Before graduating high school I was asked to write a letter to my future self. For six years my teacher held onto this said letter but this past week I finally got it delivered to me. I decided to share it, as well as my response, here. I’ve taken the liberty of deleting names to protect the innocent as well as fixing grammatical issues to protect my dignity but aside from that this is the original letter (with all its adolescent naiveté). Hope you enjoy.
Dear Future Me,
Well by now you should’ve finished college and started a real life. I understand if you haven’t, things tend to get in people’s way. However, I still expect for you to accomplish extraordinary things. Everyone always thought you were this brilliant kid with a bright future. Hopefully, you’ve proved them right.
How’re mom and dad? I expect for you to take care of them. Remember: at the end of the day family is all you really have. How’s your brother? I still expect you to lead a model life for him. He’s young and needs guidance. And friends? Tell me 1’s not an alcoholic? Just lie to me. Tell me 2 is successful. Do you still talk to 3? I swear if you two go out again, she better treat you right. Whatever happened to 4? Remember all that you’ve done for her.
Anyway, how are you? It’s been five years. Right now “life” is just beginning. You’re about to graduate tomorrow. I’m pretty freaked out. I have to give a speech (so much for my public speaking skills). You better not smoke, you better vote, and you better be having the time of your life because life is too short not to live each day like it’s your last.
Hopefully that major earthquake hasn’t happened – and if it hasn’t MOVE TO CANADA! They have gay marriage, heath care, and maple leaves.
How’s music? Speaking of which, I’m handing out free copies of Life As We Know It. Hopefully you’re not poor. If you are, it’s probably because of this album. Well, I don’t want to get all mushy on you but I love you, man and I hope you take good care of yourself.
Tomy a.k.a. You
Dear Past Me,
The gift and the curse of time is that it, by very nature, is linear (though I’m sure some would disagree). Letters can be sent to the future but none can be delivered to the past. I recall you having this thought as you were writing me years ago. Still, you wished I could write you back so here we are. Though I know you’ll never receive it, I owe you the response.
Of course there are the superficial things I could respond to in your letter but more important to me is responding to the heart behind those inquiries. If there’s one thing I wish I could tell you it’s that you will live. You will go on to finish school, find love, meet God, and move to another country. You will lose friends, make new ones, and it will be okay.
Part of life’s beauty rests in its uncertainty. All we know is this present moment. But, Tomy, the worries of the present have no place in the future.
God loves you; and your inability to fully comprehend that statement doesn’t make it any less true. You waste far too much energy fighting for the approval of people when your worth is independent of those things.
I know you don’t believe everyone when they say you’re a brilliant kid with a bright future but you are. I just pray that you’ll eventually come to see it. You’re a good kid.
Tomy a.k.a. You
P.S. Everyone’s fine.