Letter To My Younger Self…

Letter To My Younger Self

Landing Bay, Terra Two, July 11th, 3245

My beloved Lelia,

I was a willful child. My mother blamed it on an deplorable lack of discipline during my developmental years and my father on some fateful genetic legacy, one that came with the fiery hair, no doubt, and for which he didn’t feel his side of the family was in any way responsible.

Time softened my rough edges, one starts noticing in adulthood that some of the most abrasive commentary served in the name of truth speaks more to the arguer’s inner conflicts than to the situation at hand. We are often blindsided by people’s personalities, values and reasons because we are used to whitewashing our surroundings until they reflect our own. It is more comfortable to live this way, in the world according to yourself, it doesn’t require you to stretch your character to welcome other people’s perspectives, and therefore it never forces you to choose between yours and another’s point of view. We’re all guilty of this at times, there is just too much information to process and one can’t possibly analyze every thought during every moment of every day, but you should at least attempt to see your loved ones without passing them through the strainer of your own perception first.

As you grow older you start paying attention to who you really are, what you value, what you believe, what you love. I know you think you already have these things pegged, but you don’t, not really; it is a paradox of the human mind that the less one knows about oneself, the more certain one is one has all the answers.

My mind had to stretch, sometimes painfully, to realities I couldn’t fathom in my sheltered childhood. I had to adjust to customs completely alien to me, surroundings that lacked in the most basic elements that make life sustainable, environments in which the laws of physics I grew up with simply did not apply. You learn to adapt really fast to these changes, become very quick on your feet, and take nothing for granted. You start realizing you are not a person reacting to an external environment, you are a symbiotic part of it, a parameter in a closed system, and one whose existence and actions always have an impact on the whole. This is an insight both thrilling and humbling, and after having it you stop indulging in the pests of the human spirit — false modesty, self-aggrandizing, phoniness, envy, anger, and despair. You were taught to do unto others as you would unto yourself, but oh, so many times, what you do unto yourself can be so callous and damaging you wouldn’t wish it on an enemy. What you wouldn’t think or do to others you shouldn’t do to yourself, either, because you are equally important in your world to anything else around you.

Once you realize your life is a responsibility as much as it is a gift, you start questioning your own choices, you become aware of risks you didn’t notice in your younger, more innocent years, you see your life path as a whole, not a day by day set of stepping stones that just happen to fall into place. You realize you have to plan the way you want your story to unfold, it won’t just happen to you, and if it does, that is not a desirable outcome.

You come to terms with the fact that you are not the person you thought you were, and start cleaning those nooks and crannies of your mind where you dump the truths and feelings you don’t want to confront, places that, just like a junk drawer, tend to fill up quicker than you have time to find more storage space.

You lose your mind shackles when you discard your need to be sure, right, safe and accepted. When this happens you are petrified because you are not used to deciding what you want to contribute to the world, you just assume the world will present you with a set circumstances that you’ll have to react to.

Having choice is terrifying, exhilarating, burdensome, and a great honor. Don’t take it in stride. Don’t expect it to go away. Don’t assume somebody else will take care of it. It’s all you, baby, you’re the master of your life: you clean it, you lead it, you keep it wholesome, you reap the benefits, you bear the responsibilities, and aside from God you should be the one who loves you most. How else are you going to engender trust and excitement in other people about your life’s purpose?

It is harder to live this way, by orders of magnitude, but no human born would ever consider going back to the way they were after their eyes had been opened to this extraordinary world of wonders that we have the privilege to share.

As for my hair, I don’t know what distant ancestor bequeathed it to me. It may or may not have influenced my personality. Because I love my work and am so devoted to it, I learned the qualities that didn’t come naturally to me: patience, confidence, decisiveness, authority. It turns out one can successfully run a science institute with a soft voice and an accommodating temperament, even if one tends to get sidetracked on occasion and one’s fiery hair can be spotted from a mile away.

The only question that remains is “What do you want to do?”

I love you sweetie, and wish you nothing but the best!

Yours truly,


(From Letters to Lelia – Day Nine – Uncertainty)


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