Dear Me of 2032:
Well, if all went as hoped, you quit teaching fifteen years ago to concentrate on a budding writing career. Hopefully, you have a column in a magazine, or you have chosen to write books. If you are not as popular as JK Rowling, that’s okay. You have still been read by others. Your words and thoughts affected someone. Maybe, you even wrote a book so fascinating that your former colleagues chose to teach it in class.
However, if you gave into fear and decided not to try to chase you dream, you are still teaching. Luckily, you are in your last year of teaching– retirement is in sight! You made it through 35 years. With approximately 125 students a year that means you directly affected 4,375 lives. You taught them to think for themselves, to challenge themselves to be better, to grow as writers. If you are still teaching, you are not bitter or resigned because you always challenged yourself to grow as a teacher. Stagnation causes disease, and you never wanted to be a parasite in the classroom.
Your children have all grown. Oh my, I wish I was you and could see what people they have turned into! I hope you remember how it was to be me– to watch them grow and sometimes feel like your heart would break into a million pieces– sometimes because they love their lives so much, sometimes because all you want to do is protect them from disappointment and pain. However, you know that getting them to learn from disappointment and heartache makes them better people– they have learned not only to sympathize but to empathize; they have learned not only to love but to feel passionately. Yes, I know you have a great deal to brag about when you talk about those girls!
Hopefully, all the money woes of my past ten years have not only been obliterated but that you actually feel comfortable. Let’s face it, debt sucks! You know as well as I do that you made a plethora of bad choices when it came to finances, but the 42-year-old you is working hard to fix the problems and establish a better life. Hopefully, you are reaping the benefits– yearly vacations and weekend getaways would be nice!
I know that the friendships of the present are still strong in the future. Damn Kylie aged so much better than you did! Cerina has always been such an important friend, always offering advice and lending a hand. Jessica, can you believe the life she created for herself? She babysit your children and then your children babysat her children! Amy and you have still gotten together for pedicures for your birthdays– it’s been over twenty years of pretty toes for you two! She definitely is one of the best friends you could ever have! Scott is still such a good friend, and you still have your lifelong friend, Patrick. There are so many others that are so important! I am sure you have made new friends, too, friends that will open your heart even more. Don’t worry, there’s enough room in there for everybody!
Best of all, you have been married to Tom for 34 years! Wow! You have spent more time with him in life than without him. He has been your best friend and your biggest cheerleader. He has supported every decision you have ever made, and he helps you to stay grounded. You could have gotten lost so many times, but he helped you to refocus and remember what is important in life: family, friends, health, and happiness. Yes, I am sure you are smiling about 34 fun-filled good years.
Most of all, hopefully you have loved the moments. I can only imagine how much laughter the last twenty years has offered you. You know that you need to live life to make footprints in the sand. They forever influence others paths, and when they are washed away, the memories of who made them will still be there.
I am not going to wish you happiness because you epitomize it. I am not going to wish you success because you have captured it. I am not going to wish you love because you are surrounded by it. I am not going to wish you strength because you embody it. Yes. I know that you have drunk from the marrow of life and you have bathed in the fountains of experience. What have you gained? Understanding. Peace. An open heart. Life is a dance, and you have gracefully moved your way through it. Good luck with whatever you decide to do in retirement. Stay active and continue to impact others.
Me in 2012