Meeting the Future Me

I distinctly remember wondering what it must be like to be an adult when I was a kid. As an eleven-year-old I couldn’t imagine not going to school everyday. Or being able to drive a car. Or getting married. Or having kids.

Yet somehow all of those things have happened over the past twenty-five years. I’m staring down the barrel of thirty-seven and in many ways I don’t really feel much different from that eleven-year-old kid. Hopefully I’m a little wiser. Maybe a little less annoying.

If nothing else I’ve come to accept that Swiss cake rolls, Chips Ahoy and a cherry coke don’t make a meal.

But would eleven-year-old me recognize thirty-six-year-old me? Would I be someone he’d think was cool, or would I just be some pitiful old dude trying to be funny and act young? And would I feel melancholy as I look at that eleven-year-old kid and wonder how I’d lost what he had, or would I feel relieved, impressed or just amazed at how much that kid has grown?

The theme given to ChicagoNow bloggers last week to write about if we so choose was “Who I Want to Meet.” That’s quite open-ended, and I thought about it for days and couldn’t settle on one person. Of course there are people I find interesting, and I’m sure I’d enjoy meeting them, but none really stood out.

And then, because she sometimes knows what I should write before I even know what I should write, my wife suggested that I write about meeting Future Brett.

Of course! That’s just the type of thing I love thinking and writing about. Plus, I’ll meet Future Brett someday. Granted, I won’t be Current Brett when I meet him, but I’ll still meet him.

However, when I began to think about meeting Future Brett, I couldn’t separate that idea from Past Brett. The Brett that I’ve already met, that I’ve already known, that I’ve already been.

We sometimes hear people theorize as to whether people ever really change. And your guess is as good as mine. My interests have changed. So have my habits, my desires, my fears and my goals. But how the heck am I supposed to know if I’ve changed or not?

And changed relative to what? Recent Past Brett is probably a lot like me. Way in the Past Brett, not so much. Infant Brett, hardly at all, except I still cry if I go too long without eating. (Not really.)

Still, I think Past Brett is different from Current Brett, which means that Future Brett is probably different also. And that’s why I want to meet him.


To prepare for our meeting—since we never know when we might happen upon a Flux Capacitor and some plutonium—I’ve written a list of things to ask Future Brett.

I suspect time continues to speed up as we get older. Is that true? How’s your back holding up? How about the knees? Still running? Grade me as a parent. Grade me as a son. How do you think my wife would grade me as a husband?

Take any exciting vacations? What are you eating? Watching? Listening to? Does anyone still read books? Any news on the JFK assassination?

At what age were you the happiest? Do you still think your best days are ahead of you? Are you tired? What’s more important to you, privacy or security? What’s the last kind thing you did for someone?

Would you do anything differently? Have you failed to notice the importance of something as it was happening? What did you needlessly worry about? Does everyone still fawn over Oprah?

What don’t you know? What have you forgotten? How much is gas? What’s a word that you use everyday that I’ve never heard before? Is AIDS still around? Cancer? How big are chicken breasts?

What’s going on with the Cubs? Do my clothes look dated? Are they still making pennies? Do you laugh often? Do you have fun? What’s next?

I hope Current Brett likes the answers that Future Brett will give. Luckily, I’ll have some influence on those answers, so I’ll keep that in mind. But the best part is, all I have to do to meet Future Brett is stick around.

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