Back to the Future Day

A reflection I shared with our high schoolers last night…


October 21st, 2015.

For many people in my age bracket – the future is officially here.

As a kid Marty McFly and Doc Brown and the Delorean and 88 mph were where it was at. The trilogy of Back to the Future Movies was our version of your 27 Fast & Furious movies.

If you have no idea what I am talking about…go rent or stream all three of the Back to the Future films. You won’t regret it.

How many of you wish you could go ahead 25 years and see what the world looks like? What your life looks like? Who you ended getting married to? How many kids you end up having? What you are doing for a living?

I think it is an inherent desire inside all of us to know what the future holds. We sometimes miss what’s happening all around us because we are too focused on what is up ahead.

Why does the future fascinate us? What are your hopes for the future? What are your fears for the future?

I can remember being your age and spending so much time daydreaming about someday being a famous General Manager for a sports franchise and living the life.

I think it’s a fine line.

Because I think daydreaming and envisioning the life you want to have and the person you hope to become is critical. So I say don’t stop daydreaming, don’t stop imagining a better world or new things or ways to make things easier.

George Lucas had a dream for a movie about a galaxy far, far away. 6 movies later, almost 40 years down the road….George Lucas sold that dream called Lucasfilm to Disney for 4 BILLION dollars. That is not a typo.

Two college guys from Buffalo, NY turned their original idea called “Trash Can Frisbee” into what we know as Kan Jam and have made millions of dollars off of this ridiculously simple concept.

We need each and every one of you to believe in your dreams, to continue to push the envelope and think outside of the box.

The other part of all of this is to simply enjoy the ride.

It’s easy to get caught on the fast moving river of life that demands you take 42 AP classes, be active in 26 clubs, play 6 sports, 3 instruments, work 2 jobs, have a social life, apply to 12 distinctly different universities, eat healthy all the time, get 8.5 hours of sleep every night, post only cool photos to your instagram account with witty captions, maintain a certain level of followers on your twitter account, watch your data constantly, keep up with the latest styles, trying to catch your breath, trying to figure out whether you are coming or going and trying to make sense of it all as flies by at 100 mph.

That’s not living. That’s existing.

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”             -St. Augustine

“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

-Mother Teresa

O Me! O Life!

By Walt Whitman

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish, Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d, Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me, Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined, The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

2040 is 25 years from now. What will your 2040 look like? What will your Back to the Future Day look like?

Whatever it looks like – it’s in your hands and it starts today. Don’t waste another second worrying about the things that you have no control over. Waste an afternoon daydreaming about life and the pursuit of your happiness. Get lost in the woods. Sit and stare out onto our Great Lake.

My prayer is that each of you continuously imagines the life you wish for and work every single day to make it a reality. My prayer is that each of you also makes it a priority to stop and ponder, slow down and appreciate, relax and laugh, sit and wonder.

The challenge is figuring out how to do both. Happy Back to the Future Day.



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