December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
I know we always wonder about time paradoxes and over-analyze silly things like physics and mathematics and parallel universes - but I don’t have time, in this short letter, to explain how we, five years in the future, have figured all this out. And by we, I mean people in general, as I’m still falling through this rabbit hole called art.
Which is a fun thing to tumble through, once you get past the initial disorientation and fear of falling. There comes a time — and for you, it’s not that far off — when you become more comfortable with your spiral downward (or up, as the physics of such metaphors are malleable).
You’ll see it as a wild adventure, with the world at your fingertips. Like magic, doorways open up off the main tunnel and unseen hands pull you in. Your travel moves sideways or even at a decline, speed picking up, wind rushing through your hair (and it does grow as long and as beautifully as you now wish for it). This is the land of Alice, where up is down, the absurd is reality, and dreams fuel more than just a night’s slumber. And, being you, I know how you’re feeling right now — you’re at the edge of the cliff, your wings uncurling behind you, but you’re still afraid, still wondering if this is all too good to be true. If all the excitement you have built up, all the wild expectations and daydreams, are never going to materialize.
I also know you don’t believe all this positive thinking stuff. You do, to a point - you have changed your way of thinking, have worked through fear, and this isn’t the first cliff you’re standing at the edge of. But you don’t speak affirmations out loud (they only repeat in your head, mantras to reassure you when times are tough or your anxiety flares up) and have never taken any of those online classes that promise to change your dreams into reality.
This comes from the belief that all you need is already inside of you.
And it is.
Things are going to get better. You’ll feel more confident in your own skin, will live life on your terms. You’ll get that insurance and find an amazing, caring doctor who takes wonderful care of you. You’ll get all you need but still have those periods where you want more simply because you can now life comfortably, financially.
But you’ll be busy. Very busy. I am warning you now — those late nights you love to play on the internet and write and read are going to turn into working nights, your mind ablaze with ideas and projects and new things to do. Even more so than now! Your calendar will be full and the phone will be ringing off the hook.
So before all this happens, I’m going to remind you to take it easy. Stop worrying so much. Do a little bit every day. Work from the heart, not the pocketbook (which you’ll be tempted to do — trust me!). And soon, it all falls magically, wonderfully in place.
And yes, we have jetpacks. At least I do.
Dear Younger Me,
I have a few things to suggest to you, since we’re working on the premise that I’m sending this back to the past without having received it back then. Which is an odd loop, I know. But roll with it, okay? You’re seventeen years old — there are a ton of things you’re just going with.
And no, I won’t tell Mom.
In about a year or so, you’re going to get a fantastic job at Baxter Healthcare. Cherish it. I won’t spoil the ending, but it does end. Network like crazy. And you know how you spend all that money on manga? Yeah — cool it. You’ll end up never reading half of them, and in ten years, your collection of 300+ will drop to about 25. Save the money! You’re making a ton, going to school, and you really need a savings account.
In my future, you date A off-and-on until your sophomore year of college, when you realize he can be a jerk in more ways than one. So while you’re young and playing DDR every weekend, take some time to just talk to him. It took years for me to finally say he made me feel special whenever he paid attention to me, and then it was done. Over. You’ll end up stuck in this spot where you know you can never be with him, but still love him. And, oh, yes, darling, you do.
You’re going to get screwed over by some people in about 2 years or so. Watch your back and when your instincts say someone’s lying, they probably are.
But I don’t have much more to say. If I change the past too much, I may not end up where I am now, and I’m pretty happy with how things are progressing. Sure, I’m scared of the bold choices I’ve made, but when I sleep at night, it’s with a smile on my face.
Just try to take better care of your health. Pay attention to what you eat. And start bike riding. You love it.
Love, your big sister you
I started crying about halfway through that second letter; love is a hard thing to deal with, especially when the realization comes from left field and you're standing there with this lump you don't know what to do with. I only wish I had been braver in my relationships up till now, and yet, I wouldn't change a thing.
Funny how that works out.
I'm also having so much fun drawing the little illustrations! I want to draw more, and look forward to my little character's next adventure. If I let that fear that my drawings aren't good enough, or are silly, take over, think of all the joy I'd be missing. Just a reminder for those of you still scared of doing something less-than-perfect.