This video has been doing the rounds the past few months. It became viral pretty quick and this particular youtube version has already had over 4 million hits!
I love this video. I know that probably sounds kinda lame, but I do. This morning I was reflecting on why it is so engaging? Lots of things come to mind; it’s real, it’s emotional, it’s surprisingly funny but the real kicker is one simple line; “Dear 16 year old me”.
And there it is.
It’s the fantasy of the future self being able to send a video back to the 16 year old self.
Just the idea of that almost brings a tear to my eye.
All the things you would say.
Underneath the whole concept is a recognition that at 16 you think you are the fullest version of yourself. At 16 you cannot conceive of yourself as an adult. You know that you want to be an adult, but the idea of you being 32 is just not a concept that can be grasped.
And so here you are, as the 32 year old – the same man, the same woman who 16 years earlier could not even conceive of your present reality – talking to yourself.
A message that life exists beyond school. That life exists beyond youth. That one day you will need to grow up and one day you will wish you had done some things differently.
All the things you would say.
I would tell myself to be more confident with girls. To not be SO afraid of rejection as if my whole life depended upon it.
I would tell myself to harden up in year 12 and play through the virus – to skip the Knox match and play the Alloy’s match – where the selectors were watching!
I would tell myself to never walk away from Jesus, even when you’re angry at him – because with him is real life.
I would tell myself to not bother with the whole hemp clothing thing in my early 20s.
I would tell myself that rebellion can cause deep wounds and that purity is powerful and beautiful.
I would tell myself to ditch the ‘flat-top’ haircut – it never did anything for anyone.
I would tell myself to never let go of someone you are genuinely in love with.
I would tell myself that everything the Bible says about life and death, blessings and curses, the way of the flesh and the way of the Spirit are absolutely 100% true.
I would tell myself to save money.
I would tell myself to spend money.
I would tell myself to love.
Yet here is the reason why this video has gone viral and drawn so many millions of hits.
I can’t say any of this to my 16 year old me.
My 16 year old me is in a garden blocked off by the angels of time and no matter how much or how little I want to reach him, I can’t.
The complexity of life is that the decisions we make which affect our future lives – that shape our future lives – are rarely decisions that we think through, that we meditate upon, that we consider the consequences of. Primarily because you can’t live life that way! You don’t know what choices will stick and which ones will not. Life is a messy mash of decisions and it is not until you reach the future that you look back and see with such clarity which 10 of the 10,000 choices were the game changers for your life.
I guess this is why we really need the book of Proverbs.
Daily life is full of choices and there is no way of ever knowing what will stick and what will not.
Proverbs is the ancient version of Dear 16 year old me written by an older man to his son, written by the older to the younger.
It is written by someone who knows the complexity of timing, the long term destruction of short term lust, the way of life and the way of death.
Throughout the book, I can’t help but feel a deep yearning from the author to have these words when he was 16, but since that garden is blocked the wisest thing he can do is speak now of all the things he has seen and heard and knows.
Someday you will wish you could tell your current self a whole bunch of things.
Why not get a head start on this and have a read of Proverbs. Hear the musings of the wise, hear the words of God.