A Letter to My Future Self.

In the summer of 2010 I took what my school calls a “capstone course” called Effecting Change. This is a 6-credit course that could be compared to a senior project or a mini field placement. I chose this particular capstone as it allowed me to continue (and count!) volunteer activities that I was currently engaged in. Aside from traditional schoolwork (reading, discussion, presentations) the class designed and executed a service project. As the end of the course we were given 20-30 minutes in class to write a letter to our future selves. On the back we wrote the month it was to be mailed to us.

letter from the past to the future envelope opened february 2012 school projectI chose February 2012.

I chose this month because it was about as far into the future as I could see. That summer I was in my second trimester with M&M (then a question mark). I knew what the upcoming academic year looked like, even as I was unsure what life with two kiddos would exactly entail. I knew some of what the next year (this current one) would hold–classes, a field placement, lots of juggling…and applications. That may have been my biggest motivation, to give myself a push as I attempted to discern myself from the masses.

Little did I know all my applications would be due in early January.

a letter to myself sent years letter writing wisdom advice stationary school projectThe letter came last Friday. As in, a week-and-a-half ago Friday. It sat on the counter until yesterday when, in a weekend-long fit of overdue housecleaning and clutter corralling, I opened it.

I was surprised by my hesitancy. The whole idea suddenly felt trite. Like, what could I, then, possibly have to offer myself, now?

I had no idea that we’d by chin-deep in a start-up or that I’d be driven to the doorstep of crazy by a clingy not-quite toddler.

But I opened the letter. And it was good.

It was wise. It was humble. It was hopeful. It rang true. And I’ve decided to share it–unedited. Even as there are certain elements with which I continue to struggle, or hopes that have yet to be attained. Truth is truth. And there’s beauty in the struggle.

Dear “Future Me”~

What do you say to someone you don’t know, someone who has yet to exist? I could offer advice or insight, but if twenty-five years have taught me anything it’s that time is the best healer and teacher of all. What’s moving me now will likely have catapulted “you” to an entirely new realm…then?

From where I stand (6 months pregnant, married with a 3-year-old, burnt out on school while still loving it with a couple to a few years yet to go, just beginning to understand what I may have to offer and just getting a grasp on all I have yet to learn), from here life is a question mark that I’m in no hurry to answer. I’ve perhaps come to believe that allowing life to meander along unanswered is for the best. Control is a mirage (but I find myself walking through the desert anyway).

I hope I still value finding the balance in life. I hope there’s still time to exercise, and time to relax, and time for nothing in particular. I hope looks matter less and clothes are a second thought and cleaning is not first priority. I hope there is $$ for some help!! I hope the sacrifices made, the ones skipped and the options weighed and choices made have panned out. If not for the best then at least for the better. And if not for that then I hope we followed our hearts, checked in with our heads, and handle any struggle and strife as best we can with our eye on tomorrow and the possibility of improvements still today.

In the future I want to judge less. I want to smile more and converse more easily. I want to nurture close friendships and make time for fellowship. I want to embrace togetherness and continue to honor my need for quietness. I want to be a fabulous mom and an attentive wife. I want also to be a woman, a worker, a learner, a pusher, a watcher, a listener, an effector. I want to be it all, do it all, but I want to do it sanely–and in style. I want to extend grace to myself when I fail and hope those sentiments are mirrored back at me by the ones I’ve placed in my life. I want to feel whole. I want to consider myself competent. I want to cook more. I want to connect deeper. I want to relish and I want to enjoy the gift, grumble, gamble, and gamut life can, is, and will always be.

Wow. What a great reminder to check where I am…and where I’m going. And the timing is perfect, as a handful of choose-your-future type decisions recently landed on my plate. (I do plan to elaborate on those soon)

You likely don’t know this, but I’ve been told how insightful I am for the majority of my life. It’s not that I didn’t see it before, but I see it now. I’d venture that I’m much more likely to apply said insight outside of my own life.

Mostly it feels like I got a really great letter from a friend. A friend urging me to keep or keepin’ on. A friend reminding me why I’m on this path in the first place. A friend who gets me. What a great life experience. And the difference here was eighteen months (to the day, kinda freaky!). I can only imagine if it was years…or decades.

I’ve made no secret about the question-mark nature of 2012. It’s not easy to trust the process, but a wee bit of wisdom such as this has helped for the time being.

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