It’s Friday!! Thank God for small mercies: two days stretch ahead of me, and neither of them involve going to school: a relief, I would say, in itself. I find myself now, at just after 5pm (despite thinking until just a few moments ago that “it just can’t be gone half 4 already”), drinking freshly-made filter coffee and listening to my Eurovision 2018 playlist. Israel is a strong contender this year guys, just giving you a heads up!
Mid-last week, we were set a task in english which, despite my best efforts, I simply couldn’t do. This is unusual for me in an English class: whilst I’m no literary or linguistic prodigy, I would label myself as ‘solid’ in English. Being faced with a task — albeit an optional extension task — that I just couldn’t do was pretty much a first for me, and I wanted to talk about why I couldn’t complete the work.
*Sips wisely at coffee*
The task was to write a letter. “Easy,” I thought, “letters are a piece of (unfortunately metaphorical) cake.”
“Write a letter,” went the task, “to yourself, in x-years time: the number of years, or even months, is completely up to you.”
Shit. I can’t write letters to future me — I can hardly think about myself in the present. Alas, maybe I could get away with writing some generic crap: ‘don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you could do today’, ‘never lose track of your dreams’, etc etc. Yes — that would do nicely.
I brought up a nice, clean document on my iPad screen — in much the same way I did 10 minutes ago to start writing this — and rested my hands on the keyboard, poised to begin typing. Fifteen minutes later, no words had come, and I was stuck.
This letter, despite being set as English work, was not going to our teacher for marking; we had been asked to upload it to a website which would email the letters back to us in x amount of time. Of course, the teacher would never know if I hadn’t completed the work, but I’m conscientious if nothing else. Alas, words did not flow, and after a further half-an-hour of pained thinking, I gave it up.
Why, in the name of God, couldn’t I write this letter? Sure, whatever I’d planned to come out with would’ve been generic bullshit, and I would have ‘accidentally’ clicked the cancel button over the ‘send this to me when I’m old please and thank you’ alternative.
Thinking ahead is terrifying. Who knows what I’ll be doing in 5, 10, 20 years time — I don’t even know what i’ll be doing, or what I’ll be like, in 6 months from now! Will i be the same? Will I think, act, talk the same? Will i have the same interests, same hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties?
What will I think of me — both present-day me, and the me that reads this fictional letter? Maybe I’ll look back on me now, and wonder how I was so childish, so pathetic and — excuse the pun — blind. I wonder whether i’ll look back on now — on the Eurovision-obsessed, coffee-drinking, blogging 16-year-old teen who just feels a bit lost, out-of-place — and laugh at how naive I was — I am. Or maybe he’ll smile, that knowing smile, because really, he still relates: nothing has changed.
Like all of us, i have no idea what the future holds. Some people embrace that: that which isn’t set in stone can still be changed. Others — myself included — go for the ‘what we don’t know, or don’t think about, can’t hurt us’ approach; it’s small-minded, but if it keeps today-me held together for just another day, or one more week, then it’s cool with me. The future is full of so many possibilities: a probability tree diagram (for you GCSE mathematicians) with an infinite number of branches, and an even more infinite number (shhh maths is confusing and let me just make up quantifiers of infinity) of outcomes, each extremely unlikely, but one certain to become reality. With such a treasure-trove of eventualities not to choose from, but rather to consider, I’d rather live in the moment, do waht I can today, and let the future come as a result of today’s actions, rather than tomorrow’s plans. My bubble in which I live only works and functions as such because the outside world — past, present, future — can’t interrupt, rear its ugly head when it’s least welcome. If that bubble keeps me afloat, I’m going to do all within my power to keep it alive.