Dear Future Self
You know me better than I know myself and it's one of the greatest tools you have. Hind sight is 20/20, so everything we have been through from our rough childhood, homelessness, the ups like traveling the country and being a dad, it's been quite a ride. It's important to remember all of the places we have been, the good, bad, and ugly to know where we are going. Here's a few pointers from past you to keep you on track and to not repeat the mistakes we already made.
First and foremost you are your number one priority. Putting you health and wellbeing on the back burner sounds so tempting sometimes like those days you would work double doubles pulling 32 hours of work in a 40 hour period. Great money but we were so delirious we drank from that cup of cigarette butt water a guest left at the front desk that we thought was our coffee. I gag just thinking about it! Your health is what keeps you around and going as hard as you do, don't put a price tag on it because it will cost you at-least twice as much to fix it. Focus on continuing to grow and educating yourself, everyday is an opportunity to learn something. Continue to be open minded about who and where you learn from because everyone has knowledge to share. Remember when we were doing our routine morning breakfast with someone less fortunate and we met Henry? A homeless vet with a alcohol addiction who shared his life story with you over McGriddles on a park bench. He showed you how important it is to work out your demons, he saw things in battle he just couldn't shake and that's why he chose to self medicate. He told you to never be too proud to ask for help and regardless of the hand life deals you to always keep your head up.
Do you say things your parents/grand parents used to say without realizing it?
How old is Peter now, he's growing up so fast. Remember that he looks up to you, he loves you even on your worst days. He's stood by you even when everyone else wouldn't and only asks for your unconditional love and guidance in return. When he gets into his teen years you have to really be there for him, be the dad you wanted when you were his age. He's going to be a little heartbreaker with his gentle heart and big blue eyes. He has so much potential, don't mess that up for him. Every decision you have, every word you say, every action you take will shape his future. Just like carving something out of wood, you can't undo the carves cuts and grooves you leave on him. Want him to be an amazing person? You have to lead by example. You have to show him by doing it, don't just talk the talk but drink the kool-aid. You should probably share those letters you write him as he gets older as well, tell him he stories of how things were when you were a kid. Grandpa taught us so much and we didn't even realize it until we were all grown up and it just made sense. He needs you more than he will ever tell you and he truth is you need him more. He keeps you grounded, your head in the game, he is your litmus paper. Your legacy isn't to dictate his legacy but it gives him the tools and resources to blaze his own trail. Tell him you love him as often as possible, like right now. Go do it.
Remember when we were in our teens and we opened that bike shop in the garage? Entrepreneur at heart. Building and repairing bikes and earning an honest wage. We did it not because we had to but because we loved working with our hands. It was our passion and it made us happy. Then we got into hospitality, oh man. The stories from our career choice can entertain us for weeks on end. Like that time we went to Woodbury MN and had a hostage situation, or the guest who requested fresh cookies and extra towels on his reservation request and you made that towel animal zoo on his bed with a trench of cookies for them to eat.. We did it because we love why we do, if it doesn't make you happy then why are you doing it? Working with those non profit organizations, the university, it makes you feel good. Do what you love, love what you do. Never be afraid to change your mind. Now, I'm not saying if things get tough just up and quit. But if it's honestly and truly not what makes you smile, if you don't look forward to going into work in the morning than its time for a change. You can be whatever you want to be. Wash Windows, sell books, join the circus (again) just be happy with whatever it is.
The last thing which is probably the most important, don't forget me. Or the past me's. Always remember where we came from. Growing up below the poverty line, moving so often and not having many friends, being the dirty kid in school. It was rough but it could have been so much worse. Every experience you went through made you who you are. All of those ups and downs were lessons you needed to learn for you to grow as a person. Sometimes it took five times but eventually you got it. We also made a lot of friends along the way. Those who saw your potential and even when you annoyed the hell out of them they stood by you. Be grateful. Love them. Cherish them. You don't need 10,000 people to pretend to be your friend when things are good, it all comes down to that handful of real people who have your back when things get rough. You know who your true friends are when the lights go out. Because of them you avoided certain death at 17, learned that there's more to you that you didn't see, you learned how to be a better person, you learned how to laugh, you learned how to care about others, you learned that family isn't just bloodlines but those who have your back no matter what and you have theirs. Be loyal, honest, and remind them everyday how happy you are to have them in your life.
You have lived a good life, you will continue to do so but its all up to you. Don't let your past setbacks dictate your successes in the future. We all have the potential at any moment to stop whatever it is we are doing to become what we want to be. We are powerful beings and have the ability to dictate who we are and why. We are strong and amazing. Never forget that I love you and that you can't love anyone else until you love yourself. Be you, be proud, be legendary.