My 48th Birthday - Letter to a small friend

Dear small Marcus,

let me guess: you are around 5 years old, and you are strolling around the backyard of a traveling circus to see the exotic animals? You are just learning that tigers don't eat grass (but hands). You don't have money for a ticket to see the show. But I am sure you will find a gap under the circus tent to watch it for free.

You don't know me. But I know you. Today I turned 48 and I am living and working in China. I am the person you are going to become.

Soon you will go to school. It will be okay. As a teenager you will think, you are clever. But you are not. You will join the German army during the end of the Cold War. You will even go to jail. People will live, love, hate and die. And again, it will be okay. What else? There are some big changes coming: The Soviet Union will collapse, Communism will defeated itself, and Germany will be unified. You will see the part of your family again, which was separated from you by The Iron Curtain before you were born. And you will feel very strange about them. Never mind. You will have wonderful University years, become a scientist, do interesting work with extraordinary people in different industries all over the world. It will be great.

Some things will really not be as you think. For example we don't fly to Mars and we will also don't have nuclear fusion. We still drive around in the same old cars, where they make little explosions in cylinders to drive the pistons up and down. Stoneage! Many people will still go to bed hungry. Far too many. But don't be disappointed. On the other hand, today, many diseases will be defeated or become curable. We will decode the human genome - wow! And we also will have Facebook and mobile phones, even you won't care about them. And sure, they really don't make a damn difference.

Even in the future you will have the means to enter the biggest circus, you will still not join the crowds. You will travel through life off the beaten tracks, and discover exotic things and places. You will find it more interesting. For that: train the basics, think clear, ignore assholes, and learn to appreciate and understand what you see. It is fascinating. Learn science, math and languages. But don't ignore the arts. One is for living, the other for life - or the other way around. They are one.

We will never meet. But I send you my best regards from the future.



P.s. Caution with explosives, defective firearms, fast cars and pretty women. No drunk motorcycling, and no Antonov planes in Africa, okay? Then you will be fine - except from some bone fractures. But who cares? 

Marcus Schuetz in 1969.

Marcus Schuetz in 1969.