you need to do. i have a scar right between my eyes that i wouldn't have if i actually listened to what i knew God was telling me to do. i got into an accident doing temp work at a factory and i came within a centimeter of losing an eye. to this day i think of that when i look at my own mug in the mirror. listen to me, i've been to places that you haven't been to yet.
learn to pray. much of your thought life is prayer so learn to think on the right things. talk to God about the friends around you, they're just as confused about how to live as you are.
Grant and Paul - these are your significant friendships right now. you still stay in touch and Paul will stand up beside you at your wedding (you'll be in his too). your friendships could be a lot deeper now than they should be so you really should try to go deeper now so that they last later. i haven't seen either guy in like 15 years although i do get the occasional email from Grant (you'll find out what email is later).
Sarah - she really digs you, but you know that already. you're probably thinking that she's really annoying right now, and she probably is, but she'll need you in a couple years. incidentally she'll play the lead in a Senior play at her high school and she'll rock the world with it so she won't always be this annoying. she'll have a spiritual struggle of immense magnitude and she'll be asking some serious questions of you. be there for her long before that conversation and you could probably lessen the pain of her struggle. she may not throw all spirituality away which is what i last heard that she had decided to do.
Sandra - she digs you too (don't be a dog about it). i'm actually a bit proud of you here, you really help her on her journey of faith. keep it up and keep helping folks like that.
your family - your parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary last summer and they're still very happy together spending your inheritance. listen to your sister more, she needs you and she loves you very much. give your elder brother a kick in the pants because he needs it too. your eldest brother has already moved out and he'll have an interesting journey too but everyone will be fine.
music - i love music today probably because i paid so much attention to it when i was you. listen to the radio more, you can easily sort out the good music from the stuff that brings nothing to the table. sing more. play more. don't regret the conflict that you had over choosing between music and french class, you made the right call. you'll study a bit of theory and you'll learn a new instrument over the next couple decades. you'll even play a song on the guitar with all your siblings and their spouses at your parents 50th anniversary. your father will be astounded because he won't see it coming.

when you see a pretty blond smiling at you in college, you're about to enter a world of hurt so be careful. in some ways it shapes you and in other ways it busts you up for the next half decade. i don't know how to advise you on that one because if you run away from that then you'd probably be a different man than the one that i know today.
i like you Ian, i really do ... and i'm not alone in that. bless those around you, keep praying, and just chillax a little. you'll be fine.

Love,

you

2 comments:

tracey said...

nice post. "relax". wish my 16 yr old self could have heard and accepted that advice.

Slow'n'Steady said...

like this. i have a sixteen yr old who could use a letter like that.