This feels weird.
You’ll be wondering why the letter is addressed to ‘me’ instead of to you by name. I know you hastened to read the signature at the bottom before you began reading the letter. I know that the ‘ME’ in the signature line has confused you even more. I also know that you are curious enough to get to the bottom of things though you don’t always have the patience to wait that long. Please rein in your exasperation and read on.
This letter has reached you because you are fourteen years old today. This is going to sound bizarre, but I need to tell you the truth. Bear with me.
This letter has been written by the future you.Thirty years from today, you’ll be a mature woman, right? It is that woman who is writing to a fourteen years old version of her. This is a letter you have written to yourself. Does it make sense? I can see your eyes going round as saucers and your jaw dropping to reach your knees. We’re like that, aren’t we?
To let this letter reach you, the universe had to turn itself backward. Yes, it was that important. Suspend your disbelief and pay attention to what I am about to tell you.
As of last year, I know you’ve begun to take your school work more seriously. This is good not because you need to study hard and get good marks. Ma never scolded you over your exam score, did she? Marks were never important for her. Obviously then, marks aren’t important for us either.
I am happy you’re taking your school work more seriously because now you have begun to realize that you can grasp concepts with relative ease. The seeds for your belief in your own intelligence are being planted silently in your mind. You will reap a rich harvest someday. Trust me.
You may be comfortable with your own company but also go out and mix with people a bit. I know books are your best friends, but make some real flesh and blood friends, if you can. You are not as alone in your experiences and reactions as you think. I know you don’t suffer fools gladly. I find them annoying too. The only difference I have learned to keep a check on the vitriol that bubbles within. Yes, that’s maturity. You will need to make friends with your red-hot temper; it will stay with you all your life.
You could be a lot more responsible if you didn’t constantly run off to gather rosebuds. You are naturally truthful because your sense of justice wont let you get away with a lie. These traits will deepen over the next few decades. Your greatest virtue will be your courage. I know you are surprised to hear me say that. You’ve never thought of yourself a particularly courageous until now. To be frank, I agree with you. You haven’t really had a chance to test your courage. But you will, believe me.
I want you to be on your guard about one thing.
The world will try to decimate your courage and say it is no big deal. They would want to pile on more expectations on to you. By not letting you know the true nature of your courage, they will try to keep you from realizing how unfair they are. Be aware of your courage, be conscious of what you carry. Be on your guard and know that courage is not to be taken for granted. I am not asking you to shrug the load, you are naturally strong and seeking an easy life will make you weak. I don’t want you weakened. Carry all that you are given to carry, you will need every bit of this strength later.
Now you are asking, “Why warn me then if it is not to lighten my load?”
I warn you for one reason only. Despite your tenaciousness and strength, there will be times when you will be tired. The world will make light of the blisters on your feet and your agonized muscles. The world will show you those who have carried greater burdens and never stopped to rest. The world will never tell you that those who never stopped to rest crumbled and died long before they were meant to. If you too suffer the same fate, they will find someone else to bear their injustice.
This is why I ask you to be aware. When you are tired, no matter what the world demands of you, take time to rest. Take time to nurture yourself. Allow yourself to feel depleted. Don’t worry about losing your strength because you are sitting down to rest. Depletion is not your natural state, you will rise stronger than before when you’ve allowed yourself this time out.
I know you are bristling with questions about your future life. You want to know what happened to you… what you did… what kind of woman you became… how successful you were. I am forbidden from answering specific questions or to tell you what your future holds for you. I will tell you a few things, nevertheless.
Your courage never failed you. God knows, you had cause to fall back on it a lot more times than most people do. You never let your fear stop you from doing what you thought was right. You never flinched from owning your errors and letting your mistakes teach you what NOT to do again. You said what you meant and meant what you said; neither more, nor less. In short, you knew how to stand straight on your feet and to look beyond the moment.
About success I will tell you this: Somewhere along the course of your life you realized that the world’s definition of success was inadequate for you. You created your own definition. People will tell you it was a survival tactics or a protection mechanism. I am here to tell you that it was neither. You were never capable of perpetrating such a fraud upon yourself. You never permitted yourself to be lazy or to turn yourself into something fake merely to serve your self- interest. You lived by your own definitions… and achieved the kind of success that would make you proud.
I hope my words today have shown you what kind of woman you will become. I hope you will remember these words and arm yourself with them for the time when you will need them.
You will not have an easy life. I know that statement will not scare you, though you are but a child. Your life might not be easy but you will always have the strength to overcome the challenges life throws your way. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, remember to raise your head and look around. You will always have the exact help you need at that point of time. People will appear out of thin air, events will come together miraculously, resources will pop out of the wood work. The whole universe will conspire to ensure your victory. Take that certainly and wrap it around you like a shield. This certainly is my gift to you… and the only reason I have written this letter to you… to us.
Tighten your seat belt. The roughest ride of your life is about to begin in a short time now. Years from now you will wonder how you survived it, but survive it you will. That is how you will know that courage that I have tried to give you a glimpse of. The purpose of this event in your life is to give you an unshakable belief in yourself. Savor this ride with that thought in your mind. Go through the experience with deliberation born of this secret tip straight from the horse’s mouth. Don’t let any of it overwhelm you… you will win.
I know, right…?
I am proud of the girl you are today. Over the years, this pride will only deepen. For good reason.
And lastly, trust in yourself. Don’t ever let another person’s opinion matter to you more than your own inner wisdom. You are a better decision maker than all the world put together. I trust you with our future. I leave it happily in your hands. I know your stewardship is the only protection it needs.
Take care of you,
PS: I love you.