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Five years ago you were getting ready to travel back to the US after 4 amazing months in Budapest. Before Budapest, you assumed that after four months abroad you would go home, finish your bachelor's degree, go straight into a PhD program, eventually marry your boyfriend, and settle down in the American North East. You assumed by 25 you would be finished with the Master's segment of this, living in an apartment with L, and be preparing for a wedding.
But obviously those four months shook your entire world. Five years ago you were terrified of leaving James, of leaving your new international friends, of going home and having to pretend like something extraordinary didn't happen.
You finished your Bachelor's and moved to Italy. Then Prague. Then Morocco. Then Chicago. Then Lebanon. Then India. You've dated so many people and had such meaningful connections with them.
At 25, I really have no idea what the next five years will hold. For the last two years I've been trying to decide what I want to do with my life since I realized PhD wasn't for me. Now I'm pretty sure I will try to save some money from this fellowship, move home, start writing a novel, move somewhere new, and keep making a bit of side money while writing. I just don't see myself having a normal job anymore, even though I always thought that I would. But I'm too restless. If I am too restless for a real relationship, how will I be able to stay in one place long enough for a job?
Maybe, at 30, this won't be the case. Maybe I'll be in a job I hate. Maybe I'll be married, probably not. Maybe I'll have a baby. PROBABLY NOT. Maybe I'll be living in New York, New Orleans, South Africa, Taiwan, Australia, Europe, South America....Maybe I'll be dead, I have no idea.....
Maybe I'll run out of money quickly, hopefully not. Maybe I'll be fat (please don't get fat). Maybe my guitar lessons in Panchkula will pay off five years later. Maybe I'll speak Hinid. Maybe I'll speak Russian. Maybe Rohit is married? Maybe Leo is married? Oh God...watching Leo get married was hard, I bet....Maybe L has his own baby?
How's Rachel? Is she married? Is she happy? She doesn't seem happy now....
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, I hope the last five years since you sat on the ugly brown couch in Chandigarh, covered in Rohit's red and white sweater you haven't taken off for a week, cozy in your expensive, soft blue blanket, typing away to avoid thinking of writing this report and dealing with the Haryana government and how inadequate I feel on a daily basis... I hope they have been splendid.
I hope you have fallen in love again. I hope you haven't had your heart broken again. I'm 90% sure the grandparents aren't still alive and I hope you spent time with them while you could. I hope Mom and Dad are ok, I hope you are an auntie. I hope you have read and loved and don't think this letter is totally ridiculous.
I hope you think often of the girl you were at 25, or the girl you were at 20, and I hope you are proud of who you were and who you have become. I hope the mistakes I will make have been educational. I hope my successes are deserved. I hope I do a better job keeping in touch with old friends. I hope I am happy.
Here's to another great five years. Or ten years. Or whatever.
And if something bad is happening right now, I hope you think of laying in your bed in Chicago, crying constantly over Leo, and how quick a year went by when you were simply 24. And how quick whatever it is that sucks will go by. Or how fast India went by. Or any of the good or bad things.
I hope its great.
P.S. Your passport got full last year and you added 40 new pages. I hope it got full again.