Gary, in his own words: “If I were to give any advice to my younger self, it would be: don’t do what I did. Don’t spend so much effort imitating what society tells you a “real boy” should be like. Don’t try to “pass” as “normal.” And as a variation on those, don’t marry a woman. And (if that marriage ends in divorce), don’t then, for God’s sake, marry another woman!
But just as a friend who is an alcoholic says, “I thank God I was born an alcoholic! If I hadn’t been, I probably never would have discovered how freeing it is to live in surrender to my Higher Power.” I could say something similar.
Sure, I made “mistakes,” lots of them; I still do. But if I hadn’t made those “mistakes,” I wouldn’t be who I am today. If I had not married, for example, I never would have had the opportunity of being a loving father to two extraordinary youngsters. They continue to amaze and delight and stretch me every day of my life. Plus I wouldn’t be “Bappy” to my five-year-old grandson, Jaden, who is such a joy.
So if I were to write a letter to my younger self (or for that matter, to Jaden), I think I’d borrow the words of Dag Hammarskjhold from his book, Markings: “For everything that has been, ‘Thanks.’ For everything that will be, ‘Yes!’”
Those two words: “thanks” and “yes” will take you wherever you need to go. And they’ll make up for any “mistakes” along the way. In fact, I thank God every day for my “mistakes!”