The End of My Journey with a Letter to Me

I had an idea pop into my head a few times today, so figure it’s worth exploring. I’m nearing the end of this journey and feel my last post should be a letter to myself. I left Phoenix, AZ on July 20th and am slated to arrive back this Saturday, September 7th. Many people write out future visions and make dream boards. I simply want to mark my perception of the world today, as I head back home after this seven week exploration of the great USA. I feel like I’m writing this to the forty year-old version of myself, but who knows. This blog has become like a journal to me and I have no problem sharing, so here goes:

Dear Future Me-

Never forget the feeling of packing up the car and leaving town on this adventure. The 35 year-old version of yourself went through a ton over the previous few years. The lessons learned helped sculpt a version of you that would make drastic strides toward inner peace and spiritual growth. I can finally say I’m grateful for some of the muck. This road trip means something as I sit here writing this. I don’t think I know to what extent today, yet maybe by now you do. Here’s the 36 year-old writing the future version of myself some very important things on my mind. Things I’ve learned that I hope you haven’t forgotten. Areas of life that I hope you have further strengthened by the time you read this. Details of a journey with our pup Murphy (never forget the greatest dog of all time), who I fear has moved to Doggie Heaven by now. Along with feelings experienced on this journey that I hope you still cherish today.

First- the road trip! I hope it is the beginning of many adventures to come! Remember the freedom felt in Lake Tahoe at our first main stop. Murph and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves, given the beautiful scenery and excitement of the weeks ahead. Remember the waterfalls and the view from high above Tahoe overlooking that little island in the middle of the lake. This was certainly one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen to this point in my life. How about how terribly I played golf in Oregon? I don’t think I’ve played that poorly in my entire life! Oregon was cool though, and the golf league event was fun. I’m glad I shifted plans to make that happen!

Island Pic and Murph in Tahoe!

I think Black Hills National Forest was pretty spectacular, despite the scheduling during the motor cycle rally in nearby Sturgis (ugh). I hope you still remember how Murph ran through that tall grass and kept wanting to explore the creek beside the hotel. I’m willing to bet you’d do almost anything to have that moment back by now. I believe this and Indiana were Murphy’s favorite spots- grass to frolic in for days! Funny how everyone thinks he’s so cute, partially because he’s so old, yet I just see the same amazing dog I always have. Crazy how much time has passed with him by my side, over 15 years. He’s truly irreplaceable and forever loved.

Black Hills National Forest

Never forget how cool it felt driving up to dad’s house in Indiana for the first time in years, in your own car, instead of flying back home via airlines. What a trek those first few weeks were.

Arriving in Indiana!

Brittany joined us for a few other spots. I’m not one to speculate on the future, but may you never forget how amazing of a woman she is, I know you won’t. I know she’s someone who truly loves me for who I am, which is beyond special. We saw Nashville, which was amazing musically, but a little crazy. I finally zip-lined and white water rafted, both in Gatlinburg, TN! Two more items off the old bucket list!

Britt and I Zip Lining

South Carolina sunsets were amazing, definitely a state you should revisit if you haven’t. Sarasota was pretty sweet and had even more amazing sunsets. The Braves game- seeing the new stadium for the first time, how frickin’ cool! The Grand Ole Opry- Vince Gill and Martina McBride, a potential once in a lifetime thing to say I’ve done!

Sarasota Sunset!

I’m writing this from Lake Ozark, MO and will finish heading back home tomorrow. I hope you always remember the feeling of freedom a trip like this can create. Remember how much closer your bond got with Murphy as your little road warrior companion. Just remember, because this “good kind of crazy” summer is the way you should be living still to this day, at least I pray you are!

I hope you put God first, always. Remember the lessons leading up to this trip and the ones soaked up along the way. Surrendering to Him is the only way, as you know we’ve tried many others to no avail.

I hope you see the good in other people regardless of situations. Remember, we are all spiritual beings deep down, yet we all have hurts so don’t judge people.

I hope you haven’t, and never do settle for contentment over joy. I hope comfort is a word you seldom use and growth is its substitute.

I hope you remember how important time is, after all you’re getting up their old man. 😉 You cannot buy back one moment with your dad, mom, family or friends, so please take the time and be present with them as much as possible. BTW, one or two extra trips back home each year to see pops and the family won’t kill you, so as dad says- “just do it!”

I hope you never make excuses and instead learn from your mistakes. I hope you’re better about not getting down on yourself, this has been a hard fought battle as I reflect back. I hope you know you’re worthy of joy and you’re important, regardless of whether other periods of life perspectively portrayed otherwise. I hope you don’t let anyone or any situation steal your joy. Remember that tee-shirt- “my light comes from The Son.” May you never forget where your light comes from- the Grace of God! I hope you still live from your spirit first.

I also hope you treat your phsyical body well. As Tim McGraw says- “drink a few more lemonades and not so many beers.” I hope you do some crazy things though. Maybe by now you’ve finally run that half-marathon, done a Spartan Race or Tuff Mudder? How was that one day Grand Canyon hike (I’m nervous)? Just remember to always be THE GOOD KIND OF CRAZY!

I hope you haven’t forgotten the importance of truly living life, instead of simply reacting to it and going through the motions. Travel the world. Seek God’s wisdom. Have you been hitting your knees still Surrendering everyday? We’re up to 130 days in a row of saying our prayer as I write this, maybe you’re up over 1,500 days?!

I hope you start showing more gratitude. I hope you finally learned the guitar and maybe write and sing some songs now? I hope you live courageously. I hope you’re a light for others to meet and follow Jesus. I hope you have a forgiving spirit, not one of ego with a chip on your shoulder reflective of old hurts and hang ups. It’s tough but remember- ego and worldly things will hold you back, fight this!

I hope you keep pursuing your happy tears, who knows what could come from that! I hope you live with no regrets. I hope you strive toward joy and never settle for less, no matter what area of life. I hope you’re true to yourself and honor who God created you to be, trusting that He’s got the lead!

I could say so much, but I’ll sum it up as best I can: Here’s to being adventurous. Here’s to being the good kind of crazy. Here’s to owning your title of A Child of God. Here’s to growing in faith. Here’s to being forgiving and forgiven. Here’s to never settling for anything short of amazing. Here’s to honoring yourself and using that big heart of yours to impact others. Here’s to following God’s lead. Here’s to traveling the world. Here’s to responding with “why not” more often. Here’s to leaning in and learning as you go. Here’s to honor, humility, kindness, serving, giving and blessing others. Here’s to remembering a road trip for what it was- an opportunity to love yourself and your dog a little more, and a reset from the norm of daily routines and trying to please others. Here’s to the healing of wounds and being vulnerable. Here’s to God first, not people. Here’s to no longer sacrificing your true self for anyone or anything. Here’s to your continued writing – blogging, books and music. Here’s to being present and knowing nothing in this world can complete you, only God can. Here’s to honoring The Holy Spirit within. Here’s to choosing a positive perspective. Here’s to living life fully. Here’s to being different. Here’s to you reading this and remembering the feeling of sitting here writing while looking at your pup in our hotel room. Here’s to being grateful! Here’s to loving life!

Hey older version of me- I love you, and I hope you love yourself even more by now!

– Love, Me

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