I’ve seen a lot of letters to myself in the past. This is what I will say to my post-pandemic self, they read. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are the only person you can trust. Slow down. You can’t go through life afraid to live it. You will be so proud of yourself! I even wrote one in 2019, one tough love letter give myself twenty somethings of mine. But why look back? What about our future selves? What questions do we want to ask? What do we wonder?
The Wit & Delight theme this month is “Show yourself as you are.” So I was intrigued when I wrote about the possibility of change and told a part of myself that I didn’t know. I want to explore what the future might feel like. I want to spend time with that mysterious soul. This person may have children, not have children, experience loss, grow old, mature, experience unknown pain, and form new habits. When we write to ourselves about the past, we know them and have a pompous clarity in the writing. Sure, it’s fun to give advice to our past selves. But is it useful? How can we best discover who we can be? How can we best break down the wall of the person we fear to see? How do we write about the unknown?
I want to write a letter with more intentions. I wanted to ask questions and discover what scares me as I get older. In a way, that’s what the most honest article gives us.
When I think about it, we’re always (sort of) writing for future versions of ourselves. We write dreams and aspirations, ideals and healings. We imagine the future deeply, trying to focus on the present. But, I want to write a letter with more intentions. I wanted to ask questions and discover what scares me as I get older. In a way, that’s what the most honest article gives us. Right?
Okay, here nothing/everything.
Hello, it’s me from the past. I’m thirty-five. I don’t know how old you are now. I imagine you are in your sixties. You have lived a full life. You are as old as your mother when you write this letter. I guess this letter is like the beginning. I’m scared to write this. I’m struggling to imagine who you are.
Can I be honest? After all, you are you. Right now, I feel selfish. I want to tell you all the things I want in my life. I hope you get them. Right now, your thirtieth self is lack. I want to have a baby. I don’t want to have children. I want more money. I want to live within my means. Beyond my. I want more time. I wanted to earn every minute and felt as if I couldn’t bring an hour to the end of my driveway. I want everyone to live forever. I don’t want to go through deep grief. I’m so lucky. I’m too selfish.
If you’re sixty, lucky enough to live until then, I know you’ve been through pain until now. The deep kind, the ocean kind, the dark and vast, you won’t be able to explain to me. Are you okay with that pain?
I read this quote in Susan Cain’s book Bitter and sweet at the same time recently (you should read it again and see what you think). “If we could just respect sadness a little more, maybe we could see it — instead of forced smiles and legitimate outrage — as the bridge we need to connect with each other. . We can remember that no matter how unpleasant we may find someone’s opinion, no matter how radiant or intense, someone may appear, they have suffered, or they will do so. ” I don’t mean to jump right into grief. That must be my fear. You’ve always been a sentimental melancholy. You love sad music. You have a keen awareness of the passage of time. You have a joyful curiosity about specific beauty spots in the world. Recently, I identified with the Arabic proverb, “Honey day, onion day.” You are the definition of bittersweet.Are you still?
I also read in Bitter and sweet at the same time that, as we age, we find comfort with the passage of time. I imagine you don’t try and slow it down. You are a quiet person, a force of class traditions, loss and joy. Does that feel nice?
I’m sure you’ve reached out to many people, loving them, hugging them and taking care of them. But I hope you do the same for yourself. Somehow, I know you can.
I also have some wishes. I hope you transform your sadness and longing into art. I hope you have written a lot of letters. I hope work doesn’t take you away, even though you let work get away with you in your thirties. I hope you gave your parents the stage and time. I’m sure you’ve reached out to many people, loving them, hugging them and taking care of them. But I hope you do the same for yourself. Somehow, I know you can.
I want you to remember something about this time in your life. I want you to remember how light you felt riding Crow, your favorite big chestnut horse. I want you to recall how you felt when you first saw your words in print, proof that you existed. I want you to remember the little yard in front of your first house, the lawn mowers, and how much you care about the grass and impress the neighbors. I want you to remember those late nights in the garage with Jake, fixing things up so everything in the house reminds you of work, polish. I want you to recall the smell of hot tomatoes and summer with your little niece and nephew. I want you to remember their sticky cheeks and small, broken voices. Remember that Jake loves to build you things. Remember the ocean with your mom and sister, what it was like to reach out to them and fall in love with them in the morning mists of Carmel. Remember Northwoods with your friends when none of you have kids. Remember those hot, deep-fried avocado buns when frying fish and how long it took you to watch your peonies grow. Remember something fever want to get pregnantunknown hope of longing for expansion, a physical extroversion.
I also want you to remember the hard things. I want you to remember the pay-to-pay life, not being able to get the things you want because you don’t have enough money. I want you to remember those doctor bills you struggled to pay, cry on your way home from work, can’t imagine traveling to other countries, and wonder if your life has limits. term within 200 miles north, east, south and west of your home. Did you travel more? Do you still feel this?
All of these will feel different to you now, perhaps as distant memories. Those little moments in your thirties that you’ll read later are like you’re starving. Perhaps there is something completely different that makes you feel light. I hope you’re still going. I can imagine you still care about a clean yard and a nice lawn. That’s what makes you so much like your dad. We bring our family with us everywhere.
When you were in school, you would write a long list of “favorites” so that you could look back years later and read about how much you have changed. You’ve been haunted by the fact that, 5 years ago, you fell in love and loved so much (my god!) OC and Blue.
All of these will feel different to you now, perhaps as distant memories. Those little moments in your thirties that you’ll read later are like you’re starving. Perhaps there is something completely different that makes you feel light.
Try it again! Right now, I really like Brené Brown podcast (podcast still something?), Dirty Shirleys, antique, catalog The Vermont Country Store, my Gentle reminder calendar, Paper Mate Colorful Pensee Love Island (sorry, I’m the future), dress up as Meryl Streep in It’s so complicated, sleep aids like sipping on an iced Sleepy Time Tea before bed, horse head pillows, weather patterns, gingham accents, and the way Jake looks at me when I’m talking about something I love. Do you still love these? Do you have a wish for them?
in my Passion planner, I write down the biggest lesson I learn every month. Here’s what I wrote this year:
- Resonance is important.
- Nothing but love and kindness matters.
- Your anger is you. Not anyone else. Sit in it.
- Stop guessing, trust the burn.
- Discomfort is progress.
- Sadness is wide, sorrow is best friend.
- There’s no need to rush.
- You can always come back.
- Hold fear and joy in equal glory. Both can exist at the same time.
- You always do better than you think.
- Dandelion is good.
- To be happy, be more trees.
- Don’t go to a high concert.
I’m sure you have a lot to add now. Or maybe you don’t. Or maybe you think these are ridiculous. Or maybe you no longer find it necessary to make a “lesson list.”
I’m happy. I have my hard days. I have bad habits. I haven’t been to the dentist yet to fill those cavities, so I hope you don’t have five crowns now. I’m putting a lot of money into my 401K, so I hope I’ll help you succeed. I’m working hard. That is the lesson here. My thirtieth best thing is I hope your sixty-something has peace of mind.
Will people find this article on the internet in 25 years? (Writer’s Note: Please don’t tell me how I’ll be sixty years old in twenty-five years.) Would they find it funny? Freak? I’m not sure. Perhaps, just like in the past, articles on the internet will drift away like a lost jar in the middle of the ocean — little bits of life. And one day, I will return to this very past, searching for my future. I might have to print it out, just in case.
Either way, I hope you’re happy too. I hope life feels full. I hope the people in your life reflect how you have shown your beacon of light in the world, no matter how dim or powerful.
Brittany, your thirties (past)
Finally, I highly recommend you give this exercise a try.
Writing for a newer version of myself has given me some specific clarity about who I want to be and how I want to grow.
Here are some tips for trying to write your own “future self” letter:
- Write down what you want to remember.
- Write down what you don’t want to remember.
- Write about the things you love.
- Make notes about how you feel right away.
- Scribble the lessons you’ve learned.
- Ask your future self how you are different now.
- Finally, write a note to yourself in a year, three years, five years… put them in an envelope and date them so you can read them again.
Will you write yours?
Brittany Chaffee is a passionate storyteller, professional author, and author. Every day, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Outside of business hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. She lives in St.Paul with her cat brother, Rami and Monkey. Follow her on Instagramread more about her latest book, border lineand (most importantly) hug your mom.