When I moved to the Albany, NY area in the Spring of 2007, I created a profile on a number of social networking sites as a springboard to building a new life and meeting new people in my new hometown. In the beginning I had the typical information describing me as a person who valued “a, b, and c” and enjoyed the company of people who where “x, y, and z.”
During that first summer, I wrote something that I still have a hard time classifying: an essay? a short story?
In the end, I believed this “Message of Hope” said more about me than any literal attempt to describe my view on the world. This “letter,” so to speak, was written well before the presidential election process of 2008 began and any candidate was selected to represent either party. It later became the de facto “About Me” write up I used on these social networking sites.
I repost this here as I expect my future writing I will reference this to some extend, as well to give people who weren’t an active part of my life during that time, and opportunity to read it for themselves.
So without further ado,
A Message of Hope
To Our Younger Selves,
What should you say if given the opportunity to communicate with your past selves? Do you give yourself the winning lottery numbers to win the big jackpot? Warn yourself of some impending trial of character? Do you congratulate your younger selves on the moments that give you pride, or berate yourselves for those that give you shame? No. Forty years down the road, it is these moments that make us who we are. If we change any part of this, we change, fundamentally the person we are to become. So, what then should we say to both of you? Perhaps the only message that can be given that will guide us through the best times in our lives and help us through the worst times: a message of hope.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Some idiot sits behind the desk in the oval office. But then, aren’t they all? Oh sure, there are times in your life where you will back one candidate or another, they always seem so brilliant, so charismatic leading up to election day, but there are only a rare few politicians in history that have made real change.
In the last forty years, we’ve realized, we aren’t any smarter than you were then, but we’d like to think we’re a little wiser. The family and friends that surround us; we all understand that real change comes not from the man behind the desk or the one behind the pulpit. Change comes from us. I know one of you holds onto the idea that ‘the world is what we make of it’. Never lose sight of that. In the end, the more people who can be inspired to live their lives that way, the more you will see a change for the better.
Our kids are in the house putting the final touches on the evening’s meal, telling us old coots it’s their turn to take care of us. We sit here on our front porch watching our grandchildren play with the neighborhood kids. It seemed like such a pipe dream, finding “the one.” Someone you will fall in love with, spend the rest of your life with. Especially with the way the society you live in now views two men who are in love.
We’ve been together for almost forty years now. Some days, when we remember how madly in love we are, we can hardly believe it has been that long. Others, when we’re ready to wring each other’s necks, we can’t believe it has only been that short. Oh sure, there will be plenty of good times: horseback riding in Saratoga, that time we took sailing lessons, skiing the northeast and beyond, all those time we just sat together on a lazy afternoon watching a movie or just talking. Make no mistake there were plenty of challenges in our life together. Remember always that a true, lasting relationship is based on more than the temporary feelings of love. It’s about committing to one another through the good times and the bad; learning to live with both each other’s assets and faults. Most importantly: communication. I know you know this now, but never stop communicating with each other, even if what you have to say is difficult. If things aren’t working out, be man enough to admit it to one another. When things are going well, don’t be afraid to admit your happiness.
We beat the odds, had a family together, are surrounded by the people who we love and who love us, and have a lifetime of memories together. All this, because both of you took a chance on each other. Make sure you take that chance, and we can say, through better and through worse, you can always hang onto that hope for the future.
With Love and Gratitude,
Your Future Selves, Forty or So Years Older and Wiser