When I was sixteen, I wrote a letter to my future self. I posted it to my Livejournal, my online diary at the time. I remember writing it after my mother sat me down and told me that my cousin – then a junior in college – was having a baby. We were both scared. She was scared didn’t want me to make the same, unplanned mistake. I was scared because I was a few months in to my first relationship.
I wrote this letter then in order to remind myself what kind of person I am, and what kind person I want to be. I’m not sixteen anymore; I’m now 19, and it feels haunting to read this, not only because I remember writing it, but because it seems that I had a flair for the dramatic, too. I think this letter was also meant for an older Future Me, so I’m going to preserve it here.
Dear Future Me,
The 16 years and some odd days that have passed since my birth seem like a whirl. The simile is over-used, and cliche, but nevertheless accurate. My childhood years wiled away as I played in sandboxes, formed letters into words, loved unconditionally, and made many discoveries about the world. As is always the case, the discoveries soon transcended into small truths. These small truths represented the catalyst which transformed me from a child to an adult.
The truth of the lice in my hair, and the way the other kids laughed at me behind my back.
The truth of my neighbors’ sudden disdain for my immaturity, and his calm way of ignoring me when I was obviously devoted to him.
The truth of Taylor’s moving to another school district, of Kaitlyn moving to somewhere across the country, of Robin and Elise and Sindhuja and Ryan and Greg all leaving the state, leaving me to weep alone.
The truth of friendships dying away, of parents fighting, of the idea of laughter itself laughable.
The truth in that small drop of blood on my Mickey Mouse underwear.
The truth my mother sought to preach when she sat me down on the couch, and asked, “Should I worry? Please tell me I shouldn’t, please.”
In essence, the truth in life is this: the world is NOT a good place. Worry, fear, shame, lust, and hurt are part of the world we call home. But is it that bad? Because accompanying worry and fear are reassurance and relief; accompanying shame and lust are pride and chastity; and accompanying hurt is soothing calm. Wherever there is bad, there is good. Remember this, Future Me, and all will be well.
Said Betty Smith at the end of her novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”: “To live, to struggle, to be in love with life – in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful – is fulfillment. The fullness of life is open to all of us.”
I hope, in time, that you find fulfillment in your life. Whether it be in grades or kisses, as long as you are content, I, as the Past Me, have done my job. As you learn more and more lessons, adulthood will loom ever closer. You will realize that it is a trap, but too late, will fall into its depths. You’ll want to return to the innocence of the playground. You may fall from the handlebars and drop head-first into the sand. Later, you may fall from the social ladder into the depths of shallow ignorance. They are the same: disappointments which magnify or lessen according to maturity level.
If you are unsure of what you want to do with your life, or of how you want to live it, know that you can always be sure to ring me up. Call at your phone number, and I’ll answer; I’ll always be there. You will learn many things in the next year; there will be ups and downs. Remember, after every down there is an up. After every lecture there is praise. The small truths may soon reveal themselves to be the keys to a successful life; they may lead to the door leading to the perfect world, the perfect life, the perfect person. And then they may merely be truths: cold, hard realities.
Whichever they are, keys are realities, the small truths are what make you who you are. Originality and individuality are the most important morals. If you are yourself, and you remember that to lie to oneself is a sin, then, hopefully, you will live a life of fulfillment. Remember to be honest. Remember to reminisce. Most importantly, remember to LOVE.
I’ll always be with you,
Allie of the Past
Have you ever written a letter to your future self? How did it feel to read it? If you haven’t, you should write one right now & preserve it somewhere you know you will find it.