Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and I are hosting our own Reverb11, a series of prompts to look back on 2011 and manifest the new year. Please check our Reverb11 pages for details, and join in!
Prompt for December 12: Future Self: Write a letter to your future self, telling the future you about what you hope for you.
Dear Sweet Girl:
You wrote this same letter last year. You reflected on it when you got on that stupid train in May, watching the sheep graze in the English countryside. The thing I’ve noticed the most from reading that old letter is that you’re very hard on yourself. And if you had a nickel for every person who has told you the same, you’d…have an awful lot of nickels.
Because I am an extremely thorough person, in order to write this letter, I went back through 20 years of journals. Your younger self had hilariously, meticuously written margin notes to the older self — clarifying thoughts, and making sure that cultural references wouldn’t be lost among the decades. I’m not sure if that’s the hallmark of a crazy person, or a young woman so desperate to be understood that she didn’t want to chance her grown-up self dismissing her dreams. It was beautiful in a heartbreaking sort of way.
So. Here’s the deal, sweet girl. Be gentle. Be kind — with yourself, and others. Remember to listen; remember to speak your mind. Know that not everything is your fault.
There’s going to be some hideously hard stuff. You’re living with an awful, chronic illness and it’s sometimes going to get the better of you. You’re occasionally going to have to do it alone. You are, from time to time, going to have to depend on others for some very basic things. Accept this. Accept help.
Try not to be so condescending, especially with your family.
You’re not unlovable. You’re occasionally less-than-likeable, but that’s human. You’re human, by the way. Not part robot. There are a few people who see through your shiny metal façade — hang on to them. But don’t make too many plans for that. Live that in le présent de l’indicatif, not passé composé, not le conditionnel, not le futur. Just…au ce moment.
Let life strike you. Be struck.
There will be more times when you’re not sure you know what you’re doing — try to stop being so scared of imperfection. There will be more wonderful, confusing, complicated kisses on the forehead. There will be other things you can’t control — don’t try to control them by controlling yourself.
It is perfectly acceptable that you have an irrational fear of panda bears. You will likely always have this. Never change. You are probably always going to cry at that Folgers commercial — the one where Peter comes home for Christmas morning. Embrace it.
Love as much as you can; remember that life is not a competition. Do the things you enjoy and never give up believing that someone will want to share them with you. There will be more hotels, and more airports; more early mornings and late, late nights. There will be love and loss and times when you think you absolutely won’t make it. You will make it.
And never, ever forget that night when you were a little girl, that one when you stayed up till morning with your best friend listening to Joni Mitchell. The ceiling fan was clicking and the lights were low, and you heard: There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams, and plenty, before the last revolving year is through.
Your present self