In the midst of spring cleaning my home, I found some cards and letters from old friends and admirers. It hit me with a wave of nostalgia to read these letters from the past. I had kept them because I felt compelled to remember positive moments from my past, but ironically I’m not the person I was back when I received these letters. Some of these letters now spur contempt; other letters evoke nothing but confusion, “Who wrote this again? Why didn’t they sign their name?” I have changed much in the past few years and I know that I will continue to change. As aptly pointed out by some Greek philosopher of the past:
Change is the only constant in life.
In general, cards and letters are a great way for individuals to share their feelings from afar. The precursor for today’s Canadian postal system was established in 1763. This postal service operated only in what is today Quebec, delivering mail between Quebec City and Montreal. In the 18th century, snail mail was the only way for people to communicate with loved ones and friends who lived away from them. With the invention of the phone, internet, email, and texting, we now have access to plenty of means of communicating with others around the world. I’m grateful for these inventions because they’ve made it easier to connect with families that no longer live within walking distances. They also put my mind at ease for my impending move abroad. I’d hate it if I wasn’t able to receive calls from my mom at a moment’s notice!
Reading all those letters which stretched as far back as 2006 made me think about what I would say if I wrote a letter to my future self. So, here it is:
Dear Future Self of 2020,
Right now, I’m at a point in my life where I’m about to quite a comfortable, work-from-home job in order to pursue the crazy idea of working in Vietnam for (potentially) two years. I’ve never taught in a classroom full-time, so I hope you’ve gotten that all figured out by now.
Until then I’m pretty nervous about the idea and I periodically wonder if it’s the right choice. In other ways I feel like this is going to be a great choice for me professionally and personally, because uncertainty is something that I have yet to get used to. In all my years of schooling I always had a general idea of where I would go next and what I needed to do to get there. Not anymore.
I’ve learned that life’s a teeter totter of expectations and realitistic outcomes. I hope that you continue to feel that it’s okay to make changes and take risks. I hope that you remember where you came from and how much work you’ve actually put in to get to where you are. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed between 2018 Julie and past Julie’s, it’s that I often become overburdened by my own expectations and goals. I forget to acknowledge myself in both my failures and my successes. Nothing will ever be perfect and that includes myself. That’s okay!
I’ll take a moment to be hypocritical and now tell you about my hopes for Future Julie. I hope that Future Julie is a lot more self-confident and that experience turns into great intuition and epic “winging it” skills. I hope that you are still happy in both your personal and romantic endeavours and that you might be settled down with someone you connect well with and hold dear. Did you get a cat? You should totally adopt a cat. Hopefully the housing market around the GTA has cooled off by the time you’ve returned from Vietnam. Heck, there’s a chance you might not return from Vietnam or you might settle in BC. Wherever you end up, I hope you’re comfortable and enjoying yourself.
Don’t forget those random investments you’ve made in 2018. They may or may not have worked in your favour. Remember to reconnect with your friends and family if you’re out of touch, and I really hope you’re not spending as much time on Facebook anymore. I tried quitting and it only somewhat worked. I pray you’ve had more success, it’s such a time waster.
Future Julie, stay happy and stay kind. The world sucks sometimes and can send you a lot of nasty surprises. Grin and bear it and show yourself as the person you want to be.
Present Self of 2018