Dear Future Me,
First and foremost—I hope you’re happy. Right now, you’re a month into college. As exciting as it is, you’re still a little scared. My Journalism 200 class makes me think about the future and thinking about the future totally overwhelms me.
Since I have no way of knowing what will happen to me in the next few years, that’s where you come in. So let’s catch up.
Before we start, take a minute to yourself. Try to remember me as well as you can. My favorite music nowadays is Ed Sheeran and Bad Suns. I eat yogurt and blueberries for breakfast, broccoli and chickpeas for lunch, and tofu and green beans for dinner with pineapple for dessert.
I badger my friends about the environment when they throw away recyclables or when they waste food. I despise English 101 and Statistics 101 so much that I thought you should know. I’m completely in love with the University of Maryland and every day I count my lucky stars that I ended up here.
Love is the most important thing in my life and I feel it most for my family, my new friends and coffee—in that order. I know you’re not as young as you used to be so you may have forgotten, but let’s hope you’re not that old just yet.
While I look forward to seeing how much you’ve changed, there are some things I wish we’ve carried with us.
Do you still wander bookstores to clear your mind? Are you still a firm supporter of environmentalism and feminism? Have you gotten those tattoos you’ve wanted since high school?
I don’t mean to hound you with all these questions, I just want to know if I’ve found myself yet, as cliché as that sounds. I’m still insecure about my identity because I don’t quite know if outside influences created it or if I did.
Future me, you’ve had ample time to figure it out, and I really hope you have. I’m not ashamed that I don’t know fully myself yet but I don’t want you to feel this way still. Now I know that’s a huge request to make, but it’s valid. Lucky for you, you probably value the same things as I do. And if that’s the case, then embrace the old.
By now, I hope you stopped trying to live up to my expectations. I’m too busy thinking about what internships to apply to and what jobs to chase. Everyone tells me I have time to figure things out, but I’m too stubborn to listen. Believe them. I don’t want you to regret not having enjoyed your time in college because you’re worried about letting me down. It’s okay if you’re stuck right now.
I want more than anything to make it into investigative journalism, but if you’re not there yet or if you changed your mind, I won’t be mad. My seven-year-old self wanted to work as a veterinarian. I didn’t let her expectations control me so I won’t let myself do that to you now.
Wherever you are now and whatever you’ve accomplished, just know that I am so proud of you. No matter how hard we may try, we can’t completely control our lives. I may not realize that now, but I hope by the time you read this again you will.
Don’t worry, I’m done interrogating you. It’s a lot to ask you to compare yourself to me but thank you for sticking through it. I can bet money that you haven’t taken a breath since you read the first letter of this letter. Go ahead and do that now. If you’re holding back tears from the nostalgia, then let them flow, girl. This is where and how you got started.
Reading this letter, however, certainly isn’t how it will end. I asked you to think about yourself all throughout this letter and now it’s time to think of your future self once more.
In fact, stop whatever you’re doing right now and write her a letter, too. I just ask that you remind her how much we care about her and that I can’t wait to see what she has in store. But since it’s your letter, I’ll let you write it.
And so, all the good things must come to an end. I’ll leave you here, I know how busy you make yourself and how short your attention span is. Writing to you made me feel so much better about the future because suddenly, I’m not so scared to grow into you.