A couple of days ago a letter arrived. It was addressed to our daughter, Giana. Gia moved out a few months ago, so the letter sat unopened for several days on the ledge. Last night she stopped by on her way home from work and opened the letter. She sat at the kitchen table and read the letter out loud. It was dated January 2002. “Dear Giana”, the letter began. “It’s me! How are ya?” Giana had written the letter to herself when she was in the 8th grade!
How awesome it is that a junior high English teacher inspired her students to tap into everything they loved about themselves and put it in a letter—then followed through and mailed the letter eight years later! Gia wrote that she loved tap dancing and she encouraged her future self by writing, “and you’d better still be dancing!” She extolled the virtues of “hot” guys like actor Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake (from the boy band ‘N Sync), whom she called her “baby”. She talked about the events of 9/11.
In the letter Gia lamented the fact that her parents were “making” her go to Roosevelt School of the Arts even though she didn’t want to. But she went on to say that it would be okay because she’d get a “scholarship to Julliard” where she would dance. Finally, Gia wrote about her appreciation and affection for her best friends, Emily, Kayla, Ally, and more.
Gia laughed as she remembered her little girl self, and she smiled when thinking about her sweet friends. I couldn’t help but cry happy tears. Like all of us, Gia had dreams about what her future would look like. But, in her sophomore year of high school Gia took a detour down a very dark and scary road. We almost lost her. Somehow, though, Gia never let go of the person she wanted to become and those long held dreams.
Despite the detour, Gia is back on track. She still has many of the same friends she had back in the 8th grade, she still thinks Justin Timberlake is “hot” (although she appreciates his talent more than his looks), and yes, she still tap dances! And, I might add, she rocks!
If a letter arrived today from my past self, what would she say? Am I who I thought I’d be? My life definitely took twists and turns and for much of it, I’ve just had to hold on. I always dreamed of getting old and still being able to call up a long time girlfriend with whom I could cry, laugh, and gossip. Through circumstances beyond my control, I no longer have any of the same friends I had several years ago. That makes me a bit sad.
I have tomorrow—and the day after that and the day after that. I will spend each day making sure that the hope I have for my future, and the dreams I have for myself, will all come into fruition. Perhaps I’ll write a letter to my future self. “Hey Liz, it’s me! How are ya? About all those dreams and goals—how’re you doin’? Get on it, girl!”