Who exists only as a dream, but with an impact on my future
My dad recently sent me a photo of me from when I was ten years old. I had a bowl haircut and a smile, it looked like a school picture with a granular grey background. It’s been about 35 years since I took that picture. I was as mindless as any 10-year-old boy in the Rocky Mountain West of the 1980s, so I do not remember what it was like to be that youngster, but I am proud of him. That little guy read a lot (Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and even some Agatha Christie), was a good friend, and played outside with his 7-year-old brother from morning to night.
While that tike would hit puberty, be rejected, waste some youth, he would continue to read, try to be a good friend in a more complex social environment, and change from just play to a reverence of the outdoors and the conservation of earth. Eventually exposure to books of all varieties and the love of the people around me would lead me to alter the course of a young man who did-it-his-way-or-no-way to someone mindful of the gifts and luck he has had and a desire to pay it forward.
What’ll I think of the man that writes these lines 30 years hence? Will my practice of mindfulness synch with memory so my snippets of presence can be recapitulated so I remember what it is like to be me now?
Whatever is the case, I am convinced that the things I am proud of in the 10 year old boy are still on the list from the 75 year old me—that I read a lot, that I’m a good friend, and that I spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors. In thirty years, I’ve likely only added one or two more items—to be mindful and appreciate experience in the moment and give of yourself to those less fortunate. Oh, and I should stretch, exercise, and lay off the sweets because that child inside ain’t getting any younger on the outside!