Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#23: truth.

Dear Future Andy,

You're big on honesty. Sometimes it feels like you've been exposed to so little of it, and its relative scarcity (or your perception of its relative scarcity) has increased its value. That's good. Don't change that.

You've written things that have hurt people. Sometimes you didn't mean to, but sometimes you decidedly, unequivocally did. And that's okay, I guess; it's certainly not ideal, but it wasn't ever anything but true.

So where does that leave us, then? I'll tell you and leave a brief reminder of something very, very important:

The truth can change. It should change. It means you've gotten more information. And more information will always bring you closer to the truth. So never stop getting more information and never stop searching and never say anything that isn't true and always say something that is. Learn to keep the world on the tip of your tongue. If you've gotta get something out, then goddamn it, let it rip. Don't you dare keep quiet.

Maybe you'll figure it out. But until then, stay hungry for it.

Assuringly,

Past Andy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

#22: Colorado.

Dear Future Andy,

You've made so many stupid bullshit decisions. You've turned good people away and you've brought bad people in closer and you've drank too much (or, sometimes worse, not enough) and you've rejected so many fresh starts and second chances because of some ridiculous notion of "letting [something] run its course."

But sometimes you move to Colorado on what was more or less a whim and it turns out to be majestic.

I write this to you from Gold Hill Java, the place with the light chocolate roast and the free wi-fi, a corner location that shall surely become your hospitable new home, and rightly so: the coffee's good, the people are nice, and the view is gorgeous. Out of just the corner of your eye, you can see the big Methodist church (go progressive Christianity!), that awesome pizza-and-beer place, your bank (free ATM withdrawals!), and the tippy top of the Catholic diocese at which you will surely be spending the next few Saturday evenings.

This was a good choice. It's all so new and there's so much to take in. This place is scary, the same way that any place this new is scary, and I hope you let the goosebumps you get after rounding every corner remind you to take more chances than you have. You're on the right path because it's an actual path this time, not a series of dead ends disguising themselves as a coherent journey.

So, in the future, whenever you're down/lonely/confused/too drunk/too sober/weary/[negative or ill-timed emotion], just know that there's always somewhere new. There are paths untaken and places unvisited and books unread and coffee unbrewed and cities unlived in and smiles unhad and people unknown and stories unwritten and they're all there if you'll just go for it. Remember how it felt to have a whole new world right in front of you, begging you to introduce yourself.

If nothing else, remember:

Sometimes the best way to get rid of your problems is to leave them in the rearview mirror.

Adventurously,

Past Andy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#21: the future.

Dear Future Andy,

By now, I know you well enough to ascertain your motives for most of the things that you do. The boots/snap shirt/cowboy hat thing? I get it. The leftward slow-yet-firm ideological shift? I can trace it back to its roots and see just where you put the Miracle-Gro. Your gradual self-distancing from most of the superhero comic books you loved for so long (Spider-Man and Daredevil exempted, obv.)? Yeah, I've got it.

And this whole "move out of state" thing? You've been wanting that for a while now, haven't you? But there was always a reason to stay. Some pretty girl batted Utah eyelashes and whispered something sweet. School needed finishing and you needed an excuse to remain inert. You had a good job that you didn't want to throw away to the winds of uncertainty.

But you've severed your ties, burned a few bridges, polished off that degree, and found better work among higher mountains. So fuck this place, man: you're gone. All of the pain that living for so long in a deeply homogenous culture (and the home of the saddest little "counterculture" you've ever seen) has inflicted upon a heart as tender as yours--yeah, I'll go there--will soon be traded for, to be certain, a different sort of pain, but this place has been water torture and now you're moving to, what, indian burns? I don't know, and I've lost grasp of this metaphor.

Even so, I'll leave you with a final piece of hard-earned wisdom:

The future is going to come either way, so make sure you're ready for it. This world is a cornucopia of potential and love and it'll give you everything you want if you hold out your hands long enough.

Finally doing something right,

Past Andy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#20: you, part two.

Dear Future Andy,

Sorry about that last one. I misunderstood. That wasn't your fault. Hold onto your self-preservation. It's the warmest thing you can sleep next to on nights like these.

You've always been stronger than you thought you were.

Proud of you,

Past Andy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

#19: you.

Dear Future Andy,

Sometimes you can be a real fucking asshole. You know that?

Knock it off.

Fuck you,

Past Andy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#18: forgiveness.

Dear Future Andy,

Listen up, because this is more important than most.

I know we have fun here. We have a good relationship, you and I. We're generally honest with each other, we joke and tease, we talk about drinks, etc. You know. Important shit. But this is a big deal.

I'll make it simple.

It's your job to forgive people who wrong you. If someone lies, cheats, steals, or otherwise hurts, forgive them. Learn from the experience, but forgive them. Harbor no ill will.

But it's not your job to forgive someone who's wronged someone else. That's their business, not yours.

And maybe Ward Littell isn't the best role model, but remember what he said about prayer. And this may sound particularly negative, but that's okay:

Your friends need your support more than their enemies need your compassion. Very occasionally, staying bitter is staying strong.

Taking it on a case-by-case basis,

Past Andy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#17: faith.

Dear Future Andy,

So things are rough sometimes. I get that.

More than most, probably. I write this from a Denver motel, desk covered in empty fountain drinks and soda-stained sweat pants.

But, above all, I'm able to look at the future (my future, anyway) and acknowledge that you, specifically, know precisely what is to happen. And you may be--claim to be, anyway--agnostic, but the whole point of any kind of god in which you could possibly believe is that they/He/She/It is understanding of rises and crashes of faith. Yours are honest ones, you know? And people who struggle with even the bare minimum of faiths that cannot be readily articulated are NOT you. So concern yourself not with with them.

Although, on second thought, yes. DO concern yourself with them. Because others weren't raised in a faith in which they could come to recognize parts of themselves that they wouldn't have otherwise seen. But you: you were able to see the parts of people in bits of dogma and doctrine, folks in your forebears and ancestors, those who would tell you how you should live, love, and litigate.

But that's irrelevant. Instead, stick to what you know to be truth, or, at the very least, what you hope to be truth. Because that hope is all you have in this world.

And, in all honesty, it should be more than enough.

Your concurrence in hypothesis,

Past Andy.