I love myself a little better than I thought.
An email landed softly in my Inbox on New Year’s Day. It read, “The following is an email from the past, composed on December 31, 2017. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org.”
Sending myself a letter through time was a tradition I’d wanted for a long time. I didn’t know I sent one. Because of course, who else would know that wish and fulfill it for me? And it turns out that Apple of 2017 was smarter, more graceful, and more magical than I gave her credit for when I was her.
“Dear Apple of 2018,” it begins. “How are you? I hope 2018 was kind and forgiving.” She goes on to recap how chaotic and weird her year was, but look at that. The first thing she does is to tell me her hopes.
What a girl.
“I’m pressured to not place too much pressure on you, but I have so much banking on growth. The biggest thing I have to say about this year, with all its fears and failures, is that I grew. And I don’t know what I’d do if I found out that I stopped growing in the future. I write this in hopes that I turn out wrong, and somewhere in the future you’ll feel proud of yourself for keeping on going and you’ll wonder why I was ever worried.”
Even when she doubts, she hopes. And even when she hopes, she hopes for more for me.
And then she begins to ask questions—about whether her wishes back then came true for me, about how much I created, whether I left my job or got promoted, and if my heart is intact. But it’s open-ended and soft—
Who did you meet this year? Which people are you holding close as 2019 begins? Where have you travelled? How is your mental health?
Are you well?
Are you happy?
Then get this: even knowing she’ll never get a reply, she proceeds to tell me she’s proud of me. She tells me she hopes I’m proud of me too, for nothing more than reading the letter she wrote because it must mean I lived to read it, lived past all the urges to take my life that she must have known I would face. And that, she says, is the greatest achievement of them all.
I’m crying because I do not recognize her. I do not recognize the Apple who forgives me, comforts me, and thinks of me above everything. I do not recognize the girl who did not care how many achievements I had before she appreciated me, who used her sweetest resource—her words—to carry me and not to hurt me, who loves me with no doubt in her mind that I would, in a year’s time, still be someone deserving of her love.
“There is so much I want to tell you, but there is so much I do not yet know,” she confides. And lastly, she says, “I love you more than a year can hold.