Letter to My Future Self
A blast from the past shedding light on my present.
I don’t like to assume things about people, but I can say pretty confidently that we all have conflicted feelings towards emails (for some of us plain hate bordering on the side of despair). Sometimes though, you get little gems that make you reconsider the utility of electronic letters, like the one I received on a very average day in August.
Of course, being the sender of said email helped.
A year prior, I had written and scheduled a letter to my future self via the website FutureMe. The idea of talking to a not-so-distant version of Maëlle had always been very appealing: how much will life have changed for me in 12 months? Would the people who mattered the most still be around then?
That’s what I was excited to find out — and I wasn’t disappointed:
“Dear Future Me,
You’re writing this on your bed in Madrid, in this bright bedroom that you love so much. Your dog is by your side, waiting anxiously for her 8 pm diner as she always does. You’re listening to a podcast about sexuality, reflecting on where you’re at right now in your own life.
You went on a weekend to Valencia with this girl, and things were great. You got to see other sides of her, not all shiny, but nobody is perfect, right? The two of you got closer, talking about what you wanted your relationship to be like: non-monogamous yes, but what does that imply exactly?
Talking about those things is never easy. You’re happy she was the one who brought them up, and you hope to be able to ask the tough questions next time.
With her, things are different. You’re not swept off your feet, you don’t feel a rush of dopamine whenever her name appears on the screen of your phone. You’re not playing that movie in your head that you’ve played so many times. You’re taking things slow, and it feels good. You’re doubting whether you have feelings for her, but there’s no rush: things are good, let’s just enjoy them.
Asking too many questions just ruins it all.
You’ve come such a long way. In your work, in your relationship with others, and with yourself. You can be proud. I hope you are. I wonder where you’re reading this. Maybe in Amsterdam, like you had talked about with your friends. Maybe in Madrid, where you were always so happy, or in a completely different city because something called you there.
Wherever you are, I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re learning and that the people around you make you grow as much as they support you. I hope Pipa is still next to you, waiting anxiously for her 8 pm diner. I hope you’re a little closer to your dreams (or at least that you’ve finally figured them out).
Until next time,
Maëlle of the past”
I couldn’t help but feel emotional while rediscovering my own words. Not that the letter was the bearing of any extraordinary news (it was coming from the past after all).
What struck me was how accurately I had predicted what my life would look like a year later — while having absolutely no idea what I was going to endure on the way.
Even though my dog was no longer by my side (having stayed with a couple of friends back in Madrid), I had moved to another city (a whole new continent even) to go back to school and follow my dream: working as a sex & relationship counselor.
More importantly, I was proud of who I had become.
Over the past year, I had to face incredible hardships in the form of toxic relationships, breakups, sexual abuse, physical injury, chronic illness, creeping anxiety, and bouts of depression — all of which left me feeling stuck and so deeply hurt more than once.
But every time, with the support of incredible friends (and of course, therapy), I found the strength to get back on it.
I held on as tight as I could to the tiny glimpse of hope from the good days, despite the dark clouds that had made my mind their home, despite being bed-ridden but exhausted.
Because, as I learned, there would always be good days, or good moments, even in the darkest of times. There would always be light at the end of the tunnel, sunshine after the storm, and cheesy inspirational quotes to make me smile and believe that something better was possible.
This letter from my past wasn’t just a reminder of where I was a year ago: it was the proof of how far I had gotten in 12 months, and that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, no matter which city I happened to live in.
It was the token I needed to finally embrace my whole self and say: you’re enough. It was the beginning of a love story I would write in the first person, with no need to know the end. It was a blast from the past shedding light on my present.