A Letter from the Past: From You, To You
If you’re reading this, you made it another year and for that, you should be grateful. If nothing else, you can proudly say you survived. Before I begin, I want you to know that I realize this year was special and unique in ways that I can’t possibly understand. As a result, I have so many questions for you. Did you read more? Write more? Fall in love? Did you do the thing? You know the thing. These are questions that you of course know the answer to but I, the you of last year, never will. But that’s not why I wrote this letter.
This time is a transitional period. With it, you’ll have to chance to set new goals and imagine a new future. You’ll also have the chance to reflect on actions, goals, successes, and failures. I know that you can be hard on yourself. I know you didn’t do everything you wanted to do. But I’m writing to you to ask that you be patient and forgiving with yourself.
This year, like the ones before it, most likely brought you joy, pain, excitement, and disappointment. It’s very likely that you did things you never thought you’d do. Perhaps, you even met some interesting people or travelled to somewhere you’d never been. These things should be considered accomplishments. I also realize you had pitfalls and challenges and I hope they taught you something and made you stronger. Regardless, now you will need to take the good with the bad and keep moving.
My hope is that this year you smiled more, laughed more, and ugly-cried more. I hope that you spent more time with family, that you expressed generosity and gratitude, and that you did the shit that mattered to you. I hope that you resisted the urge to let society dictate what you could and couldn’t do. I hope you broke barriers and made a mark (even a small one). The hopes I have for you are endless. So much so that you could probably never live up to them completely. But that’s ok, because every year (really, every day) is a chance to be a little better.
I want you to know that this version of yourself is gone now. It only exists as a memory. Even so, who you were in the past laid the foundation for who you have become. Now it is your job to lay the foundation for the version of you that will follow. This is a job that should not to be taken lightly. Trust me, I know. And so, this is my advice to you: Set goals but leave room to live. Drop the toxic relationships and attitudes. Dance like no one is watching. And for Christ’s sake, smile – because you can, because you’re special, and if nothing else, because you made it another year.
DJ Jeffries is a self-proclaimed “intrapreneur” and entrepreneur with an obsession for challenging the status quo. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he’s been awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Fellowship, the University Innovation Fellowship (through Stanford University) and the Richard B. Fisher Fellowship (Morgan Stanley). He is the founder and editor of http://Led2win.com , an online motivation publication, the host of the Hacking Happiness podcast, and is currently an HR Innovation Analyst at Morgan Stanley.