Five years ago, I found a website which enabled you to send an email at some predetermined point in the future. Fully immersed in an early-twenties ‘what-am-I-doing-with-my-life’ panic (which some people call a ‘Quarter Life Crisis’), I wrote an email and released it into limbo for five years, and then promptly forgot about it.
Until last month, when this arrived in my inbox:
Subject: Hello to the Me of the Future
The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 4 years and 12 months ago, on June 18, 2008. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org
Don’t forget all the things you need to do. Don’t get bogged down in the same job for years and years – there are things out there which need doing and experiencing.
If you’re bored – hand in your notice in your job. Go travelling, explore your own country, learn to drive, write a book (for God’s sake, write a book if you haven’t already. Go on a Creative Writing Course or something).
This is the best age you can be – the opportunities available are endless and it is stupid not to take advantage of them. Don’t settle down, don’t buy a house, don’t have kids – not yet. There’s too much to do. Whatever you do, don’t get to 50 and feel resentful and bitter. It would be no one’s fault but your own.
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re happy and you haven’t forgotten how promising life is. I hope you’ve had excellent experiences and realised who you are.
Feel comfortable in yourself.
I don’t know what it is I am trying to say to you – there’s too much. I guess the message is:
Don’t lose yourself in trying to find yourself. Make sure you don’t look up from your desk one day to realise that all the thinks you were “going to do” have become things you “could have done”.
You wanted to be a writer, an actor, an artist, an ecologist, an explorer, a traveller, a musician, a gardener, a historian, a buildings conservation officer, a museum curator, a psychologist and so many other things.
You’ve always had that itch to produce something – that feeling that something wonderful is bubbling inside you just waiting to explode from you in a fountain of creative greatness. Don’t forget.
You’re vivacious and interesting, exciting and fun. You’re friendly, kind and nice. This is your identity. I hope you’ve realised and remembered.
Don’t forget who you are,
Love from you,
On the day I received this email, I was on a trip to Skye, seeing more of the beautiful country in which I live. I’d handed in my notice at my job, because it felt like time for a change, and I’d started writing a novel, because the time felt right. I haven’t bought anything bigger or more expensive than a fridge, and I don’t yet intend to, because I still believe that it’s not yet time to settle down.
And at this moment in my life I know, infinitely more than I did when I wrote that email, that I’m okay with the person I am and the decisions I’ve made. But I’m very pleased that 21-year old Rosie popped up out of the blue to remind me I’m on the right track.