Warrior Words: Re: Dear Future Tyus

Dear Tyus,
Thanks for your letter, haven’t gotten one of those in awhile. How’s 2010?
I’m glad to see that you took Mrs. Rubin’s assignment seriously; you had a lot to say to me. You only just turned 13, right? Right off the bat, let me just say that it shows. I don’t mean that in an insulting sense, I promise. It’s your infantile naiveté that I’m referring to, your aspiration, your utopian vision of high school. I just turned 18, and if you’ll allow me, I’ll give you a little glimpse into what it’s really going to be like.
First of all, I’m well aware that the last three years were difficult, and I’m sorry. You’ll hang onto the specifics of that time for a couple of years before the whole memory collapses into a vague shadow that only rarely comes up in conversation with your closest friends. I hate to be the guy that tells you this, but it doesn’t get any easier for a long time. In two years, nobody will bully you except yourself — and that’s on top of everything else that you’ll have to deal with. Two different people are going to break your heart. Your Circadian rhythm will dissolve into the ether, your workload will multiply like rabbits in springtime, and Dad… well, you get the idea. It’s not all bad, though — a few of your predictions are spot on. Yes, you’re going to take a girl to a dance (try not to get too excited, buddy) and shave your head and grow (some) facial hair. People will (and already do) like you, but after the first few months of figuring that out, you’re going to come to the wonderful realization that you never actually needed anybody’s approval. Although it’s going to take a lot longer than you expect, you will be OK with yourself at a certain point; I can promise that to you. You will get up every day. You will make yourself proud in the end.
And while I’m being prophetic, I can’t resist letting slip a few things about your future that you didn’t think to write about in your letter. You know how you absolutely hate rap music? You’re in for a big surprise, dude. Also, you’re really going to regret making fun of Tim Willis last year for having acne — I’m still dealing with the bad karma from that one. You’ll visit five European countries and eat a piece of fried brain, and after all of that, in the fall of 2015 we’re going to live at a cool place in Ohio called Oberlin College for four (four!) years.
The only thing that isn’t going to change in the upcoming years is your continual search for yourself. I love the way you describe yourself in that letter you sent: you’re five feet seven inches tall and 138 pounds, you like guitars and hate vegetables. We both know that’s not really who you are, that you only wrote those things because you’re unsure about your identity. If it’s any consolation, I am too. I don’t really see it as a disappointment, though. Maybe it just means there’s more to us than we originally thought.
There is so much more I wish that I could tell you. This letter could be a hundred pages longer, and it still wouldn’t be room enough to fit everything that you’ll do. You’re a good kid. I have faith that you’ll figure it all out in the end. After all, I did, didn’t I?

Tyus Southern is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four students.