A Letter to My Future Self

During my sophomore year of high school, we were instructed to write letters to our future selves that we would receive at the end of our junior year. It would be a way for us to track our growth and the capacity of a year’s change while preserving bits of our current memories and musings in the future. The letter was one that meant a lot to me at the time I had written it but I had simply forgotten about it due to the hectic chaos of junior year. I finally received the letter two weeks ago and this is what I had written.


Dear 16-year-old Rawan,
This is 15-year-old you reporting from the past. I’m currently writing while surrounded by papers and assignments that I’ve either not started or completely given up on halfway through as I decided to avoid them by writing this letter. (Hopefully a year later, you’ve gotten better at this.) Anyways, how are you doing right now? Are you happy with what you’re doing and where you’re going right now? Or are you still “figuring it out” as you’ve been telling every adult since middle school? This year has definitely been a strange one. I don’t think it quite fits the label of a “good year” or a “bad year”-- it just is. I’ve had to face numerous uncomfortable and daunting situations but it only caused my courage to grow. I’ve lost some friends but it only caused me to grow closer to others. I think what I fear the most about high school friendships is how temporary they all are. How they’re all tied together with a fragile string of overlapping classes and gossip to chat about. Are you even friends with the same people you’re friends with currently, or did you just drift apart for no reason? This year was a year of many firsts and achievements. You became an official writer for Lithium and went parasailing for the first time. Just last week, you finalized your plans to go to Chicago this summer, a city that had strangely captivated you for the longest time.

Within the span of one year, you’ve managed to grow so much. You’ve started to question many of the things that you once used to agree with out of convenience, fearful of raised eyebrows and criticizing stares. You’ve begun opening yourself up to new perspectives, stepping outside of the ignorant simplicity of viewing things through a black and white lens and instead indulging in the vast spectrum of the shades in between. But no matter how much knowledge you gain, never be as misguided as to think that you are done learning. You are still ever-changing, perpetually growing and being molded by new ideas and experiences. Each intricate musing and thought that you hold is a galaxy within your mind. What new ideas and thoughts have you expanded upon this year? Have your galaxies become the universe-- far too large to contain?

Sometimes, I feel like life is moving on without me. I think that's why I'm so scared to be a junior. I’ve always been one to say how much I love impulsive late night adventures and the thrill of having no destination, but deep down, all I crave is the stability and order of having things stay comfortable and predictable. And it’s this endless tug of war between thrilling spontaneity and comfortable consistency that I feel will always haunt me.  So… am I ready for junior year? Not even close. But a year later, you clearly have been strong enough to get through it. You’ve made it through the worst of it and I’m positive you’ll only continue to be able to get through more.

I feel as though I should finish this letter with a few words of optimistic yet realistic advice:

  1. Understand the difference between dwelling and reflecting. It’s one thing to reflect and learn from your mistakes, but you can’t live your whole life in regret. Learn to leave the past in the past and just keep moving forward.
  2. There’s no glory in apathy. I know you think that being apathetic will bring you one step closer to becoming some dreamy, nonchalant heroine, but the reality is that apathy will only make your life duller. Life is too short to pretend that you’re not about feelings or that you “don’t care that much.” Allow yourself to feel, and unapologetically so. Get excited about life. Write that sappy text. Be passionate. Take pride in the things and people you love.
  3. Stop accepting laziness as a permanent part of your personality and instead, learn to view it as a bad habit. Never settle for a subpar version of yourself.
  4. Reconnect with old friends and family, but also learn to maintain contact with your current ones. Of course, as you get older, you’ll only continue to get busier and busier, but don’t let that make you lose sight of the people who matter the most in your life.
  5. Go out and live. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy and a year later you’re probably reading this while rolling your eyes, but there’s seriously so much more to the world than your sleepy little town. Meet new people, try new foods, pick up a new language, and get that ridiculous haircut that you’ve always wanted but never thought you could pull off. And hell, if it all goes wrong, at least you’ll always have a good story to tell.  

Rawan, you’re going to do amazing things in your lifetime. You may not be sure of it now, but you still have a whole future ahead of you. You’ve got a head full of bright ideas and a heart full of kindness. And those two forces are more powerful than any bomb or gun ever created.


15-year-old Rawan

1 comment

  1. This is so beautiful and I'm sure a lot of people including myself will be using this advice