In the past, I’ve devoted my end of the year entry to the rather cliche ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. However, as most people can attest, few stick to those resolutions beyond January 2nd. (Remember that time I promised to stop eating my feelings in honey roasted cashews? Well that didn’t happen.) And so, this year I’ve decided to send a letter to my future self, reflecting on both the wise decisions and poor choices I’ve made this year. Instead of telling myself what to do in the future, I’m reminding myself of what I’ve done in the past.
Dear Future Self,
The last time I completed a letter-to-your-future-self exercise, I was a senior in high school, convinced that within 7 years of graduation I’d be a constitutional lawyer in Washington D.C. According to those calculations, I should currently be in my second year of law school, preferably at Yale, though I would have settled for Georgetown.
Well, fast forward 6 years, and I am in a profession entirely apart from the law, and in city unlike DC or New Haven. The beauty in the situation is that I learned it was acceptable, if not welcome, to deviate from the beaten path. I could have childhood dreams, but I could also retire those dreams if they no longer brought me the satisfaction I expected they would.
And so rather than predict where you will be a year from today, I’m going to tell you where you’ve already been. Your dreams will undoubtedly change as quickly as your favorite Chobani flavor so let’s not agonize over the future. Let’s embrace the present and reflect on the past.
In the last year you’ve switched from the legal profession to that of broadcast television. You’ve enjoyed life as both a single and romantically involved biddie. You’ve killed three cockroaches and lived to tell the tale. (Though your fear of them has hardly subsided, as evidence by your occasional leaving of the bathroom light on.)
You’ve spent a week in London and a week in San Francisco, two cities with eerily similar weather patterns despite their geographical disparity. And you’ve planned two vacations for the coming year. Basically, you’ve embraced your perpetual bout of wanderlust and began planning your life accordingly.
You’ve strengthened existing friendships and created new ones, often invoking your trademark “coffee date” as a means to ignite them. You’ve had several of those existing friendships put to the test, and by and large you’ve succeeded in maintaining them.
You’ve survived a Category 1 hurricane and determined to never buy riverfront property, even though your astrological sign longs to live near the ocean. Your super, with whom you’ve surprisingly developed a solid working relationship, has seconded your residency decision. He’s also told you, “Don’t lose faith, sweetheart, there’s someone out there for you. I just know it.” And you, for the first time since you hit puberty, actually believe he may not be entirely inaccurate.
And perhaps the reason you believe your super is because you were pursued for the first time in your life. Yes, he was a sanitation engineer with a weird salsa obsession, but it was a step in the right direction. He actively sought your attention through flowers, chocolates, and mix tapes (how retro). You were courted, and though it seems incredibly hard to believe, someday a guy with a college degree might engage in a similar behavior.
But most significantly, you started therapy. You accepted that maybe possibly you couldn’t handle everything on your own, and you began to share your cognitive and emotional experiences with a well paid healthcare professional. You, despite becoming a walking talking Woody Allen stereotype, learned to ask for help; to embrace little Ms. Independent, but to acknowledge little Ms. Dependent as well.
Which is to say, though I’m often your biggest critic, I’m actually proud of the steps you’ve taken this year. It’s not usually rainbows and butterflies, but you’ve embraced black and made it your own.
Your Former Self