Letters to Myself: Hopes and Fears in the Past Two Years

As part of yearly tradition at the co.space home for changemakers, we write letters to our future selves. One letter outlines our hopes, and another, our fears. I lived at the co.space from 2014 to 2016, and I just got my letters back in the mail today. (With great irony, I preserved them from the prying eyes of my parents, and promptly proceeded to post them for the whole internet to read.) Here’s what I wrote.

Hope 08/30/14

I hope for a few things —
To work to make the world a better place.
To someday be self-employed.
To spend summers in Montana, California, Washington, Maine, or British Columbia; Winters traveling.
To find the passion that lights me alive.
To find peace with my health.
To avoid conflict with my family and others.
To live in harmony with and surrounded by nature — mountains, trees, lakes, animals.
To learn woodworking, cheesemaking, sewing, and many other handy skills.
To find peace.
To make an impact or touch a life.
To find everything I need.
To be comfortable in my own skin.
To marry for love.
To be happy.
To leave a footprint that is indelible.

Contemporary thoughts (08/25/16):

Short and sweet. Far-fetched and slightly idealistic? Sure.

Fear 08/30/14

I fear having a sense of complete and utter lostness, and loneliness all at once. I fear having survived for 90 years, but having never truly lived. I fear that my desire to grasp will overextend beyond my reach, and that I may die a failure, a complete dreamer of all things good, but only in thought and rarely in action.
I fear that I will never measure up and never feel wholly genuine. The only way to be totally genuine is to live in the exact way that you purport to, and to be utterly unpretentious in your way of life.
I fear that I’ll never figure out which I want more — wanting everything (fame, money, material wealth, renown), or nothing at all (minimalism, existence off-the-grid with less complications but a very routine lifestyle.) What’s more terrifying than not being able to choose is choosing one and realizing I was wrong, and being unable to drag myself out of that mess.
I fear losing myself in the mix of the whole thing because of my conviction to a self-prescribed moral code, while the rest of the world is pretty goddamned ok with profiteering. I fear being left behind because I disagree. I fear I’ll either be made evil by the world’s harsh ways, or be frozen a prude by my moral paralysis.
I fear I will never truly find out what my one true purpose is…before time runs out.

Contemporary thoughts (08/25/16):

Aside from the overuse of cliché in the first two sentences, I’d stay this is pretty spot-on. Especially the part about having everything vs. minimalism, which is a battle I play out in my head on a daily basis. Onward.

Hope 09/06/15

Future Manas,
I love you no matter what. I accept you for who you are. I don’t offer these hopes as expectations or goals. They’re desires. To be bound by desires is to limit thy freedom.
I hope you’re teaching yoga part time at least, and doing fulfilling design or tech work too. I hope you’ve taken action on environmental change. I hope Bernie Sanders won the 2016 election, because this is hope.
I hope you can learn to drive with more confidence, and you are independent. That you’ve got that minimal home on the big lot, with the mountain view.
I hope you give more than you receive. I hope you’ve made peace with your family. That they have accepted you, and you them.
I hope you find life beautiful, every day…and not just because you live somewhere like Washington.
I hope you’re still Hindu, and fight for your rights as a brown woman. That you give up hatred and adopt daily routines of love, especially self-love.
Maybe you’ve traveled and volunteered aboard. Maybe you’ve figured out that you don’t need much more than 10 pairs of clothes, and few real possessions. Your garden is growing, as is your mind. You’re not afraid of new things, learning past age 35, and growing old.
You still love you. You feel at peace.

Contemporary thoughts (08/25/16):

Interesting mentions of religion here — I must have been going through a more spiritual phase. Also, pretentious use of the word “thy.” And let’s not even get into the political stuff. I’ll be honest, I still dream about the small house on the big lot with the mountain view. Is that minimalism or materialism? Is it somewhere in between?

Fear 09/06/15

Dear Manas,
The worst life you can possibly imagine doesn’t have to be the one where you work that 9–5 job, don’t have the sprawling property and tiny home, or are forced to live somewhere on the East Coast instead of your dream of Seattle.
The worst life is the one where you’ve given up hope; that even despite the struggle, you can’t be happy and don’t dream of something better.
If I stopped feeling that life was so beautiful and worth living, no matter the ugly daily realities, that would be the real tragedy, the real fear.
If I was battered down by the world and its negative qualities, and forgot to appreciate the positive things — that’s the life I fear.
But moreover, I do have true fears about my future, like being too cavalier about what amazing connections I’ve built with people. I especially forget when I’m alone and feeling “self-sufficient.”
I’m afraid that I’m approaching a mindset of not knowing what I want with my life. Aside from all this, I fear a life that looks like this:
I’ve gained weight and forgotten about my commitments to wellness.
Living in fear/anxiety/depression.
Losing the people I love before I’m ready.
Having a shit job — being unhappy at work.
Never feeling like I made an impact with my life.
Feeling underutilized.
Giving up on my dreams.
Dying before I’m ready.
Regressing into past negative habits.
Not following the right path.
Love yourself through the fear.

Contemporary thoughts (08/25/16):

I’m glad I gave myself permission to fail at my dreams. Some of my fears have come true, but I’m still hopeful, so I suppose I have not succumbed to the worst of all.

What about Hope and Fear 2016?

In the next few days, I’ll write some hopes and fears in a personal place and set a calendar reminder to check them next year. I think I gleaned some very useful, comforting wisdom from my past self, and if not, I at least had a few quick laughs at my naïveté.

Here’s a quick hope, though: I hope this helped. I hope you’ll join me. I hope this mattered.

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