Two weeks ago Nathan and I paid a visit to our friends Brad and Sarah Fitzgerald to catch up on life and meet their baby daughter Coral. Back in high school we got together one night a week at their house, joined by several close friends, to discuss our understanding of God (or lack thereof), to study the bible, and to explore how we might better model our lives after the obscure Jewish rabbi who walked the earth 2000 years ago, loving those deemed ‘unlovable’ and rebuking the self-appointed righteous. Brad facilitated the group, and he and Sarah have always been close friends and mentors to me. So two weeks ago, after a wonderful dessert of black bean brownies (way better than they sound) and hours of catch-up conversation covering everything from girls to travels, literature to vegetarianism, and faith in God to spicy political issues, Brad left the room saying he had something for me: It was a letter written by me five years ago, and addressed to my 22-year-old self.
When I was 18 and freshly graduated, Brad suggested that each of us in the small group write a letter to our post-college selves. He offered to safeguard them until we reached the age of 22, and to return them when we came back to visit.
Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Steven Dimmitt – age 18, to Steven Dimmitt – age 22, as read by Steven Dimmitt – age 23.
“Till this year you’ve always thought you sorta had to live one way: Good grades for college, college for a job, job for wife-family-done! Now you’re not so sure. I hope you said screw it and had fun man. Not party fun but explore life/the world fun. Never stop searching for joy and ways to give those gifts granted to you by God back to the world/to Him.”
And with that the logical follow-up question I had for myself,
“Have you done a backflip on skis yet? Grow some balls man. Go do it.”
I then go on to drop some clichés about not letting myself settle for anything and continually searching for better things in life or better things to do with my life. I say that I hope it’s music because I know that’s what brings me peace. Then my closing statement,
“I’m not gonna worry about the future. I trust ya…”
I couldn’t stop smiling for the next half hour. What could possibly be more nostalgic than reading a letter from your 5-year-younger self in the very room where you wrote it? It was fascinating to see how drastically my life has changed while my values and ideals remain. I had never rock climbed when I wrote that letter! And yet this new found passion that I had never been exposed to has provided the perfect vehicle for the life of exploration and adventure that I hoped to pursue. It makes me want to write myself another and hide it away until I’m 50. Hmm… now where to put it…
It has been an uncommonly wet fall here on the east side of the mountains, and I have been forced to rest more than I climb. So far it has been a great home visit providing opportunities to recharge, reconnect with friends and family, and share some really neat conversations. I am very thankful to be welcomed back to such a wonderful home.
My primary climbing objective while I am here is a boulder problem in Leavenworth called Superman. It’s an incredible line and at V10 would definitely stand out as a milestone in my climbing. I have already invested several days working the thing and am feeling hopeful. I’m getting close. Very close. I plan to rest tomorrow and make another assault on Thursday. Wish me luck!