Dear Jonathan,

Greetings. Hi. Hey. What’s up, my dude? Don’t reply with “nothing much” because if you’re anything like I am now, you’d still say that. It’s weird to even think that I’m writing to my future self. In all honesty, it sounds like an exercise from a fifth grade English class, helping us figure out what we want to be in the future. But if you’re anything like I hope you are, or like I hope I will be, you’re a wanderer; you still haven’t figured things out, because right now, at this moment, I know I never will. 

Do you remember that one moment in time? That one poignant moment in time? You know what I’m referring to; I know you do. You aren’t able to forget about it because that memory is still lodged into my brain by a sledgehammer.  It’s a moment that changed your life, the moment that changed your life…yet you failed to do anything about it. Or did you?  It’s been less than a year for me, but much longer for you since it happened, yet I am still to change a damned thing in my life. Do I ever change? 

I remember it clearly, and by now, you should too. It was the work Christmas party. You knew you had to leave early; it was a Monday night and you had an 8 a.m. class the next day—yet you stayed. Why? Why did you stay? I know my motivations when I look back now, but you, future you, or future me (?), did you see something that I don’t see at this current moment? A hidden agenda? A secret motive that I find out about years down the road? But today, in the now, I knew what would have happened.

You, I, we, were surrounded by people who appreciated us, people who we didn’t know loved us. When we heard the manager announce our name and the crowd applauded…do you remember that feeling? I bet you do. It was a feeling like we had won. But what did we win?

All of this has been leading up to one moment—the big moment I’ve mentioned here in this letter. We were sitting at a table by the bar, certificate in hand, just staring at our glass of water. Across from us was a colleague who had also won an award, quite literally mirroring us without intention. It was a moment of victory…yet impending defeat. We had won a war, yet we knew there were still more battles to come. We had conquered the darkness, yet we knew that bright flame would flicker…and then fade to black. It was a moment I could never accurately describe, but I could only come close to defining it by saying I had found solace in the sublime. It was a moment shared with a most trusted friend, yet we never spoke of it. Did you see it the same way?

As I stared into that glass of water, the looking glass, I saw a figure. I saw myself, as I am in this moment, but I also saw my past self, and my futu—well, I presume it was you. I saw my past mistakes and my future mistakes come at me at the speed of light, each and every one of them. Everything I failed to do and everything I will fail to do—all of it was in your eyes. So, tell me, are you defined by your failures? Is that all you see?

Alas, this letter has come to an end, as all things must. But please, I beg of you to answer me this one thing: “Are you, the one I am writing to, the future me…are you the me who succeeds? Are you the one who finally gets it right? Or are you the failure I am yet to become?

J Q HOIDN is a Canadian multimedia writer and editor who has a passion for storytelling and meaningful narratives. Despite his preference for writing poignant and humorous tales, he loves to challenge himself with new topics, mediums, and perspectives. When he isn’t writing, you can find him either cooking or dabbling in game development.