Past, Present, Future

A few years ago my grandmother gave me a book called What I Know Now; Letters to My Younger Self.

41 Women – from Maya Angelou and Ann Curry to Olympic Skier Picabo Street and the Queen of Jordan – took a moment to look back at the challenging and life changing times of their youth and write that young person a letter from the future.

Some of the letters are “Don’t worry, it is all going to be okay,” moments.
Others are “Enjoy these wonderful years,” advice. All of them are heartfelt and caring letters of love to a young person that will always hold a place in the deep recesses of the heart. They come with the wisdom of hindsight and steadiness of knowing that the world is working for the good of those young ladies, even if they don’t know it yet and can’t receive the letter in the mail.

When I take a moment to look back at my formative years and think of writing myself a sweet note there is a mix of “Don’t worry, it will all be okay,” and a little, “Don’t be so mean, even though you are hurting.” It seems so healing and freeing to tell your worried, frazzled, insecure self that they can step forward in confidence because their lives will be beautiful.


Last night I read these words from the ending of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert:

They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well – the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity.

My mind shifts from wanting to talk to the young, shy girl so unsure of life’s direction to wanting to hear from the woman that I will eventually become. After reading this I sat quietly, hoping for a little whisper, something greater than “It will all be okay,” so I would know it was real.

I fell fast asleep before I could hear, but that, in itself is a bit of a message and full of peace.

There are bits of me – Love, Generosity, Hope – that seem to want so badly to exist that they are calling forth from the future. As I wake up this morning, I find myself wanting to make space to listen and let them grow. Instead of running around stressed and carrying the weight of all things on my shoulders, deciding to open my eyes to the possibilities of the future and make sure I am giving it a safe space to take root and mature.

What would you tell your younger self in a definitive time of life? What would you hope to hear today from the future, if the future you could whisper in your ear or send you a note, or, as in the new mini-web series Dating Rules From My Future Self, send you a text message.

140 characters or less @future(insert your name here) says…


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