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Back to the Present - A Letter from My Future Self

A 2021 Retrospective from My Future Self to My Present Self.

By Laquesha BaileyPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
Second Place in Dear New Year Challenge
Back to the Present - A Letter from My Future Self
Photo by Delorean Rental on Unsplash

Dear Laquesha,

Hi. This is me (or you, I guess) from the future.

Don’t freak out, you’re not going crazy. I hope you’re doing well. Though, I suppose that I do know that you’re alright because I am you (or I was you?) 12 months ago. I’m currently penning this letter on December 31st, 2021 while sipping on a divine cup of chamomile, hibiscus tea on the precipice of falling into the 2022 New Year. Spoiler alert: the world did not self-destruct or crumble to ash in 2021.

It hasn’t exactly returned to normal either, though things have improved markedly from the fever dream that was 2020. You graduate in 4 months (!!!) and are halfway through your undergraduate thesis. You’re writing about patterns of domestic violence across Latin America. You haven’t decided on that yet but will soon enough. What else? Oh, Manchester United won the Premier League which was the wildest thing to happen this year! Who would’ve thought? You also got to go home for Christmas for the first time in two years. And went on quite a few disastrous dates but…you’ll see for yourself. I won’t spoil it for you.

I’m writing to discuss some of the New Year’s Resolutions that you set for yourself at the start of 2021. At the end of 2020, after some deep reflection on the events of that dumpster fire of a year, you decided that you no longer wanted to set massive goals that you reneged on as early as February. You even wrote an entire article to that effect. Constructing overarching systems held up by micro-habits seemed like the best route to take at the time. God, thank you for seeing that! Because of this, it was easier for me to make changes incrementally this year with a clarity of mind and without feeling guilty that I wasn't doing enough. Let’s talk about the systems you planned to construct and how that worked out for you. I mean, me. Us?

1. A better relationship with money

Currently, my relationship with money is still nothing to write home about. I’m positive it’s a lot better than yours at the start of January though. Wow, you were in a tough spot! Rest assured, I saved $5000 in 2021 which isn’t an overly impressive amount but it’s $5000 more than you have in the present timeline.

I haven’t completely limited eating out to once a week like you envisioned but I made a new rule. Now that I live downtown, I can only eat out if I’m willing to walk to the restaurant and pickup my food instead of getting it delivered. More often than not, when I get the urge for Mexican food at 11PM, it’s offset by my unwillingness to creep outside at night to get it. Or I do creep out and, in addition to saving a buttload on delivery and service fees, I also get a nice walk in.

I'm embarrassed to say that I don’t religiously track my spending like you planned but I have been good about waiting at least 2 days and really thinking before making purchases over $100. You were right. During that grace period, it was easier to weed out wants and impulse buys from actual items that would add value to my life.

2. I wish to lead a healthier life

In 2021, I tried running again and ended up with a busted knee…again. Please don't aspire to be a runner in 2022. I think it’s time to admit that some things are just not made for us. On the bright side, I did keep your promise of working out 4x a week. It was easier to do this time around because some time in March, it started revolving around more than just the way my body looked. Exercising made me feel strong, powerful and perseverant and that made it easier to carve out time each day to move my body. I also tried skateboarding for the first time this summer, initially falling a lot and bruising my knee (yes, the same bum knee). After spending three months consistently skating in the park, I'm proud to say you can now skateboard (kind of).

I now have a consistent sleep schedule and the bags under my eyes have all but disappeared. I often still forget to drink water until I'm reminded by a splitting dehydration headache but I'm working on it. Also, please don’t be so hard on yourself about food. And definitely don’t punish yourself for indulging every once in a while. There is no such thing as "bad food". I’m assuming me writing to you creates a new timeline and effectively destroys the one I’m in, so I beg you: please realize this fact before I did in 2021 and save yourself a lot of grief surrounding food.

3. I wish to have a more fulfilling university life

School was interesting in 2021 if only because I didn’t take things too seriously. Don’t worry, your GPA didn’t suffer (too badly). I randomly took a class called the “Social History of Alcohol”. I really don’t know why. We don’t even drink alcohol. I also enrolled in an American Sign Language class and even though the silence was jarring at first, it became one of the most interesting and impactful classes I’ve ever taken at university.

I attended seminars on a wide variety of topics that interested me from veganism to leadership to black entertainment to…sex toys (don’t ask). As for the habit of limiting university work to weekdays, didn’t work. Did. Not. Work. I think you underestimated how busy you would be this year when you wrote that resolution. But I saved Sundays for you. We don’t do work on Sundays. And even on those days when I was the busiest, I remembered to carve out time to breathe and relax so I didn't combust into a million pieces.

4. I wish to be happier this year

I was happier in 2021. I truly was. Journaling was not fully incorporated into my daily routine like you had hoped. There just wasn’t space for it. I did, however, grow both my yoga and meditation practice. We can do the side splits now!!! Only took 9 months of nightly stretching to do the trick but it was completely worth it! Social media became something that I used more intentionally and deliberately instead of mindlessly scrolling and liking.

I started exploring my passion for writing more and have published 20+ articles on Vocal this year! Drawing and painting became an integral part of my self-care routine. I also focused on developing and creating genuine connections with my friends and family and axing the relationships that were negatively affecting my mental health, just like you wanted. I still have a long way to go in terms of boundary setting and dealing with my childhood trauma but I'm getting there.


I think that’s as much as I can say without completely messing up the course of the universe and accidentally triggering World War 3 or something. I just needed to write to you, Laquesha, and reassure you that things turn out all right in the end, even if it’s an end that’s not exactly as you imagined it.

I know you have a problem with yielding control. I know this because I have that problem too. That’s why 2020 was so hard for you, because it felt like there were more things outside your sphere of control than in it. You cried a lot in 2020. I can’t promise that you don’t cry in 2021. I think in 2020 you were sad and lonely because you believed that life could have been better. You don’t know that definitively, and life could always be much worse.

As humans, when things suck, we always assume it's because we're in the darkest timeline. The truth is that there are a million different timelines and every decision and action in every moment has the potential to drastically change the course of your existence. You have more power than you realize. When you recognize this, you gain freedom. I’ll leave you with that. I love you and can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of 2021. From one version of yourself to another, it will be amazing. You just have to believe it.

With love,



About the Creator

Laquesha Bailey

22 years old literally, about 87 at heart. I write about self care, university life, money, music, books and whatever else that piques my interest.


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