About half-way through the evening, our MC told us to proceed to a table in the back of the room where we would find boxes of letters…letters that we had written to ourselves when we were seniors in high school; letters that were to be given back to us at our 10-year reunion. As you can imagine, after so many years, we had all forgotten about participating in this little exercise back in 1989. There was quite an energy about the room as we all flocked to the table to find our letters and see what we had written.
I searched through all of the letters, but mine was nowhere to be found. My wife searched through the stack of letters, too…but no luck. At first, I wondered if my letter had somehow gotten lost? But the more that I thought about it, the more I became convinced that I must not have written one. That sounded about right to me, because in high school I was not thinking about the future-I was only thinking about the moment. I’m sure that the last thing that I would have wanted to do was to sit still and think about what my life would look like 10 years down the road.
If I had written a letter to myself, back in 1989, when I was a senior in high school, I wonder what I would’ve said? I probably would’ve talked about stuff like sailing, music, beer, and girls (in that order, I’m sure). I’m guessing that it would have went something like:
January 13, 1989
I hope the future totally kicks butt (edited version)! By now you are probably a famous country singer, who has toured all around the world. I’m sure that by this point in life you are living it up with guitars galore and a sweet pad in Nashville, and one in the Caribbean, too…I hear that Jimmy Buffet hangs out there! Even though you’re singing country music, now, you’d better still be rocking out to Guns n Roses and Bon Jovi!
So, what kind of sailboat do you have now? I’ll bet it’s a sweet Hinkley Sou’wester 70 or something cool like that! What’s it like sailing around the world in your spare time? I hear the Roarin’ Forties have gnarly seas!
What’s it like not to have to use a fake ID?
I hope you married a total babe! Shaa-wing! (you do remember Wayne’s World, don’t you?)
PARTY ON DUDE AND KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD!
p.s. I hope you finally got that Trans-Am that you wanted.
I’d like to think that the above letter is an over-exaggeration of just how shallow my words to Future Danny would’ve been. But who knows? Because after all, I was far more concerned with having a good time than I was with anything else. I can’t go back in time and write a letter to Future Danny. But I’ve been thinking about what a letter would say if Future Danny wrote a letter to Past Danny-1989, Senior in High School Danny. Brad Paisley has a song called, “Letter To Me”, that explores this very idea. If you’ve never heard it, it’s well worth the download. But, if I were able to write a letter now, as a 40 year-old man, and somehow send it back to myself in 1989, what would the letter say?
Maybe it would say something like this:
January 13, 2012
Finish what you start. Don’t fizzle out at the end of your senior year…you can do it! Don’t put college off till you’re 22. Do it now while you have fewer responsibilities and can focus more. It will cost you far less monetarily, emotionally, physically, and relationally if you do it now, rather than waiting till later in life.
Your friends will determine your future-so, choose them wisely. Right now, if you really think about it, you can tell which ones care only about themselves and which ones genuinely care about the well-being of others. And speaking of close friends, after Todd’s mom dies, and he tells you how bad he misses her when you guys are sitting on the lakefront, don’t try to change the subject by making him laugh. Embrace his pain and let him cry…it’s okay to cry when you’re a dude.
When your Granddady Norris passes away, you need to make the 6 hour drive and go to the funeral. Your mom needs you to be by her side. Your job can wait. Your boss will understand; if not, then he’s not a boss you want to work for. And speaking of your mom, you have no idea how amazing she is. She is a treasure. She is the wisest person you will ever know. Make sure you spend as much time with her as possible because she won’t always be around. Write down the things that she tells you so that you can pass them along to your own children one day.
Women were not put on this earth just to make you feel better about yourself. They are a gift from God, to be adored, honored, respected, and cherished. You don’t need to date everyone; when your mom tells you, “Only date the girls that you would consider marrying!”, she’s right. That should narrow it down to one…and she won’t come along until 1994. When you meet her, you will know she”s “the one”. And by the way, guess where you’ll meet her? CHURCH! Yep, the good girls really do go to church! She will be way out of your league, but she will be the kind of person you want to spend your entire life with. She will love you for exactly who you are, but she will love you enough to not let you stay that way. The two of you will grow old together and have a beautiful family…like the one you never had…the one you dreamed of.
When your mom takes you to that Christian concert in Slidell, don’t make her feel like a freak because you think Christian music is lame…listen to the lyrics being sung. And during the middle of that concert when you feel that weird “nudge” to go down front during an altar call, DO IT! That nudge is the Spirit of God calling you to himself. If you receive him on that night you will start to see a much greater plan for your life, and you will spare yourself a lot of heartache. God loves you and that’s more love than you’ll ever need.
Lastly, about the future: It’s okay to be a dreamer-God made you that way. But you do need to realize that your dreams may not always be God’s dreams. Once you start to grow in your walk with God, He will give you new dreams that will then become the desires of your heart, too. Follow hard after the heart of God and you will always be right where you need to be.
P.S. That Trans-Am you want is much cheaper in 1989…the amount of money that you spend on beer between 1989-1993 will more than pay for it. So, stop wasting your money and start saving.