December 26, 2009
Dear 90 Year Old (Hopefully) Non-Denture-Wearing Self,
How's it going sexy? I sincerely hope that by now you aren't covered in wrinkles, smelling like moth balls and pinching people's cheeks.
And if you are doing any pinching, make it a worthwhile pinch. Always go for the gold; he won't hit you–you're 90! That said, I also really hope you aren't rocking a beehive do. I might be able to overlook the gingham print mu'u mu'u dress, but not the hive. Anything but the hive.
Anyway, I'm writing to see what the fuck you did with your life. You always had so many different ideas you were juggling at the same time, it was hard to keep up. But that's what I always liked about you; whenever you saw something you wanted, there was no holding you back. I hope you haven't lost that fierce free-spiritedness about you, Ambirge. It was always one of the things, if any, that I thought would surely bring you success. Or at least some damn good stories to tell.
The last we spoke, you were in your twenties and were optimistic about the world and all it had to offer, and all you had to offer it. You had a certain zest for living life–and as much as you could of it–at all times. You were never one to let the moment pass you by, from the time you jumped into the hotel pool still fully clothed in your business suit (national meetings at corporate headquarters always were enough to drive you to do something to make sure your spirit was still alive in there, somewhere) to the time you decided on a Friday to fly from Philadelphia to San Diego for the weekend to have dinner with friends, you never did let any grass grow under your feet. I think at one time you may have even convinced the Jamaican waiter in Ochos Rios to give you a kiss, just because you thought he was cute. And I blush to even mention the guy from….ah, just nevermind that.
Are you still doing things for the sheer pleasure of it? Or have you become stiff, uptight, and guilt-laden for indulging in things purely because they're fun?
Professionally, you were going through a bit of a transition, if I recall correctly. Though now that I think of it, you were always going through a transition. It seemed as if no desk job was ever big enough for you; you often became restless and were in a continual state of transition as a result. I remember once telling you that you should probably settle down at some point; you snapped right back at me and said you refused to stop until you finally found something that lit you up. Something that you ached to do when you weren't doing it, and something that you'll be honored to dedicate your life to. Though, in the end, I think you've probably realized that you never had to be just one thing; you can be many things, and derive satisfaction in different ways from each that, together, harmonize to be the you that you had imagined. Did you find that passion?
More importantly, was your life representative of the things you wanted it to be?
Regardless of what you're doing, or where you are, I want you to know that as long as you were able to wake up every morning and be excited to get out from under the covers, then you did something right. If you were able to pass by others on the street and greet them with a sincere enthusiasm that just springs right out of you, manifesting itself as a warm smile and contagious energy, then you did something right. If you were disappointed to see the sun set each night, because you didn't want the day to come to an end just yet, then you did something right. And when the sun did set, if you were able to dance all night long to the beat of nothing more than your heart, then you did something right. And I'm proud of you.
I can only hope you have followed the advice I gave you long ago: The moment in which even one of those things becomes untrue, you owe it to yourself to keep exploring your options until all four are true. The details always work themselves out. That's important to remember, because if not, everything will have seemed overwhelming and you'll become paralyzed by that.
Furthermore, as a side note, I hope you never, ever, ever compromised your aspirations for the sake of a significant other. Because if you were actually their significant other, then you would be significant. And by extension, so would your aspirations. Never live incompletely just so you can complete someone else. You aren't a martyr. You're an awe-inspiring human being with the capabilities to do great things. You must live as one, and I genuinely hope you have taken advantage of that fact.
Screw completing another person — have you completed yourself?
You probably remember me saying over and over that there is nothing to be scared of, because no matter what happens, everything will always work itself out one way or another. I remember seeing a vague sense of fear in your eyes, masked by your eternal enthusiasm, the last time we spoke and that's perfectly natural…but I hope you have been careful never to let that fear have an impact on your decisions. It can water them down, water you down, and water your life down. And who wants a watered down version of anything? I hope you have been a stiff glass of bourbon, created to make an impression…not the Shirley Temple, non-alcoholic version of yourself.
If there had been a secret photographer, photographing one image of you every single day throughout your entire life, what would the coffee table book look like?
Would it be one you'd study with awe—or one just skim on the John?
Your death is certain, but your life has been a choice.
Here's to hoping you have chosen it.
Your less wrinkly twenty-something-year-old self