“A Letter To My Younger Self”-type writings seem to currently be in abundance throughout the publishing world.  This theme was on my mind earlier this morning while awake at a pathologically early hour.  With that brief opening stanza, here is my effort at “A Letter To My Younger Self”:

Dear Andy,

This may creep you out a bit, but this letter is from you, only 25 years in the future.  “How is that possible?” you are undoubtedly asking yourself.  I can’t quite explain how, but it has to do with time, space, quantum particles, mealworms, charred hair from as ancient wizard’s beard, grapes (Concord only), condensed exhaust fumes from a 1977 Camaro and 44.36 mL of Brett Michaels’ signature Snapple drink Trop-A-Rocka (I know, cool!!).

My goal is to impart some advice to you earlier in your/our life to allow for hopefully more personal fulfillment, contentment and professional satisfaction.  As I am aware of your appreciation for concise and direct communication, here is some guidance in no particular order:

  • Continue to nurture your empathetic predispositions. A time will come when you will witness societal changes that seem to orient people into conflict with others.  Don’t submit to the devolution of communication where many yell and few listen.
  • You remember all those cats we would pet and feed from the barn across the street? It was a harbinger of our future profession; veterinarian!!!!  Stop sweating, we don’t work on cattle so no worries about the sleeve and where said sleeve is to go.  Really, you don’t put your arm in a cow’s butt for a living.  You do at times in veterinary school but you’re learning and you get some great stories out of the experience!
  • As a veterinarian, never stop reading and learning about the profession. You work with dogs and cats and there are always new therapies and theories about caring for them and you need to expose yourself to all of them.  Our thirst for knowledge along with our empathy serves us well in our chosen profession.
  • Don’t scratch “I hate Mom” on the end table by the upstairs sofa when she disciplines us for doing something stupid. She saves the table and gives it to you at your wedding with the etching clearly readable.  Makes you feel like a punk, because you were.  Save yourself the grief.  Pretty solid move by Ma though, you gotta admit.
  • You will be exposed to clients who become emotional regarding their pets and can get upset. These folks are not personally attacking you, they are only dismayed by the situation involving their pet’s health.  These people need your support and compassion with clear and focused words.  These are your great clients.  Conversely, you will have people who are purposely rude and even verbally abusive.  These individuals can get the boot; you don’t need or want them in your hospital.  You and the people you work with deserve respect and if you are exposed to a person who chooses to behave in a belligerent or disrespectful manner, set them free to seek veterinary care at another hospital.
  • SAVE ALL THE STAR WARS TOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep working hard, pay attention to your surroundings and enjoy the ride.  I can’t go into certain specifics about a future family as I can’t upset the temporal tide gradient.  I can safely say, however, you don’t end up with the actress who played “Daisy” on “Dukes of Hazzard”.  You find someone much more wonderful.  Oh, your kid scratches “I hate Dad” onto a prized end table.  The circle of life is complete!!!!!