Monday, April 18, 2011

Jane in Orem

dear jane,

hey kiddo. {dad always called me kiddo. and i'm fond of the term.} it's me, just a ways down the road. a little older, a few more wrinkles, and a heck of a lot wiser. since twenty-five years ago, the great www. has been invented and has connected you to the most inspiring, beautiful world. you currently dwell in such a pond of happiness, that your mind just oozes with gratitude. besides that, you're well-traveled and your perspective on life has matured. you are the core of a beautiful family, a family that you spent your entire childhood dreaming of. but, before you reach these moments... there are a few things we need to re-visit...
the most important thing i want emphasize to my younger self-
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

and then, a few other things - i'll use a list, because, i love making lists.
1} do not perm your hair. do not perm your hair every three months for about six years.
2} do not wear make-up in fifth grade, wait till later. {i don't know why your mother allows you to do these things. i'm still baffled by this.}
3} do not start tanning in tanning beds when you're like 12! down the road, you will do so much traveling to exotic places, a tan will be a bonus. you do not need to look tan for boys to like you, now. or, to be noticed. you can be white & beautiful.
4} do not spend so much time, thinking about boys. or doing things to get noticed by boys. better yourself - nurture your love of the arts so you can fill your time with quality talents, enjoy the passion that you have for creating. against your own thoughts, your dad will support you in being artistic... you don't have to study business, math, etc. to please him. your bond with your dad is fiercely strong but quiet, allow it to be what you need. fill your time with these things, instead of boys. you do not need a boyfriend to feel secure. don't fall in love, live your life a little first, you don't need boys so young - not at 12, 14, 16.
mark twain said,
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

... as a young adult, you will join forces with the most amazing man, he dotes on you endlessly and loves you for all you are. you are a powerful team, he's truly god-sent. and you will explore, discover. it will be unreal - so, don't use your teenage years looking for love.
5} do keep dreaming. your entire childhood you are aware of your desires to dream, and this little seed in your soul that feels like you can conquer the world - nourish it - you were born a confident, positive force. noticing good before bad is just normal to you... you won't realize this till you're about sixteen. at this point, when you start to share your dreams out loud, your mom may start to shut you down. she's not a dreamer. she's very practical, and lacks the kind of confidence you have. this can only mean one thing, you will clash. don't let your flame diminish - in reality, you don't. but there will be challenging days. and delays. life will get better, sooner rather than later.
6} between the ages of 8-18, you may not even understand this word to it's fullest captivity, but stop coveting. be happy with what you have. even if it seems like very little. it's enough. yes, there are years where your family doesn't have a car, or tv, or the latest nintendo... or, what you covet the most - family. your parents and the situation you are in can. not. change. so, love those around you for how it is. life is going to give you so much beyond your wildest imaginations later, especially in the realm of family. realize now that the simplest things in life bring happiness, your soul will be happy. with this being said, find adults you can trust, who are honest - they are there, it just might take some searching for them.
7} with these first six, embrace everything about you. to thine own self be true. find the courage in your soul to express how you feel, speak up, about everything - your weaknesses, your personal struggles with religion, and let those around you know how you feel. do not feel small or insignificant because of the storms you've weathered at such a young age. embrace it all, and you will grow. you are a very emotional creature, channel those emotions to help you grow. use those emotions towards your creativity.
after these seven things, be yourself. i promise, you will be happy. the happiest you have ever been. you will be loved, so completely. you have so much potential, you just need to discover it a little sooner.
one day, you will have four children, and you will celebrate their individuality. in fact, you will over-encourage them to be authentic. making sure that they don't perm their hair, don't wear make-up in fifth grade, don't go tanning too young, or go seeking the attention of boys to help them feel secure. you will saturate them with your love, and you will fight for their passions, and what makes them happy. it will make your heart feel like it beats on the outside of your body, the love is so strong.
and, when you reach here, 2011, you'll have a new perspective of your parents. there will still be sorrows, but you will have a better understanding. and, 2011 rocks.
to thine own self be true.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jayd in Austin

Hey, dude. It’s me. Well, actually, you. Just 25 years in the future. I know that sounds entirely creepy, but it’s true. You see, in the future (and this is one of the few things in the future that is truly mind-blowing) there’s this thing called a blog and you’ve (I’ve?) been asked to write something for it. Picture a fanzine but accessible through a computer and available to almost everyone in the world. It’s insane and you won’t be able to remember how you lived without it.

So, yeah, this is you in the future. Knowing how your brain works, right now you are (a) wondering what has become of you and (b) completely questioning the credibility of this. So, let’s just tackle those questions upfront. First off, the future is a bizarre place where you are shaving regularly (well, still only a couple of times per week to be perfectly honest) and having sex (and, even when that is only a couple of times per week, you aren’t complaining in the least). Yes, you actually marry. Yes, you actually have kids. And (shockingly, to be honest), yes, you actually like your job. The future is actually awesome. Look forward to it, but don’t rush it. The ride to get there is plenty awesome as well. Secondly, let’s address that credibility issue. Here you go – 25 years on, you would still take a bullet in defense of “Psychocandy” being the greatest album ever. Oh, yes. Now, I know what you are thinking – “I’m an old man clinging to the past! Argh!”. Don’t worry there are 25 great years of music ahead of you and you are still on top of it. But, there’s still just something about “Psychocandy” that nothing else has been able to trump.

So, I’m rambling a bit (dad’s pet peeve about your writing style to this day; don’t change it man, just keep rockin’ the overdose of commas and parentheticals; it’s how your brain works). Let’s get to the point here – it’s time for some advice. Yeah, I know that sounds all old and stodgy, but, dude, trust me, this is still you. The energy and drive are still there (I’m actually writing this on 3-hours of sleep in an airport heading to a big corporate presentation today harnessing immense game face; lack of energy never becomes a problem). Now, on with the old-guy-to-young-guy stuff. Cool?

1 – Follow the Prophet. Yes, there it is in the #1 slot. There were a lot of different things that I could say here (“live the Gospel”, “obey the commandments”, etc), but “follow the Prophet” is ultimately all you need to know. If there is nothing else you remember from this (and I’m sure you are 84% tuned out already), just remember: follow the prophet. Why? Well, here’s how it breaks down: If there is truly a living Prophet on the earth, sent from God, then that’s kind of a big deal, right? Yeah, completely. It’s a huge deal. So, attach yourself to that huge deal. Listen to what he has to say and follow it. Don’t sweat whether you understand everything or not yet, just follow it. If it’s from God, then who are you to overanalyze it, right? Totally. Focus more on making it happen than on understanding everything in full detail. The prophet will point you to everything else of worth – read the Book of Mormon, live clean, start a family, get a solid education, man up and be a provider, don’t be a deadbeat dad, etc. If it’s important for you to know, than trust me, you’ll hear it from him. So, we got this one? Follow the prophet. Trust me, you’ll never regret it.

(Reminder: Everything that follows below is far less important than what we just went through. So, should you ever get confused, just remember to follow the prophet).

2 – Be humble. Yes, it’s fun to act arrogant to push people’s buttons. It’s an easy one and I’m not sure you’ll ever get over the temptation. But, seriously, while you may jokingly act like that guy, don’t ever be that guy. Just don’t do it. Stay self-aware. The world is a big place and you are not the sun in the universe, so don’t ever think/exude that. Cool? OK. Seriously, be confident, be strong, be bold, etc, but don’t ever be arrogant. If you don’t know the difference yet, figure it out (hint: constant and complete gratitude is a secret ingredient here).

3 – Be mature. Let me make this super easy: Take serious things seriously. Notice, I didn’t say “don’t have fun”. I didn’t say “be serious”. I simply said “be mature”. Notice serious moments and respect them. This is huge.

4 – Be kind. This one is simple – just be cool to everybody. Done. If you are humble and mature, this will come naturally.

5 – Read like mad. I don’t necessarily care what you read as long as it’s clean and at least somewhat engaging to your brain cells. Just read. A lot. And read different things. A lot of your experience and understanding in life will come through reading. You simply can’t personally experience all there is to experience, so at least read about it. This will be a huge asset to you in connecting with other people.

6 – Travel. If you had any idea how much I’ve been able to travel, you’d be really tripped out. Look forward it. Embrace it. But, don’t ever carry a “the way we do things in my part of the world is superior” vibe (reminder: be humble). Keep your mind and eyes open. The world is a huge and beautiful place. Dude, I’m jealous of the places you are going to go. Be grateful for all of it.

7 – “Never lose that feeling”. Dude, nobody will ever know you like you know yourself. That may sound like a curse, but honestly it’s pretty awesome. Don’t do anything to disturb the natural vibe/signal/energy that you have (hint: following the prophet will keep your signal alive). Be grateful for some of the internal blessings that God and your family have passed down to you.

8 – Listen to the Spirit. I’m going to close on this because this is the only piece of advice that could possibly topple “follow the prophet” for the #1 slot (and it’s definitely advice that the prophet will give you repeatedly; follow it). Keep your mind and hands clean. This world has some ugliness and you are smart enough to recognize it. Avoid it at all costs. Be perfectly honest and able to look any person alive straight in the eyes and know that you are good. That’s a very powerful feeling (hint: this is the secret ingredient for confidence). Live by the Spirit. To quote one of your future Bishops: “Once you feel the Spirit, you never want to lose that”.

So, in conclusion, just know this – it may be 25 years in the future (and you may be sitting in an airport pre-dawn in a business suit as you write this), but you are still 100% you. Your face is more wrinkled, your hair is less plentiful (and less pigmented), your waistline is less trimmed-out, and your responsibilities are far heavier, but your joys are far exquisite. It’s a great time and you will love it. Live clean and get there.