I was inspired to write this “now vs. then” letter because of a recent speech of someone I consider my best friend, writer and author, Jesse Saperstein, so this blog post is going on be my “now vs. then” letter to myself in the past written from me now. Another thing that I remember as the inspiration for this was seeing WWE Superstars looking at pictures of them then vs whom they are now, so without further ado, my “now vs. then” letter:
I know that life seems so rosy now that you’re in high school, it feels surreal almost, but there will be times where you’ll be tested, tempted, bullied and mocked for the person you’ll become. But you’ll come out of this so much better in the long run.
First things first, keep your faith, it’s seems silly to say now but I’m learning things about my faith I wished I’d learned before. Things like the Saints, the sacraments, you have a great heritage as a Catholic that you shouldn’t take for granted. Learn about them now before new things, new temptations happen that will frustrate you.
Secondly, seek the new but be true to you. Don’t lose the person you are now, with all your quirks, your talents, your love of game shows (that last one is something you shouldn’t want to lose, trust me, you’ll thank me later.) That said, you should always seek to be open to new things that can improve you to better a better you. Artists change, that’s true, but they always are true to themselves even as they change.
Thirdly, save some money now so you won’t be strapped later on, I know you things things will be better in the future, but don’t bet on it; take your future in your own hands. You may need to work to do so, but you’ll be better for it in more ways than one. Don’t fly too much on borrowed wings, or you might fall like Icarus.
Fourthly, learn to stand up for yourself. It’ll be hard, I know, since you’re used for others fighting your battles for you (and with you.) That said, imagine it was a four-on-one situation at Survivor Series, eventually, you’ll have to fight for who you are and it won’t be easy. Just know that your defeats (and you will have defeats in your life) will make your victories sweeter, with so many friends cheering you on, like the Defino’s, whom I know you admire, I still do to this day and our bond, much like your family and friends, will be strengthened because of both your victories and defeats. You’ll become a better person and a better leader in time because of it.
Finally, try reading the classics, keep reading and not just the books you know a lot about, maybe delve into some philosophy, since it teaches you to question everything about everyone. It gives you the ability to think critically for yourself which if you don’t learn now, you’ll regret it later. You end up doubting yourself and second guessing your actions, your gut reactions. Treasure your Local Library (and Libraries in general, you make a lot of great friends in Libraries, trust me.) They might even help you achieve your dream of being a writer, which will come true with patience and hard work.
Hopefully, Future Me, you’ll take my advice to heart and never give up being your wonderful, kind and handsome self. Forgive others, laugh, learn and be patient to others. I’ll end with a Star Trek character’s wise words,
Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man, let history make its own judgments.
Zefram Cochrane, Star Trek: First Contact
Let others judge you but please be kind to yourself, that way you can see the stars twinkle as they always do, as soon as they always…