Way back when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Gibbs, gave us all a project: write a letter to your future self, seal it, and give it to her so that she could send it to us once we finished high school. Four years later, upon my graduation from Northville High, we drove home one day in June and pulled open the mailbox to find that wrinkled old envelope all those years later. It was incredible–to be able to look back on how I had changed (and how I hadn’t). Obviously my favorite part of this letter was the part where I wrote, “I hope you’re in college. Right now I really want to go to college at Northwestern, but Mom says it’s probably not going to happen.” My mom and I had a good laugh about that one.
Fast forward another four years and a few months. Here I am, an English–Creative Writing major at Northwestern. I have three days left until I am done with my senior year, with college, with school. Forever.
And today, I finally opened up a document on my computer that hadn’t been touched since May 2011, entitled “Dear Erin.”
Talk about #TransformationTuesday.
This was the letter I wrote as a senior in high school to my future self–who, as of now, is my current self. I laughed. I cringed. I teared up. Because once again, I am amazed at how much is different, how much is the same, how many of my goals and interests and relationships and beliefs have undergone complete metamorphosis. How my favorite books (Harry Potter, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Brave New World) and cities (New York and Chicago) and many of my friends (you know who you are) are the same, but how my favorite music–from Adele, Mumford, and show tunes to Sufjan, Regina, and worship music–has changed. How my life goals have switched drastically: from being a Broadway star to living a slightly quieter life filled with writing and art and Jesus and a family of my own.
It’s seriously so cool to be able to look back and see how God has written my story over the past four years, through Jesus and theatre and quitting theatre and Ocean City and student teaching and my Christian community and writing my novella and my new job at Pluralsight and all kinds of other things. I’ve loved seeing how He’s answered the questions I used to ask Him, and what new questions He’s given me instead. It’s just proof that I can trust Him to take my life and create something full of meaning and adventure and beauty.
All that being said, I’ve decided to continue this practice of writing letters to my future self–and no, I won’t be posting these on my blog. These will be gifts meant only for me and the few with whom I decide to share them. Plus, that way I can forget about what I wrote and be properly surprised later.
Since I don’t have any more milestones coming up (at least, no milestones with predictable timelines), I’ve decided to just keep up the four year pattern. It seems to be just enough time for interesting things to happen, for change to occur, for a good, long chapter of my story to be written.
So, Wanderers, here’s to the last four years, and the next. And as for you, future Erin?
See you soon.