Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Letter To Future Me

So these last few weeks at college have kept me terribly busy, sometimes rather lonely, other times in extremely odd company, forced me to experience walking about in the terrifying dead of night after very hipster poetry readings, and made me go to the libraries and witness the wild LARPers of FSU more times than I imagined possible. It's been interesting. I discovered I can read Mansfield Park in less than two days and then defend it wholeheartedly because, idk, I guess I'll never hate an Austen novel even if I try. And I've discovered that being the only freshman in the Essays and Article class means my prose is awkward, ugly, and lifeless in comparison to my peers. Not that I think they're all David Foster Wallace reincarnate--in fact, sometimes some of the political commentary they did in the first assignment was...unnecessarily silly--but they're a thousand times better than I am anddddd that makes me feel like shit.

^Yeah, I know, I sound petty. But it's my blog and I'm allowed to.

Anyways, I'm running out of time to finish up an essay and then figure out how to print it at the library, so I'll wrap this up quickly. This here was an assignment given by said Essays and Article class (as a creative writing major, I hadt o pick between two out of three of these: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. When I was faced with the choice, I had to awkwardly remind myself which one I suck at and go fuck poetry.)

I've written letters to Future-Me before (first one being to 23 year old me from 13 year old me after I saw an episode of Cowboy Beebop that gave me the idea) so this is nothing new. I have, however, never written to a future-me that's older than the age of 40, so that was a bit of a twist. The assignment was just about using different types of forms. Because I have no imagination, I picked letter writing. I decided the content would have to make up for the lack of exploration in the actual form.

I hope it works. I'll give a better update when I'm not drowning in other stuff :P

Dear 47-Year-Old Me:
The plan, originally, was to write a letter to 27-year-old me. I wanted to point out in said hypothetical letter how different yet how similar it is to be 17 and to be 27. I wanted to talk about how similar words are used to describe the two stages of life, such as young, rather free, curious, little bit adventurous, naïve but not a child completely lost in life, etc.  I wanted to congratulate myself for having already figured out what I wanted to be at 17, a fact that would have hopefully made life at 27 a little easier.
            Being 27 scares me because ten years is a future too far away from now and yet not far enough. A lot can happen in ten years. I can only sort of imagine being out of college, on my own, pushing slowly to the age of maturity. It’s a blurry future, but I can picture it nonetheless. Maybe I graduated at nineteen, or maybe I decided to stay for all four years. Maybe I drifted into film school, throwing myself into unnecessary debt, or maybe I went down a different path. Maybe I moved to Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or New York, or maybe I just ran back to the safety of Miami. Maybe I finally published something, maybe I somehow got a literary agent.
            It’s all possibilities and speculations. And still I’ve decided not to write that letter.
Do you know what I can’t picture? Twenty years from now. Do you know what’s absolutely, terrifyingly impossible to see? Thirty years from now. I won’t even bother adding in more decades because it’s all the same from there. I can’t see it. I try to imagine far past post-college life as I’m moving up in the world, and my mind draws a blank.
All these questions are running through my head and I’m wishing I could ask them while also being embarrassingly thankful that you can’t pull me out of my blissful ignorance. You should know that despite having a rather optimistic view of life in your twenties as a 17 year old, you have a really pessimistic view of your middle-age life. While it’s impossible to really imagine what life is like in my forties, I’m going to guess it’s terrible. I’m broke, without a family (or a family that’s falling apart if you decided to get married), and the critics and the public hate my novels.
Does that sound terrible? Can you laugh now at the worries your teenage self barely considered one rainy night in her freshman year in college, or are you cursing at me for not choosing a more comfortable, financially stable path when I/you had the chance?
The only question I wish you could answer is: who am I at the age of 47? Did I stop being such a liberal, hippie, feminist? Did I make an impact in the mainstream media like I always wished I could do? Am I happy? More importantly, does one dream of the future at 47? I feel like the answer should be obvious. I feel like at 47 there’s no point in imagining life at 57 because by then, not a lot can change in those ten years. Not in the way time changes between 17 and 27. But I don’t know that. I don’t know a lot of things. I hope at least that much has changed for you.
I don’t know how the choices I make now have influenced your present. I don’t know if you are proud of where I took us, or if you wish you’d had a time machine to strangle me right about now. I do know that I won’t alter my course dramatically because I only ever want one thing, and that’s to be as happy as possible in whatever imminent future I have. I’m sorry if that means I have caused you great pain in these years. But maybe it’s not such a bad mentality to have. Maybe even now (your “now”, not my “now”), you can still find it in yourself to have the energy and will to chase for the dreams and happiness you wanted as an adolescent girl.
That’s all I really want to tell you while I’m in this cheesy, cliché little stage of my life.
Sincerely, from the past,

Becky

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.