I’ve been meaning to jump back into this blog (remember me saying I was going to be consistent again with this back in October?), but why not jump back in this way? So here goes.

Exactly 12 years ago I wrote a blog post called “Letter To My Sixteen Year Old Self.” It was a fun exercise in looking back on life and where I was and where I thought I would (and did) end up.

Dear Blake,

Yo! You’ve been married just over a year now. How crazy is that? Communication is sometimes hard, right? Living together is really cool, but now you’re in each other’s space all the time. Just be sure to talk it out. And even though you think it’s worth arguing about the toilet seat, it really isn’t. Take the time for walks together. Take some trips. They don’t have to be fancy trips, but pour yourself into the quality time together.

Enjoy this coming season of MSU Football. Take Bev to a few games at Scott Field. Y’all don’t have a kid yet, and it becomes more complex to go once that happens. If you have a chance to go out west to a game, take it. Enjoy the trip with your friend. Trust me. Because the next eight years of MSU football will be putrid.

Go for runs. I know Bev got you into running with a few races here and there. But keep it up. It’s good for you. Keeps the heart pumping. Plus it’s a great thing to share with Bev. And one day you can share that time with your future kids as well. Plus it keeps you from having to get bigger pants too. Haha. I know you think you can live on Hamburger Helper, Cap’n Crunch, and cookie dough right now. But you can’t forever. Strengthen that core too. Oh, and remember when you thought over 40 was kinda old? Haha.

Speaking of kids, being a parent is awesome. And challenging. And rewarding. And hard. And a blessing. It’s impossible to effectively explain without being in the middle of it. Just like no one can really describe “being married” till you are. You have to experience it. But pray for your kids now. There will be a few of them. You and Bev will be blessed beyond measure. And yours and Bev’s parents will be great grandparents and love them to pieces.

Start getting up a little earlier. Yeah, I know… those early first five minutes suck. Your bed is comfortable. But you already know that once you’re up and moving it’s enjoyable. Maybe go on a run. Walk Sally around the block. Spend some time praying over your marriage and family and future. Spend some time in Scripture and ask God for His guidance. This will all be time well spent. Oh, and maybe part of the “getting up a little earlier” is also clipping the wings on the old Night Owl some too.

Be intentional with your days. Make a to-do list and make sure to spend some time knocking out those things. I know youth ministry can have a very fluid schedule. But not every day is conversations across a ping pong table. So make sure you’ve gotten things taken care of so you can also be intentional with the hangout times.

You’ve been thinking about it. And soon you and Bev will start taking steps into investing. I know retirement seems a long way off. But be consistent with investing. And when the market makes a big dip don’t freak out. Just be consistent. It will pay off. That online bookstore, Amazon, would probably be a good thing to buy too.

Your head is full of ideas. Some seem kinda silly while you’re confident some of your ideas could really work out. Go for them! Some won’t go as expected, of course. But there will be a day you’ll really wish you’d taken a shot at some of those things. Don’t be afraid of failure. Or better yet, admit your fear but do it anyway. It’ll get easier and easier to go for it the more you do it.

Keep learning. I’ll admit you’ll never have need for algebra again in your life… except for when your kids take algebra and need some homework help. But keep reading and learning. Sure, you enjoy a good Stephen King or Raymond Feist book. But read some nonfiction as well. Learn some web skills. You’ve had fun starting the ONElist for Lake Stephens. But you’ll create a few other things too. There are many things to catch your attention. But don’t just read about them. Do something with what you learn. Build and be creative. Take a few risks. But always stay true to who you are.

Don’t stress too much. There will be a few rough patches coming up in life. But hold your wife tightly and draw strength from each other. Pray for each other. Ask God to give you both patience and grace/mercy. You are good together… but sometimes patience isn’t your first reaction. Learn to trust Him daily even though you want to know what’s going to happen next month or next year. Just keep trusting Him daily.

That’s about it for now….

So… if you were to write a letter to yourself roughly 20 years back… what would you say?