Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Conversation with My 15-Year-Old Self

Freshman year in high school (1972-1973)
Hi, Mike. It's me—I mean you.

Excuse me?

I'm you, 40 years later. I remember you really well, but you don't know a thing about me. But that's understandable.

Right, look, um...

Just bear with me. I have something important to tell you.

Okay. I'll give you five minutes, but...

Everything turns out.

Everything what?

Everything in your life. You get the girl, the best girl for you. And your dreams, most of them, come true. Not all of them, but the best ones do.

Which girl?

You haven't met her yet, but when you do, you'll know she's the one. She'll knock you out.

Scary.

I know it seems scary now, but it won't be. Being in love and happy is not scary or hard.

What about horses?

You will have horses until you're me.

That's great to know.

But that one dream of yours, you know, to go down the road as a professional cowboy...it ain't going to happen.

I didn't want to hear that. How are mom and dad?

They're gone now. They've been gone a long time. In fact, they'll both die much sooner than you think.

Why'd you have to tell me that?

Because you have time to appreciate them, time to spend with them. Enjoy them while you can because you'll miss them for most of your adult life. Ask them lots of questions.

[Silence.]

How's school?

I can't stand school. I can't wait to get out of high school.

That's because you can't choose what you want to study yet. Once you can do that, you'll love school. You'll go to college. You'll even graduate from college.

Crazy.

It's not crazy. I know you think you are a lousy student, but you're really not. I thought you'd be surprised. The more you put into school, the more you'll get back. You'll start to do better when you are a senior.

I could do better.

Why didn't you try out for football this year?

I dunno. 'Cause I was scared to?

Yes, you were scared. And you let your fear talk you out of a great experience. In fact, you'll regret that decision for the rest of your life.

Oh, great. Why don't you rub it in?

Because if I don't rub it in, who will? You can also be a better friend, and more respectful of your parents. And more outgoing.

I am nice enough.

You are too selfish and self-centered. You need to work on that.

Okay.

I am very confident in you. I know what you are capable of now, more than you have ever thought. But you are going to make lots of mistakes and go through some very humbling experiences to get there. When you are humble is when you make progress. When you are not, you'll be frustrated and unhappy.

I am pretty unhappy most of the time, I admit.  I feel like only part of me.

A light will break forth in your life in three years, a glorious light. It will guide and bless you. You will learn what real happiness is. And peace.


I don't get that, but it sounds like a good thing.

It will be a great thing, the greatest thing you will ever have in your life. Can I give you some advice?

I won't tell you no.

On the ranch (1973)
Listen. Listen hard. Be humble. Apologize without being overly apologetic. Look at yourself in the mirror, and be willing to change. Forgive. Be respectful and kind to everyone. Be patient with people. Don't give up. Fight for your dreams. Look for the Light and follow it.

I'll think about it.

Thank you. I want to tell you one more thing.

What's that?

I love you.

Oh come on.

I mean it. Loving and forgiving yourself is one of the hardest things for you to do. But it is one of the most important things for you to do. You will get better at it. 

Okay.

Thanks for talking to me. See you in a few decades. You are going to love your life, even though it is going to be hard. You'll have more ups than downs.

Thanks.

I have one P.S.

What?

Buy Apple stock. In 1980. Put every thing you can into it. You won't be sorry. Now good-bye. I love you.

Cut that out.

P.P.S. I know you can't stream video yet, but this would give you another perspective.


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