Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Letter to My Teen Self

I recently discovered the website "Dear Teen Me" at http://dearteenme.com/.

It made me wonder if I had the opportunity to send a message through time to my seventeen year old self, what would I write? And why would I write it? After all, given the laws of physics, my seventeen-year-old self will never read it. Then I thought others, perhaps even my grandchildren, might read and possibly benefit from my words.

If I could write a letter to the teen me, and send it back through time to the early 1960's, this is what I would write:

Dear Forrest:

You don't know me yet, but I know you. I know you because I am the future you. I have lived your life from when and where you are reading this to the time and place from which I write it more than fifty years in your future..

I'm writing to tell you you're going to be okay.

I'm writing to tell you that you have a great future ahead of you. You dream of it often. I can state with certainty that your dreams will be fulfilled.

You dream of learning complex and interesting things. You will learn them.

You dream of attending college, of studying and understanding deep technical concepts, and you will.

You dream of doing dashing deeds of daring during desperate times. You will do that too. It will scare the hell out of you, but you'll do it anyway.

But mostly, you dream of girls and of meeting a very special girl. You wonder if every girl you meet could be the one. You think you want a Playboy Playmate. What you really want is a soul mate and a help mate. I won't spoil things by telling you more, but you're going to like where it ends up.

Now the hard part. Your dreams will not happen on your time schedule. Some will require years. Others will require a lifetime. Most will require a great deal of work on your part. And that's okay. Hang on to the dreams that make sense and let go of those that don't. And never stop dreaming.

Also, nothing will happen exactly as you anticipate and this will frustrate you. Some of it will be amazingly wonderful, and some not so much. But things will mostly happen good.

That's all I'm going to say about your future lest I destroy your joy and excitement living it. For now, I want you to know that you are well equipped for everything the future will throw at you. Your Dad has given you a strong work ethic and sense of right and wrong. You will one day thank him for it. Your mother has given you a curiosity and interest in many subjects. And your school, in addition to a passable ability to read, write, speak, and cipher has given you friendships that will last a lifetime whether you think so now or not.

You are further blessed with a memory that retains all sorts of trivia and interesting minutiae. Take it from me, nothing you learn will ever be useless whether you ever use it or not.

The future is yours! Live it with optimism. Live it with enthusiasm. Live it well.

It's going to be great!

I've been there. I know.

Yours for the future,


I've written my letter to seventeen-year-old me.

Given the opportunity, what would you write back through time to the seventeen-year-old you?