As the new year settles down, I decided to do what was in my plans for a long time — to write a letter for my “future self”.
Before we dig in, let’s recall a conversation I had with a friend of mine while living in South Africa, expecting my first daughter. That conversation went something like this:
Friend: “So you’re moving soon. To what destination this time?”
Me: “I still don’t know, but most probably to Peru (I knew there was a working opportunity for my husband in this country and he had a great chance to get it).
Friend: “Oh, that’s good, I hope by then you’ll finally get a job and start making money”.
Those who know me, as that dear friend of mine, might agree that these words coming from her do not sound as bitter as they seem. That friend knew I had plans to keep working after I became a mother. She also knew that making money was something I really would appreciate as a result of my work.
Now, this pressure on “making money” just makes me anxious and it definitely did not serve as supportive words — not for now neither for my future self.
Because of opinions like these, even coming from well-intentioned people, I feel more urge to write this letter for my future self. This will remind me that I don’t need to worry or try to anticipate what is going to happen in any aspect of my life.
All I need is to work hard and persist in the things I want.
And these things are really very simple:
Let me give you some context to explain why learning is something I wish my future self will keep doing.
I was enrolled in elementary school when I was only 4 years old — when my peers were about to turn 6. At 16 years old, I was graduated from high school and, at age of 19, I had already completed a university degree.
Less than 2 years after I graduated from the university, at the age of 21, I held my first specialization certificate. Most recently, at the age of 26, I completed a master’s degree in consumer experience from the University of South Africa.
For what good all these formal education served?
Perhaps I’m using 1% of my academic background in what I do today. The truth is that I don’t need a degree to educate my daughter or be a good mother, nor another straw to write here or on my personal blog.
What I need is an open mind to keep learning — about my field and about any other thing that might call my interest — especially in these days when a bunch of what we have learned last year has already become obsolete.
While people believe they can only be healthy if they follow the paleo diet, drink smoothies for breakfast, or enrol with the most expensive gym while wearing the latest Nike sneakers and sportswear, I say, fuck all this (excuse me, ladies and gentlemen)! I just want to be healthy and my future self should know it!
Be healthy, on my own terms, means eating everything — not too much, not too little –, keep a regular exercise routine that can be performed in my living room.
At the height of photo sharing on social media, I see that other people also need to feel that they are doing something unique themselves. My desire is not far from it.
What I and everyone else want is to find “what” makes us feel fulfilled.
Sometimes I come to think that for me “that” is motherhood. Then, I am awakened several times in one night because my daughter has a fever and I change my mind.
After that, I start believing I should find a formal job and to apply what I learned during those several years of my formal education. Perhaps, then I would feel fulfilled. Shortly after, I remind myself that if I would do that, I would not be with my daughter when she would have a fever and that would make me feel so guilty afterwards.
That questioning I have in mind every time I think about finding “what” I am supposed to be doing leads me to the reality I am now, where I have not yet found “it”. Hopefully, my “future self” will bring me an answer.
Practice the languages of love
I would never have spent so much time reading self-help books, but sometime after I became a mother and practically I became a roommate for my husband, I found myself reading so much about marriage that I could not have ever imagined.
And, besides many no-brainer pieces of advice, yes, I did learn something about love.
What is worth mentioning here, so that my “future self” knows in what I have been working on all this time, is about the five languages of love. The theory was created by the doctor Gary Chapman, who named these languages as “words of affirmation”, “quality time”, “giving and receiving gifts”, “acts of service”, and “physical touch”.
For those who have never heard about Dr Chapman, even though he has become a bestseller, let me make something clear: he has already gotten some white hair. Perhaps, this is a sign that Dr Chapman figured out solutions for a bunch of marriage conflicts over the course of his career. But he is also married, so you make your bet.
The point is that I learned which one is my language of love — quality time — and my husband’s — physical contact. That is something my future self should work on if we desire to keep my marriage alive.
That’s all for now, my dear “future self”!
I have no idea when I’m going to meet you around here — it could be in a year, a decade or more if blogs are not yet extinct from the face of Earth in such a long time. Just remember that now I am writing from the modest apartment I share with my husband while expecting our second daughter.
Take good care,
What would you say to your “future self”? Please, share it in the comments below.