Let me introduce myself! I am you from the future. A nearly 30 year old you and I want to have a chat.
My sweet sweet Naina, it’s 2012 and you are a bit unmoored, I get it. You are at a university that you think is beneath you and you have a LONG Google doc describing how to transfer universities so that you can finally live up to your “potential”.
My sweet sweet Naina, you are looking at turning 20 with excitement though! That’s good! You know that this is the decade where you will make friends that will last you a lifetime. You will find your soulmate and start a life with him. If the transfer thing doesn’t work out you will get a Masters from Stanford. You will be well on your way to becoming a CEO at a big tech company. You will be working at Google or Facebook. You will be traveling the world.
My sweet sweet Naina, I write to ask you to slow down and look around you and say yes. Say yes to things that won’t advance your professional resume, but will make you happy in the moment. Say yes taking on sports. Say yes to becoming a part of the Drama society. Say yes to those late nights hanging out outside the library and the SSE building. Say yes to LUMS Adventure Society trips (I genuinely regret you never went on one of those :P)
My sweet sweet Naina, I write to ask you to slow down and look around you and say no. Say no to the men who made you question your self worth. Say no to those who sacrificed you at the altar of their own progress. Say no to those who put you down because you were a woman. Say no to helping others and sacrificing yourself in return. Say no to helping Dazam cheat that one time. (That man doesn’t know how to cheat).
My sweet sweet Naina, I am sure you just zoomed past this. You just want to know how I end up, if I meet those goals you had set out. I won’t tell you. I won’t, because it doesn’t matter. You got some of those items on your checklist. But you also missed out on some. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that your happiness isn’t defined by this checklist. You will go through what was supposed to be a moment of pride on the checklist and cry through it. You will be going through the worst upheaval in your life and you will still laugh through it. You will retain some of those characteristics you are proud of. You will still be loyal, organized, generous. But you will also be more resilient, confident and proud.
My sweet sweet Naina, happy birthday! You just turned 20 and you are in for amazing ride my darling.