If the world was one long moving walkway, it would seem very clear which way to go.
You could hop on, enjoy the sights around you, and head to where you need to go automatically. No stress, minimal effort, and in the right directions: forward.
If the moving walkway represented time, you would assume it was linear, that is, a straight line from A to B.
What if, instead of a moving walkway, you were presented with a carousel that went around and around, and up and down? Or a roller coaster that inched slowly upward and picked up speed and momentum on its way to the bottom? Maybe it’s a lake whose waves rippled out in all directions.
Whichever way you go, it’s important to pay attention. The journey is the experience of moving through time and space, without it we only have point A and point B.
You don’t know me yet, but I know you intimately. You are a fearless, funny, and caring young person. You surround yourself with friends, toys, and movies. You live for speed, no matter the cost (pretty soon you’ll lose the protective pads, and that will hurt). You make people laugh, you entertain them with your magic tricks, and your impressions. Life as you know it now is bliss and you are as free as a bird. I know you well. I was you. I am you. I can tell you that your life will take some turns, but before I do that let me give you the highlight reel.
You’ll carry yourself well through high school, you’ll get good grades and you’ll pursue the Arts over Commerce or Science. You’ll have dreams of becoming an archeologist, however they’ll be knocked out of you by your guidance counselor. As you become a senior at High School, you’ll replace sports with music, and you’ll develop an obsession for playing the guitar and listening to heavy metal music (with a brief foray into British Jungle music in the late 90’s, even skipping your school’s graduation dinner to attend a Ronnie Size concert). You will develop a love for film and video, and in the age before smartphones, you will learn how to shoot, edit, and score your own movies the old fashioned way. You travel to France on your own for three months to meet your Father for the first time… I won’t ruin it for you, just don’t get your hopes up.
As you move into University you find your mind will expand. You will study Design, and you’ll explore everything from 3D animation to Sculpture before majoring in Photography. You’ll make some friends, you’ll lose some friends, then you graduate. In between you’ll learn some valuable life skills like what it means to mop the floor and clean toilets for a paycheck, what to do when you’re involved in a road accident, and also that smoking tastes horrible no matter how cool you think it makes you look.
You will eventually graduate from University as well, get your degree, and get out into the real world. You’ll work a job that overwhelms you so much that you lose five kilograms in as many months, but don’t worry it will desensitize you for any stress later in life. If anything you’ll learn more life skills in these few months than in your entire life up until this point. So now we get real.
Your career takes a different corner, you move away from photography and production and into, ah, Telecommunications. You ride this wave for a good decade, and you develop some hard skills in project management, as well as all that other stuff that people put on their Linkedin (by the way, that’s an online platform where you can… nevermind). You’ll travel some more, meet some girls, fall in love even, and then boom! You inherit a young family. That’s right, you will meet a young lady, marry her, and become a Father to her incredible little boy, his name is Ethan. He grounds you, and for the next ten years he becomes your top priority. You take him to school, you read to him, you teach him about life, movies, and music, as he grows you become best friends. You can be quite strict with him at times so remember to just chill, he really is a good kid.
This brings us to the where we are now. You’ll find yourself at a fork in the road and you’ll be faced with some hard choices. You’ll need to make a decision for yourself, one that will affect the next ten years at least. You’ll reflect a lot, and take a deep look at the person you have become. You will realize that you lost yourself along your journey, but when you finally reconnect with yourself again it sends you into a state of pure joy and happiness, much like how you’re feeling now. Free.
I will leave you with this Chris – follow your nose, trust yourself, and always make time to be with your friends and family.
Yours, CE / 2019
P.s: borrow some money for your 18th birthday and invest in Apple and Amazon stock. Then do it again in 2005 for some Facebook stock. Trust me.