Today, this alarm came up on my phone.
Exactly one year ago, I decided to write a letter from my 21-year-old self to my future 22-year-old self. I had completely forgotten about it until my alarm popped up and I couldn’t remember anything I had written. It’s one thing to be told something by a friend or family member, but a completely different thing when it’s you speaking to yourself. I took a deep breath, opened the word document and started reading. This is how it began.
I hope this letter finds you well and happy and healthy. I write this on the Pier 1 table in the apartment while trying to summon the strength to finish homework for classes tomorrow morning. While trying to do that, I realized I should document where I am in my life currently since I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.
The rest of the post goes on to explain where I was at that exact moment in my life. My job, school, my stress, and how unhappy I was with a lot of things in general. The next few paragraphs all start with “I hope.” It was almost like 21-year-old Sarah knew she needed to get out of her current situation but didn’t quite know how to. But in a years time, she was hoping and wishing and praying that 22-year-old Sarah had figured it out.
21-year-old Sarah hoped that 22-year-old Sarah had gone on a lot of road trips in the past year. And found a new job that made her happy. And sorted out problems with a few certain someones. And finally got the balls to get the tattoo. And this final one…
Know you are loved and appreciated exactly for who you are. There are a few good people you have managed to snag over the years who genuinely care about you, I hope you’ve kept them around. They may be scattered throughout different places by now, but I hope they are still around.
It’s at this point in the letter that I have fully succumbed to tears. Because even one year ago, 21-year-old Sarah knew how important the people in my life were going to be. Not only in the task of getting me through the end of college, but in helping me get back to the Sarah I wanted and knew I could be.
21-year-old Sarah ends the letter by saying…
I hope you love yourself and are happy with where you are right now. I hope you have a better idea of what we want by now. If not, open a bottle of wine that I know you have sitting on the counter and down at least 2 glasses. Then go straight for the rest of the bottle.
I do have the bottle of wine as she knew I would, but I don’t feel the need to open it. I do have a better grasp on what I want. I still don’t know exactly what it is, but I know that I’m getting closer.
As different as the two of us are from each other, 21-year-old Sarah had a lot of very wise words to share. She was very optimistic for the future, as she should have been. As for the list of hopes she left me, I’ve accomplished all of them – minus the tattoo which 21-year-old Sarah told me to get within two weeks if it still hadn’t gotten done yet. So I’m now toying with that idea. Because 21-year-old me was pretty dead on with everything else so I think I might owe her that much.
I’m going to write my 23-year-old self a letter tonight. Full of hopes and wishes for her to reach for in the next 365 days. Maybe she’ll be a completely different person. Maybe she’ll be on a completely different life path and in a different headspace. Maybe she’ll need a giant pick me up and the letter will be that guiding light she needs. I think it’s good to check in with yourself every so often, if nothing else but to put a little perspective on your life. I’ve come a long way in the past 12 months and I’m hoping I can say the same for 23-year-old Sarah when her phone alarm goes off next September.
And like 21-year-old Sarah said in her very last two lines of her letter…
Everything’s going to be okay. It always is.