So why did I call this story “Something To Look Forward To”? In short, that is what life is about. We all live for the things we look forward to. The year was 1999, maybe 2000, on a typical Southern California afternoon in the San Fernando Valley. I was making my weekly pilgrimage to the nearest supplier to feed my oil addiction and happened upon a conversation between an elderly local and the gentlemen who managed the gas station.
It was your typical discussion of someone reminiscing of the “Good Ole Days”, and that those Good Ole Days existed at one specific time in America’s history. For him it was the 1940’s and 50’s. It was right then a younger gentlemen, about my age 27 or 28, came through the door and patiently waited to pay for his gas with one ear to the conversation in front of him. When the men noticed him waiting they broke from the conversation and that’s when he spoke up.
“The Good Ole Days, no matter what time or place, always happens to be when you are young when time is moving much slower. Why? Because you constantly have something to look forward to! Everything is new, and you don’t have the responsibilities you did once you entered the work force. When you did enter the work force you ended up living for your weekends and your vacations, and then time went by much quicker.”
Both the elderly local, and the store manager stared at him with blank faces partially for the young man’s candid intrusion, but also for the words that seemed beyond his years. “Life becomes the moments you look forward to.” he told them. “Your weekends, the Holidays, your vacations, your family visits, those are the moments you remember. But if you think about it, “Time” has never been better. We have cell phones, computers, incredible technology and instant knowledge of what is happening in the world.”
The elderly local then interrupted the younger stranger but only because of enlightenment, and the realization that what he was saying had at least a tiny amount of merit. “You are absolutely right” he admitted. “Schedules and work can become so monotonous that I only remember a few days out of the year.” he said. The gas station clerk nodded his head in agreement.I paid for my gas and left them as the young stranger gave one last bit of advice which I still have not managed to take myself. “Make everyday something to look forward to, and your life will be a lot longer.”
But this story is not about the meaning of life per say. Actually, this is not even a story as much as it is a collection of letters to you, my sister Heather. You are twenty-two years younger than I, and you are the only sibling that I really don’t have a relationship with. And one of the main reasons for that is the fact that you are almost completely deaf. You and I also have different Mothers and grew up in two very different places in the United States. I grew up in California, and you were born and raised in the “Roll Tide” state of Alabama. You are now turning 18 and I am at the ripe young age of 41 and I have so many things I want to tell you about the world as you now become an adult. So this is a story about you, me and the World as I see it. After all, what is a brother good for?