On the 24th of September 2009, I was about a month into my new school. One morning, I was asked by my English teacher to write a letter addressed to my future self. This letter was to be written, taken away, and then stored somewhere until it was returned to me to read during my last year of school. This January, I was finally given the letter that my eleven-year-old self had written almost six and a half years beforehand. To this day, this letter remains one of my favorite things I have ever written.
As painfully embarrassing as this is, I have decided to share my ‘time capsule’ letter in this article. It is very cheesy, I know (and please excuse the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes).
This is what I wrote:
Although this letter makes me smile, reading it today also makes me cringe. The fact that I am sharing this letter with everyone who is reading this article makes me cringe even more. I read this and wonder why my eleven-year-old self was so incredibly cheesy (and why I decided to sign off with “best wishes”).
After reading the letter for the first time in over six years, I was touched. Although I thought that the letter was sweet, nothing about it really stood out to me. I then discovered that I had written something else on the other side of the piece of paper. It wasn’t until I flipped over the page that I began to feel genuinely emotional.
Here is what I wrote on the other side:
After reading this part, I started crying. It seemed as though I had received my letter at the perfect time. January was a very difficult month. I had just sent in all of my college applications and had no idea how I felt about them, and my stress levels were extremely high. I wasn’t really enjoying school, and the workload was just getting more and more intense. Overall, I felt like I was stuck in some kind of ‘funk’. I was worried about the future and although I am a very optimistic person, I was finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated.
I started crying because reading this was exactly what I needed. I had written exactly what I needed to hear. If eleven-year-old Lea said that I should keep going, then I would, and if eleven-year-old Lea said that I should believe in myself, then I probably should. When I get stressed out now, I like to think of my younger self and wonder what she would say – it’s become one of my greatest motivators.
Whether this helps you or not, I wanted to share this to remind people that in the moment, it’s easy to forget about just how many things you are capable of. If you find yourself stuck in a position where you think you can’t do something or that you just don’t believe in yourself anymore, think back to what your younger self might have to say. Chances are, they’re going to have all the faith in the world in you, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t listen to them.
Now when I want to give up on something, I am reminded of this letter that I wrote what is now over seven years ago. I imagine the voice of eleven-year-old Lea telling me to keep going, cheering me on, because I know that if she thinks I can do it, then I probably can.