The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to my future self a few years ago:
Hey future Curtis. Yes, I’m talking to you again, thinking that one day you might surprise me. Although you are months or possibly years older than me, there is barely a difference between the two of us. What has changed? You still think the same. Do you feel that much older? I’m reaching out to you. Please help me find my way, as you have likely come closer than myself.
This world is an interesting one. You probably know more about it than me, yet you still think the same. I send my present state of mind to you, and I know you’re always good at deciphering it. I know you’re lost. I know you’re probably doing something stupid, or something that you tell yourself is worthy of pursuing. When will you learn? When will you overcome these stupid obstacles you have put up for yourself? But pardon me, I am younger and more inexperienced than you. Who am I to tell you what to do? Oh wait, I am you.
Please remember this feeling. This inexpressible feeling. I am better than this. I have no idea what I am doing and why I am in this ridiculous predicament, and it has helped me see the light. I don’t quite have the resources and knowledge to act on this feeling quite yet, but I know you do, even if you don’t see it.
Please open your eyes. Look around you, Curtis. What are you doing there? In the unusual case that you are where you want to be, I applaud you. If not, go make a difference with your abilities and your mind. Stop living in the past. Stop extrapolating foresight from hindsight. Explore new avenues. Please, for the love of God, make travel a primary part of your life. Get away. I don’t know if you will ever find a specific thing you love to do, but until then, “getting away” is really your “going home.” This world is a puzzle that your rational mind won’t ever be able to put together. Stop trying. Accept it for all its mystery and intrigue, and don’t ever let it hold you back. The only thing I do know about you, regardless of when you are reading this, is that you want to be as free as a bird. You have control over more than you think in this world of randomness and disorder, so go do it.
Please listen to me. This is a clarity I have not experienced in quite some time. You know what that’s like. Remember those sleepless school nights staring at the ceiling with so much hope and confidence? The feeling would usually subside by the time school started the next day, and a melancholy acceptance would take over. Then it would creep back, and it would stay for longer. Still, it never really lingered much into the day; it was more of a nighttime feeling. Curtis, for once, don’t look at that feeling, the one in which I am feeling right now, as silly and naïve and immature like I know you will. “You’re just tired, not thinking clearly, and dramatic,” is what you will say. I’m tired of that. In order to be a better person, you need to accept this feeling for what it is. Don’t be afraid to show it in the light. Let yourself go in the day, every day. Let this feeling encroach upon all of your sterile thoughts. Let it consume you. This is who you want to be, but you keep suppressing it. What good is that doing? Where is that getting you? I am not a psychologist, but I do know better than anyone else why you might have started doing that. However, you have the ability to break free and pursue something meant specifically for you.
I’m pretty sure I will feel similar to this on my death bed. A moment of stunning clarity where I see exactly what I missed out on and how much I would like to do. Only then, I won’t be able to do anything about it. Then, I will be talking to my past self, like the one right now, and I will see how much hope and promise I had yet how little I did about it. It is up to these lucid Curtises to navigate in a positive direction. Please recognize this and don’t get complacent. Please take action, and not just any action. Take this feeling and combine it with the knowledge you have acquired prior to reading this letter.
Don’t keep taking the past for granted. Make your own past by living in your own present, and decide your own future.
Make the day your night. Don’t judge others or yourself for living in the moment. Eat a good breakfast, pack plenty of clothes, and say the necessary goodbyes; the present you is not ever coming back. Your past selves are waiting for you to write back once you finally walk out of the door.