Press ← and → on your keyboard to move between letters
It's been 2 months since we went into lockdown. The world outside is empty. Tumbleweeds blow through Time Square. The Sidney opera house is silent. The Mona Lisa has to make do with small snippets of attention from a passing security guard who, frankly, isn't convinced she's all that. The only places still bustling are Intensive Care Units.
We still don't know when it's all going to end, and my anxiety is mounting. I'm almost paralysed by it. It's impossible to know how much of my fear is altruistic... a kind of existential pain for a world that's suffering. The truth is, I think, that most of my anxiety is shallow, selfish. I'm upset I can't hug my mum, that she's in another country and it could be months, even a year, before I get to see her again. I'm worried that I'm too stupid or lazy to complete my dissertation. My Masters degree hangs in the balance. Complexities surrounding placements and Coronavirus mean that it could be another year before I'm qualified, and this uncertainty panics me. Beneath that is a fear that I'm not sure I even want to be qualified, and that beginning a career in the health service currently feels wholly overwhelming.
In a way, the millions of ill and dead and destitute and abused show the folly of my petty worries. My privilege, my luck, to be young and healthy and pursuing a post graduate degree. But the fear still remains, a panic that my body can't forget no matter what my mind tries.
I try to forgive myself, because I am unwell. Mental illness is a part of my story. Fear, dread, depression. Sometimes I find myself unable to move. Sometimes it turns into pain, nausea, fever, like my mind is overflowing and poisoning my body. But I meditate, and I breath through it, and I try to live a life that makes sense, that isn't about staying safe.
I'm in love too. He squeezes me tight when it all gets to much. He moors me to the surface of the earth so I don't float away. He's something physical to touch. Something beyond the anxious uncertainty of social media with its unread messages and ambiguous emojis.
I'm 24 next week. There's something to that. There's something powerful about knowing that time is still passing even as we're all standing still. I enjoy my birthdays. I'll drink champagne, and eat cake. I'll open gifts. I celebrate being as loved as I am. Being young, and beautiful, and being in love with a handsome man who fully embraces even my defects.
I won't ask you any questions, future me, even though I have many. I'm sure I know all that I need to. I hope that you still meditate. I hope you are still in love. I hope you are filled with gratitude when you hug your mum.
I suppose I am writing to remind myself that there is a future. Now, more than ever, glib remarks about apocalypse and the inevitability of death have become commonplace. It feels as if this virus has turned us all into Nihilists. But I believe in survival, kindness, and the human spirit. And I believe in you.
Best Wishes, future you. xx
Epilogue2 days later
Dear Past Me,
Thank you for your letter. The notification flashed up while I was on a treadmill at the gym. I felt shocked for a moment. It was like...
This user has written an update to this letter.To see what they wrote, please