If I (2015) went back in time, and I found my former self (circa 2001); I’m relatively sure this would be the transcript of the dialogue between the two of us:
2015: Life is going to be interesting for you, that’s the best that I can say for certain. It’s not going to be easy, in fact this moment in life is about the easiest you’re going to have it.
2001: Why does everything change?
2015: Because of the choices that we make. Let me break it down for you. You’re going to be an awful athlete, and your work ethic through high school is going to be a joke. You’ll blow off all your classes and never apply yourself, except in the creative writing class you’ll take your senior year. You’ll go into an insane amount of debt by going into the wrong college, the same one that’ll reject you the first time you apply. You’ll struggle to find yourself in college, go through a mix of poor relationships, and end up making some horrible, life changing decisions right after college. That doesn’t even address how the work field is going to treat you.
2001: Work field? Like what kind of job I’ll have?
2015: Yes. Be prepared to spend over a decade with a company known as Subway. You’ll do everything in the store, and will be in two primary stores before getting moved into a corporate position.
2001: Corporate? That doesn’t sound so bad.
2015: It isn’t, until you try to cheat the system, get caught, and are asked to resign from your position.
2001: I do that? Ouch…
2015: You will create problems for teachers, headaches for school board members, and will be reprimanded by administration before you leave high school. You’ll attempt to have a college board member removed, and you’ll be fired for the athletic department…as a work study student. You’ll argue with theologians, and will even walk away from the very church you attend now. Your stubbornness will lead to pointless arguments, and eventually even a horrific divorce.
2001: I get divorced!?!?!
2015: Your relationship timeline is about as fragmented as the Richter Scale in California. You’ll officially date one person in high school, and unofficially date one person in high school. You’ll mutually depart with one, and you’ll walk away from another. In college you’ll chase after student-athletes, only to have your immaturity cost you, your first serious relationship. The second relationship in college will be reckless and free, but you’ll be cheated on and left because “you’re too nice, and deserve better”. The third relationship will nearly end you. It’ll involve someone who becomes a teacher, a family deeply rooted in the Southern Baptist community of the state, failed vows, and a marriage that dissolves after a year. You will lose everything, you will go hungry, and you will cry yourself to sleep at the ripe age of 24. Your parents will bail you out of the mess you’ve made, and you’ll live at home for a while.
2001: Does it ever get better from that point? Relationship-wise?
2015: You’ll forever have a horrible scar from the Church. You’ll witness a pastor condemn you for your action and approve your ex-wife’s wishes for the divorce. You will lose faith in the Church, but for as much hatred that you’ll build for the organization, you’ll also refuse to give into the temptation to give up on God. Why this happens, I’m still unsure to this day, but you won’t lose complete faith. You will meet a girl at Starbucks, one that’ll be built in the city north of here shortly, and in a very short amount of time you’ll help lead her to become a Christian, you’ll start dating upon your return from a trip in Guatemala, and you’ll get married nearly a year later. She’s from the city north of here, has very, very little to her name, and I caution you to be very careful with her…whether she realizes it, or not, she’s extremely fragile. Treat her with care because she will also quickly because your best friend, and you two will be inseparable. She will accept all of your awful flaws, and she’ll expect you to do the same. Do. The. Same.
2001: Was she an athlete?
2015: No, and neither are you. You’ll fail in every form of athletics, and you won’t stop growing until you’re a sophomore in college. You’ll gain the “Freshmen 15”, and you’ll lose it. Gain it, lose it. This cycle will go on about five times in your life. Your heart will be broken realizing that you will not be like your mother, or any of your relatives. You won’t succeed at basketball or football. In fact, you’ll be the waterboy the next three years in high school for football. You’ll painfully dislocate your shoulder playing basketball, and you’ll only be on varsity your senior year because…well…you’re a senior. You’ll hold the honorable title of being the only runner in school history not to letter on the track team. You’ll start doing sprints, but you’ll end high school running the 3200 meter. Good luck with that. You’ll get more serious in college in the gym, but that’s just because you’re bitter towards the people that laughed at you in high school and in college. You’ll want to “show them”, but the truth is…no one really cares about what you’re doing at that point in your life. You will start to dabble with running though…running for fun that is.
2001: Why would I ever consider that?
2015: Because you’ll always have stress issues, so much so that you’ll get sick from the stress. People around you will turn to smoking, drinking, tanning, and other vices to cope with their own stress. Out of fear for your health, and how a church-goer would view you, you decide to run as a stress relief. The interesting reality is that you’ll start to love it, especially after the divorce. In the early fall of 2011 you’ll run a mile, on the road, with a time that makes no sense to any human. Especially one like you, but it’ll be your motivation to push the envelope of what’s impossible.
2001: Will I be a tornado chaser?
2015: No. The math required to process to get into a school of meteorology will be enough that you won’t even try. You’ll settle for becoming a international missionary after high school, that’s what you’ll tell everyone and you’ll even enter the program to do so in college. You’ll last one week before you quit that major. You’ll try physical therapy and sports management, both of them you’ll leave just as quickly. Finally, your advisor will inquire upon your decision for your degree. You’ll choose politics, and then you’ll decide to get another degree in education.
2001: I become a teacher! No.
2015: Not immediately. You’ll cruise through 90 applications of hearing, “No”, and you’ll give up for a few years. You’ll substitute teach to make the monthly rent in some cases, but you’ll work at Subway (mentioned above), and also for an investment firm…where you’ll learn that car-buying is evil. You’ll even try to make your own business, a women’s soccer team.
2001: Women’s soccer? I’m an idiot. There’s no market for that around here.
2015: Eventually there will be, but after one season…you’ll fail. Financially the business will be a disaster, and you’ll walk away and hide in shame. It’ll add financial stress to you and your wife, and she’ll pray for you to get away from it. After that’s over, you’ll be fired from the investmet firm. This means you’ll take a huge paycut, and you’ll default on a student loan. Your credit score will be trashed along the way. You’ll walk away from soccer, and in all likelihood will never return. By way of desperation for income, you’ll head back into substitute teaching. This could come as a shock to you, but you’ll wind up falling in love with a middle school inside the city. You’ll be there off-and-on for two years, dealing with some students that have rough lives, and you’ll love them all. It’s strange to understand now, but there will be something about them that’ll make you never want to give up on them. In a very strange, God-kind-of-way, you’ll wind up being hired by that district to work in that middle school’s special education department. Again, though it sounds strange, you’ll come to love every moment that you have in that school. Your teaching license will expire, and you’ll dream of renewing it so that one day you’ll have your own classroom.
2001: Well, sounds like life isn’t the easiest after this point. I’m right thinking that, yes?
2015: Yes, you’ll also witness disasters, death, and some very hard personal times.
2001: So, what am I suppose to take from this? I thought people from the future brought good news about all the accomplishments you wind up finishing with, and how everything turns out in a perfect manner…
2015: Life here is anything but perfect. Between now and my time you’ll see gas prices rise to near $4.00 a gallon here, over $5.00 in California and elsewhere. The world is anything but perfect. You’re going into so naive though that you have no clue. I’ll make this clear, on several occasions you’ll lose everything and you’ll fail at everything. You will even steal food from a hotel to eat while traveling. Failure will be a teacher for you, and humility will be its aid. However, I will add this, you will overcome these hardships and you will watch God do things that no one will ever be able to comprehend and understand. Where you fail in this world, you will succeed in life beyond it.
2001: Last question…how do you remember so much of this?
2015: In 2011 you…I…started a website.