Write a letter to yourself in 20 years.
Didn’t I tell you to stop eating meat? Now look at you. And what did we agree about all that salt? You’ve turned into a walking talking piece of jerky. At least you’ve finally learned how to dress, you stylishly-short-haired cougar you. And all your kids love you, especially since you completed the 12 step program. That’s what really counts, right? One doesn’t complete the Ethiopian novel of the generation without some collateral damage to self and to those in one’s life who had the dubious honor of being immortalized in the tome. Thanking them in your Oscar acceptance speech for Best Screenplay (African Braveheart really was long overdue, may Atse Tewodros’ soul rest in peace) was a good idea, except for the minor detail that the two projects were completely unrelated. But hey, better late than never, eh?
Speaking of never, when was the last time you saw winter? I bet you don’t miss it much since that little cabin in the woods adventure you got yourself into way back when. It was worth a try. Good on you for trying out a majority of our wacky ideas. Pretty sweet deal you’ve got going for yourself now though. April to October in North America, November to March in Africa. Doesn’t get any better than that. You really ought to wise up and start collecting your air miles. And with all that flying you should have snagged yourself a pilot by now. What gives? Maybe you should give flight attending a go, like you had meant to since you were about five years old. They actually prefer, ahem, mature candidates, you know? Something about being resilient. And if I know only one thing about you, it’s that. Well, you’re sure gonna need all that resilience now, aren’t you? Since somebody never bothered to save up for retirement, Miss “Oh, I’m never going to retire. I don’t believe in that.” Yeah right. If you’re lucky you’ll become a grandma soon and that will take care of that.
Remember how you had to practically kidnap your dad to send him on that around the world cruise trip he had always dreamed about taking when he eventually retired? And remember how he absolutely loved it and actually retired and then went for another go round? Why don’t you do that for yourself? You’ve explored the skies enough, now try the oceans. While you’re at it, consider taking that brother of yours along. Lord knows you’ve got things to discuss before one of you kicks the bucket. Like, to take a minor example, the family stuff he knows but you don’t and the stuff he knows but doesn’t know you know, and the stuff you know but he doesn’t, and the stuff you know but don’t know he knows, and the stuff you know your parents always knew but you don’t think he ever knew but that he will turn out to have known all along or the stuff they knew but he thought you never knew and, well, you actually never knew. It should have all boiled down to a good laugh by now. Don’t get your hopes up, of course, but sometimes when people are forced together in a space from which there no escape other than drowning or freezing to death, they eventually get to talking. Humans are funny like that. About time you met your nieces and nephews too.
Them monks over in Tibet been asking about you, by the way. They want to know when you’re coming back again for the silent Everest climb. I say give it a little time, cause most likely the next time you go up there you’re probably not coming back down and the summit is about as good a place to check out as any. Meanwhile, try not to think about death too much, okay? You did enough of that in your 20s and 30s. Especially that time when you were working on a farm in Alberta and ran your tractor over the grizzly cub’s foot. What made you think you were built for farm work, anyway? As far as close calls go, nothing beats winter 2012 though. Whew! Boy did you dodge a bullet there. Imagine settling in the U.S.A at the dawn of the Romney Regime. It used to be that us folks in Canada sponsored asylum seekers from back home, not from just south of the border! Well, at least you got all your relatives around you permanently, just like you always wanted. I know what you’re thinking. On second thought, maybe I should have stayed in China after all. At least that way, you wouldn’t have to wait weeks to hear from Hosanita. Her husband Zhongshan and baby Wei Wei are doing great by the way.
Be careful what you’ve wished for, you might still get it.