Five years ago I wrote myself a letter. “Dear Future self…” it began. I was part of series of letters that I had written every couple of years to myself since I was eleven-years-old. I had started keeping a journal after becoming obsessed with the Dear America book series for children and thought it would also be fun to keep another time capsule that I could open with surprise in the future. I would write briefly about my life at that time, what I was doing, and what I was interested in. However, the conversation with my future self always turned to the important questions. What does the future entail? What happens to me?
The letter that I open in the future would always spark the usual response. I would answer the questions, speaking about my life and how it is now and explaining what I was currently in to. It would then lead to the same questions. What happens in the future? What is to become of me? I would then date the letter and seal it in an envelope. On the front of the envelope, I would write the “Do Not Open Until…” message and hide it in a place where I’m likely to find it—usually in my memory box or one of my old journals. However, this time, the envelope that I had marked for 2018 went missing.
I remember hiding a letter addressed to myself from 2012 in my memory box and then moving it to one of my old journals. I also remember taking it out of its hiding place in 2017 so I could be ready to read it in the New Year. It was apparently an unfortunate mistake, but it did get me to reflect on what has happened to me over the last six years.
I graduated from college twice, once with a Bachelor’s degree and the second time with a Master’s. I had interned in a series of unrelated and extremely interesting places from magazines, to video production teams, to homeless shelter providers. I was an editor of a publication, a traveled through Europe, finally made it to Oregon and to Canada, became an author, loved, lost, and found out that I’m happiest when I’m creating.
I’ve moved several places and tacked a few big-girl jobs under my belt. I discovered long-distance running and rediscovered my love for nature, and made so many wonderful and crazy new friends in the process. The letter writer from 2012 seems like someone so completely different from the one in 2018. This year has even already changed so much of my thinking already.
Although I can’t find the letter that I wrote to myself at the moment, I can still ask the same questions to my future self and gaze into the unknown and uninhabited space yet to come. What does the future have in store for me? What will I have to reflect on beyond today?