We're doing letters to our 17 year old selves this week. Just think, if you could go back in time in time and tell yourself what you know now, what would you say?

Here's what Jim said today...

Dear 17 year old Jim,

Look. You're smart, and school comes pretty easy to you. But you don't
know everything. So try not to come off as a know it all, OK?

You're actually naive. But that's a good thing.  You'll meet people
that have all sorts of secrets about them. They're VERY different from
you. They'll be gay, have an unwanted secret pregnancy, addictions.
You won't even notice. Because of that, you treat them as you would
anyone else. They'll appreciate that.

You know how you get into things really deep and get very involved,
then you turn on a dime and try something else? Keep doing that.
You'll learn new things. You'll meet new people you never would have
otherwise. And you'll be a well rounded person.

Girls. I know you're depressed that you have lots of girl-friends, but
not girlfriends. They'll lean on you. Tell you their problems and
won't even know that you could be the greatest guy in their life.
That's OK.  It's going to hurt, but they're not ready for you. In the
meantime, you're going to learn how to talk to girls. And when the
right girl comes along, she'll appreciate you for it all the more.
Before that happens, you'll make out at a party here and there with
girls you don't really care about. If it was just one of those stupid
nights, don't avoid the girl. Be a man. Just tell them it was a one-time thing and give them the truth. Don't be a coward.  When you finally get a girlfriend, don't put up with anything (like them having
another boyfriend out of town) just because you're afraid no one else
might ever like you. Not true.

When someone asks you if you want to help with something, keep saying
yes.  And then do more than what's expected of you.  Guess who they'll
hand opportunities to... you.  Don't worry about failing or being
perfect when you try things. Just try. And try hard. It's not about
being perfect. It's about living life and getting to do things you
never dreamed because someone trusted you.

About Mom and Dad. Realize how lucky you are that they are together
and love each other. They're giving you a blueprint. Follow it.  And
visit your grandparents that are still alive. It probably seems it's
like the last place to go and they're not cool like your friends.
You'll be glad you spent time with them. They won't be around long,
and you won't get to say goodbye to either of them

Careful who you hang out with. You may party sometimes. But some of
your friends will make that their life. Don't make it yours.  20 years
later, they'll be unhappy and stuck in dead end lives because that's
all they still do.. to this day.  Smoke weed, drink, and sit around
all day. It's a trap. Gravitate toward positive people full of
ambition. It'll rub off on you.

You'll meet some really great people who ride motorcycles. Convince
them to stop. Trust me.

I know you're not going to church right now and you're feeling
invincible. You're not. Things will come along that you never planned.
Hard things. Heartbreaking things. None of it you can control. They
will break you.... unless you remember God is waiting for you to come
back. You may have forgotten about him, but he's been right next to
you the whole time. And he'll get you through it.

Enjoy eating without gaining weight. Laugh. A lot. Take pictures of
people and right their names on the back of the photos and keep them.

Enjoy this time.


Your future self

Woody will read his letter Friday at 7:10am and 8:40am.

Did you miss R!ley's letter Wednesday? It was POWERFUL.  Check it out here.