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A Letter to my Past and Future selves

Last updated April 7, 2022

Have you been writing those letters to yourself? “Dear Evan Hansen, This is gonna be a good day and here’s why.”

This post comes to you in 3 parts: a letter to my past self, a reflection on goals, and a letter to my future self.

One reminiscent and nostalgic, one a neutral review, and the last a brutally honest dump of aspirations and feelings.

To my 2021 self,

Little do you know you’ll start off the year making a charcuterie board of tofu, snowshoe trips with friends, and making a masking tape Christmas tree that still stands to this day.

Maybe not the most usual start to a year but fitting considering the year that is ahead of you.

You tried lots of new things! Some you liked and some you didn’t. It was full of meeting lots of really wonderful new people, writing lots, reading lots, getting incredibly digital-garden-pilled, and (admittedly) being on Twitter a bit too much.

You learned how to drive, maybe a few years later than usual, but hey you got it done. Not many people may trust your driving skills from New York but that’s reasonable given the only thing between you and a license was a 7-minute long stroll down the road. In learning to drive, you spent some extended time with the family for the first time in a while and all of the pains and joys that brings.

And maybe the most surprising of them all, you decided to say ‘fuck it’ and decided to move to a co-living house with 15 other people in New York for the summer. Let’s just say you learned the importance of personal time pretty quickly. Yet, amidst the hustle-and-bustle of the millions in New York, you were able to find solace in the books, the parks, and the few close friends made. There is a really nice bench near the Guggenheim under a blooming Crabapple tree that sags just the right amount to be extra comfortable. I suggest bringing some nice bread and a book to spend a few afternoons here and really just bask in its serenity.

Luckily, COVID calmed down enough in the second half of 2021 to be able to see old classmates again in-person for the first time. Being able to laugh at dumb jokes in the same room or just working in amiable silence may feel quite distant but I assure you it will happen and it will be just as good as you remembered it being.

You had cozy picnic dates, 20-person AirBnB rentals on Victoria Island, and a crazy hackathon all the way down in Austin, Texas. You and Anson finally celebrated your first anniversary together and, lo and behold, got each other the exact same thing. Disgustingly cheesy, you two.

To summarize, this was a year of understanding yourself and opening up to the world. You learned that, maybe, it wasn’t so bad to be vulnerable and to express yourself in full to the people around you. You learned the joys of meeting wonderfully passionate people who talk about their craft with stars in their eyes and the deep gratitude of getting to more fully know the people you choose to surround yourself with.

The biggest part of this year were the friends and loved ones that stuck with me through the best and worst of it.

“Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often.” – Maria Popova

I hope you cherish these people and make sure they know just how much they are appreciated, and excited for you to live this year like I did.

Kindly, Your present self

I set a few goals at the end of my last end-of-year reflection.

To my future self,

I am writing to you with the highs of new years optimism wearing off. ‘Tis the time of new years resolutions!

Maybe it’s the residual headache from the booster shot speaking or maybe its just me being a little tired but I hope you are doing well. More than anything I hope you are taking good care of yourself.

I’ve never really written a letter to my self before, let alone one to my future self. I’m not quite sure what the tone of this piece is and quite certain that you will look back on this and laugh a little and just how bad it is.

To be honest, I know I’ve been saying that I’m working on being candidly excited about everything but I’m a little scared about the future.

I care a lot about the people around me right now. These are an absolutely wonderful group of people who care about the world, endlessly curious, and inspire me to be better people. Yet it seems that everyone is headed in slightly different directions. I don’t want to lose these people to a few measly miles and timezones. I really hope that, despite life choosing to move us in different paths physically, we’ll be able to consciously choose to band together and stay close.

I know it would be unreasonable to set super concrete goals given the whole waves hand. So I leave you not with a list of goals that I hope you will have accomplished, but a list of qualities I hope you’ll have grown into.

My long term BentoMy long term Bento

I recently found out about the philosophy of Bentoism, a way of planning with a wider view of interests than just what we want right now, like our future selves, the people we care about, and the future of our children.

I really like this way of thinking about self-interest as not just our current selves but as a community that spans across time. I’ve been thinking a lot about about what long-term success for me would look like. I don’t think I’ve settled on anything concrete but there are certain aesthetics I would like it to embody:

To concretize, I hope you end each day saying you’ve embodied these:

I hope you are honest with yourself. Be kind.

Kindly, Your present self

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