When I was fifteen, I wrote a letter to myself, not to be opened until 2010. I gave it to mum for safekeeping, and I just remembered it. I dug it up, and it’s kind of interesting, and kind of embarrassing. It was February in the year 1995, I was in my senior year of elementary school and had recently applied to vocational art and design schools across the country. Finland had just joined the European Union, the Cold War had recently ended, a war was raging in Bosnia, Rwandan Genocide happened, the war in Somalia had brought the first black immigrants to my hometown… I can’t even remember. I had taken my first tattoo not too long ago and I was probably in the idealist-punk-grunge period of my life. Nirvana was huge.
The original letter is in Finnish, obviously.
February 13th, 1995
I haven’t yet decided when I’ll open this letter, but probably in the 2000’s and I’ll be over 20 years old. I’m not sure why I want to write to myself. Maybe it’s good to sometimes think back on life and see what I’ve achieved.
What do I hope to get from life? Happiness, I think. I never had lots of friends, but I hope to have fun times with friends, and to have lots of good memories. Not that earthly materia wouldn’t be welcome too, right? But over anything else, I hope I’ll manage do even a little bit good… I hope I’ll be able to affect people in a positive way. I hope I won’t live a selfish life but also think of others. As naive as it sounds, I want to save the rain forests and the ocean and the whales and everything. I want to end the stupid, selfish wars and terrorism… But I don’t know if life would be so wonderful if everyone was all joyous and happy. Through hardships to the stars – to happiness, or something.
Well, none of that hasn’t really changed. I do have wonderful friends, and plenty of good memories. Plenty of bad ones, too: Laura1995 quotes the Finnish translation of the Latin expression ‘Per aspera ad astra’, which just goes to show she was a geek already. And no, I haven’t found happiness yet. I’ve learned money doesn’t equal happiness, even though it would help a little bit to have one less things to worry about. But I have a feeling Laura1995 knew that already.
Personally I want to become a journalist, a novelist, a researcher. I want to create a career but I also want to have a family. Is that possible? Maybe I’ll know it when (if) I read this, sometime in the future. I want everything I don’t have now. And that’s selfish too, because my life is pretty good right now. And anyway, I’m in puberty, a 15 year old. But despite that, I want good, loyal friends, I want someone to love [mutually], I want to be an influence, a survivor. I also wouldn’t mind to look nice and thin (!) either, but what can you do with this face? I want a strong, independent character.. I never want to wallow in self-pity, it’s a weakness of the mind and it takes you nowhere.
Definitely the idealist period. I honestly wanted to have people know all the bad things happening in the world, and, yes, I was already battling against my inherent cynicism. Before internet, too. I was already obsessed with my looks, and I was convinced I was terribly ugly. I also probably felt sorry for myself a lot. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was also battling depression already, too. I just thought the reason I cried secretly every night was just self-pity and weakness on my part. I’m surprised I wanted to have a family, though.
These days I’m worrying about small things: I have a PE class in the morning, meh! On Thursday, I have an exam in religion. But it’s amazing to think that the education choices I make now may affect my entire future. I wonder if I’ll make it to the [schools I applied to]?
Yes, you will. And don’t worry about the exam. You probably nailed it anyway, since the teacher was meek and you had a brilliant memory for detail. You will soon forget the awkwardness of the PE classes, and believe it or not, there will be a period in your life when you’ll kick ass, literally.
Will I ever be an exchange student?
Yes, although it will be roughly ten years later than you think. And it will change your life.
Will I ever regret the tattoo on my ankle?
I wonder if I’ll ever contact [haha, not telling!] again?
Nope. And it’s a good thing too, you silly wench. He was probably the last person you confessed your attraction to, face to face.
Ah, it’s 11:55 PM, I have to go to sleep!
February 14th, 1995
There’s terribly many things I want to do sometime: surf, make a parachute jump!, travel… meet people. Actually, at the moment I feel a flying permit would be far more interesting than a driving licence.
I still have none of the permits (which is probably also a good thing), and I haven’t learned to surf (except online), nor have I parachuted. But I have travelled and met a lot of interesting and different people. Some of them are still my friends. Flying permit would be cool… But I worry about my carbon dioxide foot print.
What will I look like in 15 years time? Now I look like… this: [photo] In the photo I have a green shirt and my hair never looks like that. But if all goes according to plan, I’ll be 30 the next time I read this. Well, what does it look like? There’s one thing I was wondering about last night… Will I still think in English? Fairly often, I mean?
I’m surprised I was already thinking in English way back when. I haven’t forgotten what I looked like, PHOTOGRAPHS WERE INVENTED, you idiot. *eyeroll* I think I would have been surprised to know that I have turquoise hair still. I’m sorry to tell you I still think I’m ugly and fat, only this time the latter is also real.
These days I’m inclined to think I’m a smart girl for a 15 year old. That I think differently and see things differently from others. I wonder if that’s narcissist thinking? I had fun writing to you, but now I have to go!
I still think I think and see things differently from a lot of people, although I’ve only recently accepted that it’s really true. I was a smart-ass of a 15 year old, that’s for sure.
What do you think? Should I write another letter to myself, to open when I’m 45? Have I changed? What would you tell your 15 year old self, if you could?