Letter to my near-future self:
You are not as far as I believe you to be. Sometimes it feels as if one day I’ll go to sleep, and you’ll wake in my place. This older, bolder, better version of myself. But I know that isn’t how this works. Every day, every minute of me as I currently am is creeping towards the existence of you. A thought here, a conversation there. The little things that are propelling me forward, making me more. The day I become you, it won’t be a leap. There will be no great chasm to overcome, no drop to tumble down. I think that you’re waiting at the next floor of a staircase I’ve been climbing since the beginning. You are neither the end of my road nor an entirely new path. But you’re a stop on the way that I can’t ignore, that I need to see. That I need to be. You will take up the climb in my place and I, for one, am looking forward to meeting you.
It worries me that I might be responsible for you. Well, of course I am. You’re who comes next, and ‘next’ depends on ‘now’. But the way you turn out isn’t entirely dependent on me. We are but the product of our experiences. There is so much we can fit in the gap between you and I. There is time. Perhaps if I stop worrying so much about producing you, I could focus more on enjoying my life as it is right now.
The pressure I place on you is misguided. There’s an urge to be more, to exist better than the boundaries of my present self dictate. Be smarter, be kinder, be stronger. All excellent characteristics to embody, but not when the only part of them I feel is their distinct lack. If I continue to tell myself that all those qualities are yours to pick up, I’ll never be anything today. I keep postponing my self-improvement, leaving behind a gaping wake of self-doubt. Never satisfied with the way I am now; why should I be? Why should I ever be content with who I am when I could be you?
The answer, then, is this. There is no distinction between me and you. There can’t be, not if I want to take the reins of my life and finally veer myself in a direction I love. I must eliminate the boundary between my present and future self to realise that what I am capable of becoming is a continual process, happening every second of every day. I can’t leave everything to you because I am you. To consider my future self as someone distantly unattainable, someone whose problems are not my own and someone who can solve them better than I ever could is a fallacy. I need to realise that everything I see in you, I already am.
So maybe I was wrong, earlier. You won’t be climbing the staircase in my place. It’s not that I get left behind as you move forward, seeing higher floors and brighter windows. I will be walking with you, trailing behind but ever-present. Truly, I should have realised before. Especially since I’ve been walking with all the others before me, too.
See you later,