Thursday, June 09, 2011

Dear me: A letter to my 16 year old self

Hey Karl,

This is you/me 34 years from now, writing from one probable future.

You know how you hate school right now? I know exactly why. You are bored out of your freaking mind. You know you're smart and capable. You certainly proved that to everyone in grade 5, 6 and 7. But your marks have gone down ever since. Trust me - it's because you're bored. Take a look at your Geography marks. They're high because you enjoy geography. You know that secret thrill you get from looking at and studying maps? You'll enjoy it even more when you get older. There will be maps and photos taken from space of the entire world available for you to gawk at on computers. Everyone will have these computers and they'll be connected to each other using a world-wide network. You'll be in your god-damned glory.

I may as well tell you now - you're going to be convinced to join the military by your pal Christopher within 2 years of finishing high school. He will not show up at the swearing in ceremony where you commit to a long career in the service - you'll find yourself to be completely on your own. Don't panic. Go for it anyway. The military is going to change your life. It will help to build your confidence, instill the discipline you lack and give you a very interesting career - for free. You'll discover by accident that you not only love learning when the subject is interesting, but that you can teach. Yes - you my friend. You'll become very good at explaining things to people. Complicated things. You'll intuitively know how to distill the essence of any concept into something anyone can understand. It's a powerful skill and it will open many doors for you. (It actually runs in the family as it turns out)

You know how you like helping David DJ at the community hall dances in Two Mountains? The best is yet to come. You'll become a disc jockey in your own right, on the side, as a hobby. You'll be a late musical bloomer, but not to worry - you'll make up for lost time. You'll spin tunes nobody has heard before and they'll love you for it. Music is going to become a big part of your life and you'll embrace every new technology that comes along to help you enjoy and share music. You'll even dabble with a synthesizer for a while, maybe more if you take the time to learn how to read music.

If there's one thing I must impart to you while you're still young, it's this - stop blocking opportunities that come your way. Say 'yes' more. You'll be tempted to say 'no' and take a pass on a lot of things that come your way. Please DON'T! Every thing you say 'no' to is basically slamming the door on infinite possibilities and potential relationships, personal and professional. In this reality that I am living, it took you 20 years to discover by accident that you like improvisational theatre. It took you 10 years to discover that you like city planning and transportation. But you didn't do anything about it until you were 50. You should do something sooner.

In a sentence - it's better to have tried and failed than never tried and squashed an entire probability.

Have fun,


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