So nearly six years ago, I had written a letter. This one, to be precise. I was all of twenty-three just turned twenty-four, and thirty seemed like a long distant figure I would someday reach, and I must have thought it would be fun to write to my thirty-year old self. With less than a month to go for my thirtieth birthday, when I chanced upon the letter, it gave me the shivers. It took me some time to grasp the enormity of the situation. These were my thoughts, reaching out to me over the barrier of time, transporting me back to a past I thought I had long since overcome. But a letter is a letter, and since it has reached me finally when it is supposed to, I knew I had to do the right thing and reply.
By the way, I highly recommend writing letters to your future self, for the sake of reading them if not anything else. It is a multidimensional experience. Yes, multidimensional. As in I can’t describe it in words because it is more complex than that. You would have to look at the glisten in my eyes and hear my laughter and then bask in the warmth with me. I loved it so much I might just write another one to read in five years’ time.
It really is quite amazing how easily we lose sight of things. Things that were important to me five years ago seem trivial right now, and it only makes me wonder if the things I am stressing over right now would seem unimportant five years down the line as well. It also makes me ask myself: do people really change? Between then and now, I have traveled so far it seems almost impossible that I can still relate to that young naive woman. But I do. More than anything else in the world.
And all this, all of these feels just from a silly letter written six years ago. Back to the reply then.
Dear Twenty-Three year old me,
I think it would make you very happy to know that I turn thirty in less than a month, and the most exciting thing that happened to me today was that I bought the illustrated unabridged Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and it is every bit wonderful as the it sounds. Bet you hadn’t thought of that, had you now? I understand your concern for the well-being of my organs, and specifically my ears but I want you to rest assured that they are in good working condition despite the endless hours they spent with earphones in them. Can’t say the same about the eyes. All the ePubs, my dear. All the ePubs. And no, I don’t have three chins. But I do have a marvelous second one I love as much as I love chocolate. Arms are still slimmer than thighs but only because the latter have grown proportionately. Let’s just say between then and now I have grown. In every possible way.
I am married, and yes, the poor husband still suffers the blinding yellows and murky grays without complaining. I am a mother now (told you I’d be one before I turn 30!) to this beautiful peanut of a girl. Remember the daughter you had dreamed of? Remember all the times you had spent coming up with all the traits she would have? Well guess what. Someone up there must have been taking notes. And how dare you assume I will spoil her rotten? Or that I will have unrealistic expectations from her? She is extremely eloquent for her age, highly opinionated but still a sweetheart, loves kisses and hugs, sings like there’s no tomorrow, has endless patience for books, Play Doh and colouring, and remembers the tiniest thing you tell her. Happy? You ought to be. As for the creche, well, I hate to break it to you, but if you’d known that chasing after a toddler 24/7 would turn you off being in charge of other toddlers, then maybe you wouldn’t have brought it up. Seriously… Some days I tolerate her only because she is mine, know what I mean? Who knows though, maybe in the future when I have empty nest syndrome and would crave to be surrounded by dirty diapers and temper tantrums…
By the way, can I just say it out loud? You were right. About everything.
Yes, it *is* pretty screwed up inside my head, but it is good to be reminded of how I used to be, because now I know that time hasn’t done much to change me. I am still a dreamer, although I may have turned it down a notch on the realistic scale. There are days when I declare to myself that I will be famous and successful and rich, and then there are days when I would do anything just for an entire day by myself. Laughing still comes easy, mercifully. Good beats still make me groove no matter where, and I now realize it is something I may have passed down to the progeny. So yes, I still am the woman dancing a random jig while walking down the store aisle because Justin Timberlake is asking me to “Just imagine… just imagine… just imagine…”
I am still blogging (yay!) which means I still have a lot to say. I stay up late into the night writing and writing some more, and would gladly sacrifice sleep for a stimulating conversation. As for that picture… funny you would say that. I have just the desk in front of just the window, and it does look out to a playground right outside our condo, so I must say the prophecy fulfilled itself. Since the time of your letter to me, I learned bits of Vietnamese, Malay and have a damn extensive vocabulary of Tagalog, which means I can sail through a conversation for a good five minutes before they figure out I am not a Filipino. I still wanna do a lot of things in this very life, but at the moment, am content being nothing but a stay-at-home Mom. I realized too late into the game that I am qualified to do the one thing I would never do (MCA? Really? What were you thinking?!) and what I want to do I am not qualified for, at least in the eyes of recruiters. So yes, if you were me (ha!) I would never ever doubt my instincts, and follow them, and only choose the path that would lead me to what I love. Instead of being “practical”. Duh.
I still smell good, yes. And you would be jealous of my perfume collection. There you go. Another of your dreams fulfilled. Forget about the sister. She’s an alien who looks younger by the day. Just accept the fact that you will never look younger than her already, okay?
I hope this answers the questions you had. I hope you realize that whatever you had envisioned for me has turned out to be true. I might be older, and look older, definitely act older, but believe me when I say my essence hasn’t changed. Much. I know in the coming years you would find a lot to stress about… the ever-anxious woman that you are, but I want to let you know it is all going to be okay. Between your effervescence, and my wisdom (hey, I am after all six years older than you) we are sorted.
Oh, and heads up, for I have only three words of advice for you. Expect the unexpected.
On that happy note,