So, today finds me working my way through entirely too many essays. I didn't have time to write something new, but here's something I wrote and put on my facebook a few weeks back. I'm sorry it's not something freshly written, and I apologize for this week just being a pair of lame introspective posts. Next week I'll try to throw in an additional hilarious story of what a horrible child I was for your trouble. Again, comments and criticism are greatly appreciated.
When I was 11, I had to write a letter to my future self for my honors english 7 class. I received this letter in the mail a long time ago, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about that letter a lot recently, and trying to reconcile the disparity between my vision of the future back then and my reality now. I decided it might be helpful to write a reply. Plus this way when I discover time travel I can totally freak my past self out.
DISCLAIMER: Ordinarily, when I write something, I go through and edit to make sure I don’t come across as a mental case. I didn’t do that with this.
Dear 7th grade Drew:
I got your letter a while ago, but it was only recently that I decided I actually wanted to respond to it. I feel like I owe you an explanation for how things ended up so different from how you pictured them being at this point in our life. I know things are nowhere near where you wanted them to be, but I’m hoping that by giving you the reasons why, I can both explain this to you and reflect some for myself.
I’ll start with the first thing you asked: I know you expected me to be going to Stanford to become a Zoologist/Veterinarian/Marine Biologist. Instead, here I am at Cornell, clear on the other side of the country, studying history and planning to be a boring old teacher. Once you get to high school, you’ll start actually doing some research into colleges, and you’ll realize that you don’t really want to go to Stanford. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, but I’ll let you realize those yourself.
Anyway, the bigger question is the difference in majors. Well, while you’ll keep the interest in animals and things like that, you will SUCK at science and math. After your first semester of college, you’re going to want to never have to take any of either of those classes ever again, and those distribution requirements will become a bit of a problem.
You’ve always liked history, even though I know you’re not a fan of Mr. Allen for turning everything into a drawing contest. But from 8th grade on through graduation, you’ll have nothing but amazing, funny, and interesting history teachers, and you’ll start to realize that maybe this is something you want to do. Plus, you’ll realize how sweet it is to get summer break as a grown-up.
Next, I guess I’ll give you a summary of the questions you asked about my personal life. First of all, your sister is in boarding school, so you don’t have to deal with her that much. I mean, you’ll still have some issues with trust and dealing with manipulative people, but that’s only partially her fault.
No, you don’t have a car of your own; even if you had enough money to both afford a car and pay for gas, you split your time pretty evenly between opposite sides of the country, so it’s just not practical. In terms of jobs, you’ve worked a couple of different jobs at Legoland, swearing never to do so again each time. You also worked at the fair one summer with Delani, who’s going to go from being that girl you were kind of a jerk to in elementary school to one of your best friends in the entire world. At college, you work as an usher for the music department, and you’re a supervisor in one of the dining halls on campus.
That question about whether or not I have a girlfriend is going to become both hilarious and a bit depressing over the next few years. The hilarity is simply because, once start your teen years, you’re going to realize that girls aren’t exactly your target demographic. Then it gets sad, because you’re going to realize a couple of things as you move into college.
First of all, you’ll realize that you’re both really awkward and kind of a dork. Second, you’ll realize that you tend to become EVEN MORE OF BOTH OF THESE THINGS when you’re around people you like, which tends to make people even less interested in you than they were to start.
Thus, you’ll enter your third decade of life (your pre-10 years count too) without ever really having been on a “date” as such. At present, it’s basically looking like time to start accepting the inevitability of being Forever Alone (you’ll get the reference once mom and dad finally upgrade their internet service and you start spending more time online), although things might look up if you grow out of being such a spaz.
Now that you and Craig are more or less technically grown up, both of our parents are working again. Spats passed away when you were in high school; you still miss her, but now we’ve got two new dogs, Chloe (who loves everybody) and Lizzie (who is terrified of you for no reason), and while they’ll never replace Spats, they’re awesome.
You still keep in touch with a lot of the people you do now; when James E moves away at the end of the year, you’ll never hear from him again unfortunately, but you make tons of new friends in high school, which just all around goes WAY better than middle school does. You and Craig can both drive now, which is kind of terrifying.
When you get to college, it’s rough at first, but you slowly but surely build up a group of awesome people to hang out and watch movies with. Also, I’m just realizing that, given the nature of this letter, I’m throwing around pronouns all willy-nilly like some sort of madman. I apologize, but hopefully you’ll know what I (we? you?) meant.
OH. THAT REMINDS ME. You kind of act like a crazy person a lot. Aside from the aforementioned dorky awkwardness, which will come up all the damn time, you’ve got wildly fluctuating self-esteem. A lot of the time, especially around people, you’re kind of arrogant (you develop all kinds of lovely personality traits to balance out your increase in douchiness, I like to think), very prone to sarcasm, and just kind of generally sassy.
On the other hand, when you’re by yourself, you pretty much have to be listening to music in order to keep yourself at least a bit distracted. Otherwise, you enter a vicious downward spiral. You’ll use pretty much anything to criticize yourself: your weight (still too high), your work ethic (still too low), your looks, your inability to deal with money like an adult, and you’ll kind of focus on how everyone else you know seems to be better about all of these things than you.
You’ll still have that uncomfortable nagging feeling that when you’re not around, your friends all meet up and talk about how they all hate you and they only hang out with you because it lets them gather further material to use when they all hang out and talk about how they all hate you. One of your best friends will introduce you to this French cartoon, and when you get to the end of the first season you (a grown man of some 19 years of age) will cry openly at what transpires. You will never let yourself live this down.
Sometimes, like now, you write things, but you can never decide whether you want to share them with people in an attempt to get critiqued/garner pity/try to make yourself understood.
Don’t get depressed or anything; you’ll go down that road enough as it is, and I don’t want to encourage that. There’s a lot of pretty legit stuff happening in your life too! Your family’s pretty cool. Now that you don’t live with your parents all the time, you don’t argue with them nearly as often.
You’ve got a metric f***tonne of friends at home to hang out with, and you’ve almost got more people you can be comfortable around at Cornell than you do fingers. You actually like the jobs you have right now, and they pay decently well.
Some of your classes are teaching you stuff you learned waaaaay back in third grade at Park Dale Lane, but other ones are really interesting and you feel like you learn a lot in them. And you do fun things, like have movie nights with your college friends and find going camping with your friends when you’re at home.
You are actually a halfway decent writer, even though you normally won’t admit it to yourself. If you were to take a photo of all your friends, it would look like something off of a college recruitment site: ridiculously diverse and all HIGHLY photogenic. Seriously. You basically find the most adorable, amazing people you can (,; and Zeke) and make them hang out with you.
While because of the aforementioned crazy you can’t be sure, most of them seem to really like you, and as long as they stay around, that Forever Alone thing I mentioned above isn’t going to be nearly as awful as it could be. Basically, your life is a bit of a roller coaster. One more lame thing: you have such low blood pressure that you totally black out on roller coasters. It kinda sucks, but you won’t really care because roller coasters will still be awesome.