Let’s go back in time 50 years—to March 20, 1966. Today I love the coming of spring, but at the age of six, it was a day like any other for me. Pretty unremarkable. Nothing special. But it was one of those days that shapes a person and guides him forever.
I don’t remember what happened on March 20, 1966, but we can recreate the day easily. It was like the other days in March 1966. One day ran into another.
My brothers, Ed and Steve, and I enjoyed days filled with school and play and all the rambunctious behavior that growing boys could summon. By the spring of 1966, our family unit had come together. Our adoptive parents, Alan and Stephanie, showed us much love and care. My twin brother, Ed, and I had been reunited with our older brother Steve not too long before.
We loved life, and we greeted each day with energy and enthusiasm.
When we sat down for breakfast, we eagerly anticipated the cereal boxes, which offered free prizes—usually having to do with the space program—that mesmerized us. From the Mercury through the Saturn programs, we couldn’t wait for Mom to buy more cereal.
Money was tight in our household, but it didn’t matter to us one bit—not then, at least. We didn’t feel poor in those days.
Indeed, our lives were very good then. But the years ahead would be a bull ride, leaving us confused and wondering, in search of an understanding of the whys of it all.
Life can be beautiful and exhilarating and painful and uncertain—sometimes all at the same time.
As we age, we often reflect on life. Have you ever wondered what advice you’d give to your younger self if you could go back in time? How would our lives be different?
If I could reach back in time and give you—my six-year-old self—one page of guidance, to help sidestep the potholes, to surmount your apprehension about the five decades ahead—so that you might profoundly experience life, this would be it.
As a six-year-old, my younger friend, the world is no doubt small and provincial to you. Your neighborhood and your village remain both comforting and satisfying, as this is all you know. But you have a restless mind and an entrepreneurial spirt that needs adventure and exposure to a bigger world.
Your family faces financial limitations, but living with perpetual cash crunches need not limit you in any way. A lack of money will not block your desire and aptitude; only you can. So fret not about perception and focus instead on possibilities.
At some point in the future, a guitar will be affordable; buy one then and enjoy this personal moment of joy. Play it on your terms and at your tempo.
Embrace the many mentors—especially your coaches—that will emerge in your life. While tough and gruff at times, these men will help you develop as a person and pass through the gauntlet to manhood.
Walk your journey instead of running through it, as you will see more and absorb more this way. Take time for discussions with friends. Understand that, at a young age, decisions are not fatal, so take more risk and feed your curiosity.
Never stop learning—as knowledge is key. Take your time to understand how to apply your knowledge gained. You will undoubtedly find joy in immediate application, but go the extra steps to gain mastery!
Take time for discovery. Your wife and family will guide you in enjoying the moment.
Make every moment count. Love deeply and forgive readily. Cherish your many blessings.
You come down this road but once, my younger friend, so make the most of the journey!