Warren started a good New Year’s tradition last year, asking his readers to post a new photo of themselves along with a message to their future selves. I took part and promptly forgot about it, until he posted again this year, reminding everyone to “Go back and look. Drop a message back there to your past self, and let them know how things went.”.
Looking back was a profoundly odd experience, both distant and intimate, and my post felt incredibly difficult to answer, as well as follow up. It is generally the difficult things, however, which are later the most worthwhile, so I took part again, and expect to keep doing so for as many years as I remember.
This is my letter for this year, to the Jhayne of 2010:
You just took this picture with the camera that Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s photographer gave you to use in lieu of your dead one. It’s been that kind of year. Hold onto the wonder of that, hold onto that progress and use it to the last possible drop.
Unfortunately, when you took this picture you had to hold the lens on by hand because the bouncer who searched your bag last night dropped it onto cement and cracked the lens. It’s been that kind of year too.
Other things have happened which have been just as unexpected in both directions. You broke off with That 1 Guy, but met David, and have been trying to make a life with him to some stable success.
You traveled more this year than you have since you were a child, and for the first time you revisited every place you’ve called home: Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, L.A., and San Fransisco. (The friends you made in those places are important. Keep in touch. Send those packages you’ve been thinking about, it’s never too late.)
This upcoming year, you’re going to start selling prints and get more serious about creating. You’ve been supporting David, and that’s been taking a lot out of you, but once he gets a job, insist on that time for yourself. Insist that you keep up the 365 with no slacking. I want you to write more as well, to stay up late and pound on the keys about something you care about, and see if you can’t post every day, too.
That said, I want you outside more, too. You live in Vancouver, it’s got trees and things, you might as well go visit them once and awhile. I know you want to spend all your time working to pull yourself out of debt, but there are other priorities too, and you’ve well discovered that keeping up the network will net you enough travel to keep you from going completely crazy, so don’t worry about it so much. Find more interesting things to be concerned about. The more you go outside, the more you meet people, the more likely you are to fall in love. You miss being in love, I know, because I’m you and it aches inside like an essential part of your life has been scraped hollow.
Also, go to New York. You know why. And get your driver’s licence. And your passport. There are people who have said they will pay for it. Stop feeling too indebted and bloody well take them up on it, or I’ll come over there and thrash you, see if I don’t.
ps. learn to code, too, and get that website happening. a huge chunk of your life is on hold because you don’t know how to make what you need.