Discovering the Relevance of Words
In class yesterday, my students were asked to write a letter to their future selves. They weren’t given much of a guide for what would go into these letters, just that they should pinpoint a year they feel will be important to them – some type of milestone moment – and proffer what they hope will have happened by that time, and ask questions of themselves – you know, for future answers.
I wrote a similar letter to myself when I was in my early twenties. It was a list of things that I hoped to achieve by the time I hit 30. I wanted to be married, own a house, have a stable job that I enjoyed, possibly children, continued personal success in music, finish writing a novel, and on and on. By the time I actually hit 30, and looked back on that letter, some of those things had happened. By the time I finished my 30th year, some of those had changed. I was no longer married, and definitely did not have children. I had some of my biggest musical successes by that time, I had “finished” writing a novel by age 26, but wouldn’t actually finish it until just a few weeks ago. I had purchased my home at 29, so I just scraped that one out under the wire. I’ve been teaching since I was 22, so that had already been checked off the list.
Life goes through quite a few roller coasters, and for the most part I’m okay with that. At now 32, I can look back at my last decade and smile about it. I learned a ton over these 10 years, and wouldn’t take any of it back. I am who I am because of who I was, and I’m fine with that.
In eight years I’ll be 40, and I can sort of start my list again: I’d like to be married, have a family, a job that I love, write more often, continue to play music that I enjoy, be financially comfortable, be a world traveler, and just be genuinely happy. I think those are all achievable goals.
Dear 40-year-old self: I hope you’re happy with who you have become.
What do you want to tell your future self?