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  • Hey-O-O-O-O-O-O-O!!!!!!

    Yup, it's really me. I knew you'd recognize that greeting, just my way of saying I still retain a memory for some details, 41 years out. Yeah, man, it's really me. Forget about how this is possible, just dig it, if you will. If you could see how it all turns out, I know that you would be stunned, and delighted. That one poem you wrote, just as you turned 18, about running into me as you climbed that mountain? Let me just say, for the record, it's not your father's "fifties"when you get here, dude. For starters, I still have a full head of hair. No balding. No sadness. No regrets.

    Like everything else in your life, you'll make it your own, and I'm here to tell you, you'll rock your fifties out, my friend. I can't tell you about your sixties just yet, but I have even bigger intentions for them. I'm just now hitting my stride in life. But, dude, I'm fucking hitting it with everything I've got. I know you can dig that.

    What I won't do is give you any advice or try to convince you to do anything differently. You have enough people doing that to you, and you're probably trying too hard to make them all happy. You can't. Just keep doing what you're doing. You'll eventually totally dig the results. And yes, you will survive it all. Miracles do happen.

    I couldn't be more proud of you, 18 year old me. It really amazes me to look back and say, "I really did all that at 18?" Seriously - you're kicking some serious life ass, despite some incredibly unfair shit that's getting thrown at you. You're sorting through a lot of confusing psychological chaos, but you're doing it your way, you're leaving a mark, and you're going to land in a phenomenal place before you're through. You're embarking on a journey that keeps revealing more of life.

    Let's see - you started 18 getting dumped by the first girl you fell head over heals in love with, despite the fact that she loved you, too. She just had big goals to achieve, and wouldn't let something like once-in-a-life romance get in the way. That would make you love her even more, and it will take awhile to get over that. Longer than you know. But, you will. Nothing in life is permanent. You'll find an even better life love, believe it or not.

    That coffee house you started and are running in town? Amazing, man. A rock and roll coffeehouse. The concept never really catches on, but when you reach my age, you'll look back and say, "that was amazing!" You had a vision, you went for it, and it made a difference in a little New England town. It gave kids a place to play, to gather, to dig some serious, live music, and you became a bit of a local celebrity for a little while, there. You really rocked that one, man!

    You couldn't vote in the national election, the first year that 18 year olds had to vote, your birthday coming five days too late, but that didn't stop you from making a difference. You got involved, you took a stand - you walked into Windsor Democratic Headquarters, signed up, picked up a phone, and within a week, you were running the phone bank, there. Despite Nixon beating McGovern in 49 out of 50 states, you made a difference. Eventually, the rest of the world will come to know what you knew about Watergate all along. Yup, the "Trickster" knew about it all along. You will be vindicated. But, by then, you won't even care.
  • I've included three pictures - the first one you'll recognize as what you see when you look in the mirror. That might be from when you were 17 - by 18, your hair was longer and you were sporting a little more of a hippie look. Not to freak you out, but the second one really is you, still 18, right as you finish up Boot Camp. Yeah, it's a long story, but you really do wind up in the Navy while you're still 18. Many of your friends won't understand it, and some will abandon you over it, thinking that you sold out to "the man". Don't worry about them - they weren't real friends. They didn't take the time to get to know the real you, to understand why joining the Navy made perfect sense for you, and really was your best move, at the time. One real friend, who sticks with you through it all, will be worth way more than all the bullshit surfacy ones rolled together, and will eventually save your life, right before he loses his own. They don't get much more real, or true, than that, my friend! You will be most fortunate to have a number of friends like that, and they'll make your life rich beyond comprehension.

    The last shot is you/me now - well, it's almost a year old now, but you're still laughing, still enjoying life, still young at heart, despite a particularly rough year in which it was taken. This one was taken just as I was/you were getting ready to go on an Alaskan adventure. The hat is something I picked up in St. Petersburg, Russia (you knew it as Leningrad - another long story). This is what we call, these days, a "selfie". I took it with my phone. Yeah, we're not even going to get into all of that!
  • Just keep on rockin' dude, keep being who you are, and know that when you get halfway up that mountain, you will look back, shake your head, and say "Wow - not too shabby!" I'm not going to tell you that it's all a bowl of fucking cherries, because if I did, I know you'd never believe me. But, it does get easier. Good shit does happen. And, while life will continue to throw challenges at you, every single day, you'll reach a point where you wake up in the morning, and find yourself eagerly looking forward to what that day has in store for you. The bottom line is, you'll reach a point where it will no longer be all about you. You'll be more concerned with what you can bring to life - just like you are now. Only, you'll be in a better position to bring a shitload of life, to life.

    That's it for now. Write back, if you can. I'll be here!

    Your future self,

    Hawkeye Pete (Nickname you'll pick up in Boot Camp, and use as your storyteller's tag years later)
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