Friday, November 2, 2012

A Letter to My Nine-Year-Old Self

Dear Square:

You don't know me.  But I know you.

It's wonderful that you're already thinking about what you want to be when you grow up.  Myself, I still can't decide.  And I'm a grown up!

But you have such enthusiasm for your future!  No matter that you've changed your mind three times already.  They are all noble professions: priest, fireman, policeman and now astronaut.  And you will change your mind some more.  I know this for sure.  Because the job you'll end up with is one you've never heard of before.  It might not even exist yet!  Do you think Neil Armstrong knew what an astronaut was when he was eight years old?  No, there was no such thing in his day.

Your interest in science and good math ability are important to your future.  Your father is right.  School is important.  Learn as much as you can.  When you're grown up, you will pay to go to school.  I'm not kidding.  Might as well get as much as you can now while it's free.  Besides, the more you learn, the more likely you'll be ready for that job that doesn't exist yet.

You really can do anything you want as long as you have passion.  People with passion attract others with a similar passion, and together, they do great things.  Focus on your passions.

Your mom is going to hate me for writing this, but most of the food you eat is not good for you.  All the spaghetti, noodles, cereal and bread you love to eat is weakening and dulling you.  And all the sweets are destroying the beta cells in your pancreas and distorting your sense of taste.  Eat what mom makes for you, though, because she works hard to make a good home for you, your brother and your sister.  (Think of how you'd feel if you worked hard to do something for someone but that someone didn't appreciate it.  Then imagine if that happened every day.)  But when you have the opportunity to choose your own food, choose fresh meat, poultry (chicken or turkey) or fish, a little rice or potato (or none), and a lot of fresh vegetables.  Yes, I know you hate vegetables, but you're eating processed overcooked vegetables from a can.  When fresh vegetables are prepared properly, they can be really good.  Okay, they can be not so icky.

Now let me tell you one more thing that will amaze you.  Or scare you.  Or both.

I am from the future.  A future in which there is an actual Space Station in Earth's orbit, and a satellite with a giant telescope to explore space, and little unmanned space ships that have flown past other planets in our Solar System and are approaching its outer limits, and robotic vehicles exploring Mars.  It is truly amazing.  What's more amazing is that this letter isn't written on a typewriter.  I am typing this into a Computer.  A computer is a machine that can be programmed to format and print letters, to help you draw pictures, to control an autonomous robot, to (almost) predict the weather.  Remember what I wrote about how the job you might end up with is one that doesn't exist yet?  Many of these jobs will involve a computer in some way.  The world will be very different, but you'll be ready for it.

The first sentence of this letter isn't entirely true.  You do, in fact, know me, at least a little bit.  I am the grown up version of you, from 40 years in the future!  Do me a big favor, please.  Dive in to Life, make a Big Splash, and have Fun!

- Square Peg Guy, November 2, 2012

(Based on and inspired by the Sacha Chua post "A letter to my 8-year-old self")

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