A Letter to Me

To the Future Me:

You had better be happy! Whatever it is you are doing, make sure you are happy and you have no regrets. Make sure you are following your heart and your spirit.

  • Act. Perform. Entertain.
  • Travel. Learn. Experience.
  • Teach. Care. Support.
  • Love. Respect. Admire.
  • Read. Write. Explore.

And be passionate, wild, and wonderful.

Now get your act together if you haven’t already!

– Stef, age 17, written 26/09/2002 9:15pm

I went home for Christmas and New Year after a whirlwind two weeks in India (which will be the subject of many future posts) and an emotional 24 hours in Singapore (during which I gave notice to my flatmates that I’ll be finding another place when I return from my holidays – another story – and spent the period crying over the end of a journey, the beginning of a journey, and several journeys that are not yet complete).

The last few months of 2012 were ridden with anxiety, stress, emotions, and – above all – a general feeling of what the hell am I doing here? By “here” I mean a lot of things – here in this country, here in this job, here in this life, here in this world and universe and all of the above. My mother often sighs and apologises that I have been cursed with the constant need to seek answers to life and the universe – unfortunately, 42 just isn’t enough for me. Sometimes I laugh and tell her it’s a blessing. Most times I just agree with silence.

My writing has suffered because I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of failure and defeat, a feeling that there is nothing left to do or say or feel.

But then I received a letter from myself. A letter that reminds me how much I have done, how much I have said, how much I have felt.

Last year my high school’s ten year reunion took place and the time capsules we made when we were in our final year were distributed. My friend collected mine on my behalf and it was waiting for me when I returned for the holidays. It contained a letter I had written to myself, which I’ve written at the beginning of this post.

2012 was an interesting year. A lot of people seem pleased to be moving forward and away from it, and I must say that I am one of them. I did some incredible things in 2012, but I also experienced a lot of negative things. This blog isn’t about woe-is-me emotional downloads, but it is about writing – and writing is feeling, living, learning, loving, laughing … and sobbing, yelling, hurting, yearning. I am looking to 2013 with an optimism reminiscent of seventeen-year-old-me, the me who was determined to make the world her oyster, to be passionate and bold and carefree.

I think seventeen-year-old-me would be happy to learn that I’ve achieved a lot of what she wanted, and while there are a list of “what ifs” and numerous moments of “oops”, there aren’t any regrets. And that’s a pretty good record to bring into the new year.

Notebooks in Udaipur, IndiaPhoto by Stef Thompson

Notebooks in Udaipur, India
Photo by Stef Thompson

16 comments on “A Letter to Me

  1. Pingback: Measuring Success | dodging commas

  2. Pingback: A Letter from the Future « dodging commas

  3. ‘You had better be happy!’ That’s a level-headed but pretty demanding 17-year-old, hahaha. But what a great thing to realize that you’ve done a lot of what you sought out to do. Who says you’re not ‘organized’? πŸ™‚

    Especially now with one of those gorgeous notebooks in hand…

  4. Used to think about it but never actually did something like this (writing to the future). Glad it’s turned out fairly well for you and I have to say that while nothing is guaranteed in life, as you point out, there are a lot of what-ifs and oops and all kinds of things that change the courses we’re on. So long as you’re happy with where you are now for the most part and have people you care around you – that’s a good life.
    Happy new solar revolution and all the best for the year (and decade) ahead.

  5. A lot of people who write a letter to themselves when they were 17 would struggle to have achieved so many of their goals. You’re an inspiration to those of us who had hopes for the travelling and working away, but didn’t quite manage it.

    I hope 2013 brings you joy and Happy Writing!

  6. Your 17 year old self would be very proud of the woman you have become by honouring the advice in the letter of 2002. The rich and multi-dimensional, complex and contrary beautiful person you are would not be possible if you only had “happiness” – and I shall spare you the cliches and metaphors! You have honoured your spirit – your creative, explorer spirit will always be searching… and sharing that wisdom with those of us who love you and support you regardless of the path you choose.
    Go get ’em in 2013 my love xx

    • Aw, Mum! I got teary writing the post and tearier still when I read your comment. You’re an awesome spirit guide, and I’m so glad I picked you for my Mum. X

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