Happy birthday, Future Self. You're 26 now! Holy shit! That feels waaay older than 25, right? It's scary, mostly because you are now the age of the bloggers you used to read in high school, right? That's pretty weird. But you do grown-up stuff now, too! Stuff like drinking wine and owning your own coffee maker, and having multiple degrees! MULTIPLE DEGREES! That took you almost seven years to accrue, because, as I might have mentioned earlier, you are a grown-up now. And what do grown-ups do? That's correct, they write vaguely self-indulgent letters in the form of lists.
1. Did Mom send you a cake? I bet she did. Hey, this year, remember to light the back candles first.
2. Hey Future Self, I know you're probably unemployed, extrapolating from the three rejection notices Current Self got this week, but that's okay. You remember how you haven't actually had a significant break since you started grad school, right? Three years ago? It's okay.
3. I don't know if you have a diploma, yet, Future Self, but I hope if you do you still pet it reverently every couple hours, because that's what I'd do.
4. I mean, in the sense that I don't know when they are mailed out, not in the sense that I don't know if you passed all your classes. I hope you did.
5. Even if that literature review was shaaaky, I'm still confident you passed. (Most of the time.)
6. So go and pet your diploma for me. Or if not your diploma, AT LEAST your progress report.
7. Have you started going to yoga yet? Your joints are probably losing flexibility or whatever as you read this, so I hope that Bikram trial you and K signed up is working out well. PS: Future Self, you're doing couples yoga. If that doesn't make you grown-up, I don't know what does. (Dentures.)
8. I hope all of your miscellaneous injuries have healed. Between the chunk missing from your index finger, the burn on your arm, and the scratch across your nose, I think people were starting to get a little concerned.
9. In general, though, this has been like the healthiest year ever! AN ENTIRE FALL WITHOUT GETTING SICK, whaaat. It's kind of sad that all it took was drinking more water and taking your vitamins, but on the other hand, at least it worked. +10 self-care points.
10. Speaking of self-care, I'm serious about that whole taking a break thing. Go to a movie or something. Remember movies? Remember going out to movies? Try that. Go on a self-date.
11. Self-dates are important for self-care as well!
12. Okay, Future Self, I know that's starting to sound awfully euphemistic, but I hope you know where I'm going with this. I mean, yes, that other thing is important too, but so is taking yourself out to a movie or dinner or a hilarious jazz performance of a ballet you like.
13. Remember how awful fall semesters always are? They are terrible! I kind of don't know how you managed it three times!
14. Other than with the support of your family and your wonderful amazing loving friends.
15. Seriously. I don't believe that friendship is transactional, but it's a good thing I don't because I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO REPAY all of the incredible support over the last couple years. Being able to look at my twitter replies, or responses to the holiday meme, in the wee small hours of academic desperation has made all the difference.
16. On that note, Future Self, you should probably also thank your parents. I mean, they'll probably demur, but it's still important.
17. Also: that goofball who left Skype on all night on Wednesday so you wouldn't be by yourself while finishing your paper.
18. What I'm getting at, Future Self, is that I'm glad you have the support system that you do today, especially since that was part of what made undergrad so difficult, feeling isolated so much of the time. So I'm glad you've found this for yourself.
19. Future Self, this is a really long list. I don't know if I have that many more things to say, especially since despite sleeping for ten hours last night and then taking a nap, I'm still kind of tired.
20. I hope you're back to a reasonable sleep schedule and consuming things other than caffeine now, though.
21. Like, I'm glad you were able to conduct your pioneering research into what happens if you only drink coffee for days at a stretch for the benefit of future generations, but the personal cost in nausea was pretty high, was it not?
22. It was.
23. So even though this wasn't where you thought you would be in high school, or where you thought college would take you, Future Self, I'm glad you have found the success and happiness you have.
24. Especially because there have been times when you thought you would have neither.
25. I am so proud of you, Future Self. Even if you convince yourself that you are a terrible and irresponsible student and/or person, you have accomplished a lot of excellent things so far.
26. Don't forget about 16-year-old self or 22-year-old self. They're in there too.