I was having a rather nostalgic conversation with an old college buddy yesterday, and we talked about what it would be like to go back in time 10 years and have a conversation with ourselves. Honestly, we both agreed our lives are nothing like what we expected, and if we had to describe it to ourselves in the year 2002, we probably wouldn't believe a word of it. I then thought, what would it be like to also write a letter to ourselves ten years from now? That, at least, is a possibility. Well, here goes my attempt at a little inner monologue "time travel". This is a letter to myself in the year 2002 from 2012.
Dear Mike in 2002,
I am writing you from the year 2012. Sounds like a long time from now, but rest assured when you glance back it will seem like a blink of an eye. Unlike the movie Back to the Future, I doubt we'll be seeing hover boards and flying cars in three years, but some of the ideas aren't far off. According to some people, they actually believe the world will end just before Christmas of this year, but I doubt it. A lot of good and bad will happen in your life, as I'm sure you well expected. Afterall, our personalities and gut instincts haven't changed much over the years, though the 30 year old version of you is a touch more jaded about work and relationships. Speaking of, I hate to break it to you, but you still won't be married in 10 years. You chose some pretty bad girls to date, and a some of them chose you. And whatever you do, never ever date a pastor's daughter. When your gut tells you something is very off about someone, trust it, and move on. Look at me futily trying to change the past. On the flip side, at least you haven't been divorced, or have any kids you owe child support on. Being a bachelor is actually quite nice as you have been able to see and do many things in your free time that you may not have otherwise.
How's that political science major coming along? Again, not to bust your chops, but you won't be using it much, and don't fret about the low GPA's your sophomore and junior years at JMU. The time you spent with the people you did was the most important thing you could have done with your time. Afterall, you learn life is about relationships and the daily pursuit of bringing life and fruitfullness to them. Not all days, months, or even years can be good.
So, how does it feel being 20 years old? My mind and body almost forgot what it was like to be full of energy all the time, stay up until 4am, and sleep in until 2pm the next day. Believe it or not right now I consider sleeping in anything past 8am. That's the same time as all those early classes you try so hard to avoid scheduling. Lol. Yeah, work is work. You are living back in Harrisonburg for the second time since graduation. You were here for three years, left for two, and are about to complete another three years. Oh, and you're still at JMU, but don't worry, you're an employee and not a grad student.
The family is still doing well in 2012. Mom and dad are healthy and still kicking. They look a bit older, but they are now in their 60's, which is hard for you to believe. Your little sister Elisa graduated from JMU in 2006, and is about to complete grad school at MCV. She is also getting married this August! Can you believe that little Elisa is getting married before you? What a mature, intelligent, and beautiful woman she has become, but, you never doubted it for a second. Her Fiance is named Tim, and it's moments like these you can really feel time fly. I hope you remember the fourth of July this year, and remember it well. You'll be at the Richmond Diamond for the grand illumination fireworks show and the entire family will be there, including grandma and grandpa. Please take time to appreciate every moment you have with them. When their eyes are gazing up at the spectacular fireworks take a moment to look at them. Look at your family in this place in time and know that beautiful fleeting seconds such as this are a glimpse at eternity. Appreciate every birthday, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas you have with everyone for the next couple of years.
In 2005 grandma will pass away from cancer, and grandpa as well in 2008. You thought you'd always have them forever, but life is true and just in these ways. However, none of it was in vain. You became a runner! I know you're laughing because you hate running even a mile, but you will become a man on a mission to cure cancer. Did you'd ever think you'd run a marathon? Well guess what, not only did you run one, but you will have run over 75 by the time of your 31st birthday. Always an overachiever, eh Mike? You've sumitted America's highest peaks, been to Hawaii, run one hundred mile races, and lived a life's worth of experiences just in the next decade to come. You didn't just live. You LIVED!
Any big plans for your 21st birthday? Hate to break it to you, but you'll be working 11 hours on your big 21st birthday without a single drop of alcohol. By the way, Sarah Thomas isn't worth your time right now, and neither is Ashley. They will both be married to guys they have yet to meet. You do still keep in touch with your current best friends, but a lot of your aquaintances will fade soon after college. People are a transient part of this thing called life, and they come and go seemingly like the wind. All your best friends are now either married with kids, about to get married, or moved off. Learn when it's time to let go of old friendships. The days of having hundreds of friends and weekly parties will end shortly, so soak it up now. Samantha and Julia were amazing women, and you'll meet them both on a tropical island in five years. Enjoy that journey well. A bad car accident in 2009 will leave you scarred the rest of your life and you will learn that scars of the body and scars of the soul are two very different things.
I could go on and on about the technology, music, sports, movies, and fashion changes, but that will be fun for you to learn as time goes by. Just one warning though. Hollywood ran out of ideas so they are remaking all your childhood movies, and don't get over excited about the ending of a show called Lost, because it makes little sense, and your favorite show Smallville managed to run for ten whole seasons. I suppose some big milestones are that we have a black president, and we had the ten year anniversary of 9-11, which is still fresh in your memory. I could reveal it all, but one major lesson in life is that we/you/me must make choices without the benefit of foresight. Everything that happens from now on will have small and large impacts on how you view life and make choices that bring you one step closer to tomorrow.
Just be sure to get regular dentist visits and stop eating so many Sour Patch Kids. Stop taking things for granted, because you still do, and stop complaining about the mundane things you cannot change. The world isn't so different in 2012, but as technology increases humanity proportionately decreases. The vastness and speed of information and communication will lead to the further complacency of real human interaction in exchange for virtual relationship. Deus Ex Machina as you will call it. The empty silence and space between people is less filled with conversation, smiles, and pleasant glances. People are plugged into everything. Computers, phones, listening devices. Everything but each other. Instead of pursuing, we find every distraction possible to avoid the other 7 billion people on earth. Yup, we're at 7 billion now. This is the way the world is shaping up as the buildings rise higher and man relies more on machine than his common fellow. This is the world you will graduate into. This is a world waiting for you to do something big.
Yourself in the the year 2012
-You ( Mike )