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.