June 20, 2012

Dear Future Keith

The Greatest Time Travel Movie of All-Time
 A few weekends ago, Sarah and I went to her brother's high school graduation in Seekonk, MA. After graduation we headed back to the Fulton's for some family time (which I really enjoy - I swear). Once we got home Daniel pulled out a letter he had written to himself when he was a freshman. I'll avoid divulging the details of Daniel's letter but we did get a kick out of the fact that he addressed the letter to "Future Daniel." Logically throughout the rest of the weekend we distinguished what "tense" of Daniel we were referring to (e.g. "Current Daniel, can you pass the butter" or "What do you think future Daniel will study in college?")

It had a Back to the Future feel to it.

Logically, I got to thinking. What would I want to write and say to future Keith? I figured I might as well do it; using of course, the same format as Daniel. Below is a letter written by Current Keith to Future Keith assuming it would be read again in four years from today's date.

Dear Future Keith,

It's hard to even imagine where you will be in four years. Kids? Job? I'm not sure where to begin. I suppose the best practice would be to avoid the peripheral things, and focus on the things that are most important.

Most people say "live today like it is your last." But I hesitate to say that to you, Keith. I fear that puts too much emphasis on your life. Not that your life isn't important, but I hope your perception of humanity isn't limited to a made for TV movie  in which you play the lead character, love interest and villain, based on the biography of your life which you, of course, wrote. No, rather I think you should do your best to live like it is everyone else's "last day." Think about it, Keith. Wouldn't this literally change every conversation you have ever had? Would you feel obliged to act a certain way?

Ordering your tall-ice-coffee-in-a-grande-cup-with-extra-ice-and-one-pump-caramel certainly takes on a different tone if the barista only has a few more hours on planet earth. Wouldn't you want to value that person?

To Starbucks baristas everywhere, we thank you
Remember how you felt when you heard you brother was diagnosed with brain cancer, and the doctors claimed there was nothing that could be done? Do you remember how important family became? What if family was that important every day? What if it didn't require potential tragedy to get you to fully appreciate those close to you? Praise God Karl is OK today. It probably wouldn't hurt to remember that also.

I'm glad you stuck around Karl (understatement of a lifetime)
Remember that time you and Sarah fought about the length of your bike ride? Remember when upon returning from work the first thing you said to her was, "You look like you're in a bad mood. Are you going to be in a bad mood all night?" Yeah, never do that again. Ask her if she is OK first. But more importantly, think if you weren't able to make that right. What if you literally didn't have even one more day to patch things up?

I promise you this Keith. If you give people enough time, nearly every single one of them has a pretty spectacular story. If only you allow them the opportunity to impress you. I get it. This is really hard to do. But I dare you try.

Let's talk about your wife a little bit more. When was the last time you proved to her that you love her? I'm not talking about just saying, "I love you." When was the last time that she knew that you love her? Remember the emotion you felt when the sanctuary doors swung open on August 6, 2011? Well, not that initial emotion. The bagpiper was a little distracting wasn't he? I still love you Terry the Bagpiper.

Take a look at Jerry and Phil. What in the world is going on?

I will never forget you Terry
No I'm referring to that moment when you first saw Sarah clutching her dad's arm. Do you remember how right it felt? Do you remember that look your father-in-law gave you when Pastor Neil asked him, "who gives this woman?" Do you remember how he communicated through a simple look, the endless love he had for you both AND the understanding that he was passing along the responsibility to care for his daughter. Mind you, this was all in one gaze. Your father-in-law is an impressive guy. Take care of Sarah. She deserves better than you. Oh, and would you please hang up your clothes when you get home from work. It really is aggravating to her, and really not that hard to do.

Seriously. Your closet is three feet from here...

Your attention span was short in 2012 so I know I must be loosing you. Stay with me. I just have a few more things.

Most importantly, don't forget what I said. Treat every person you cross paths with like it is their last day.

OK, for the last several items I will transition to list form.

1. Church league softball is important. But not that important. Relax.
2. If you are fortunate enough to have kids, do your best to parent like your mom and dad.
3. If the Cubs still haven't won a world series...I don't know what to tell you. Seriously, I got nothing.
4. Trust the Church. There are some pretty special things happening there.
5. You'll never have enough money. Stop worrying about it.

And most importantly

6. Remember what we have always said - family is most important. Or was it breakfast? I can never remember...

Future Keith

What would you say to your future self? Comment on this blog, on my facebook page or "tweet" me. I still can't say "tweet" with a straight face...

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