Find your way home


When I was a kid, I would write myself letters — letters to my future self: “Dear Carrie Older Than Me …” I would put the letter into an envelope, seal it, and write the date on the front when I could open it and read it. Sometimes, when I’d open the letter, I’d write back to myself: “Dear Carrie Younger Than Me.”

I’d ask and answer questions.

Unanswerable questions. Mundane questions.

Sometimes, I’d forget to open the letter. It didn’t seem to matter much. The important act was writing the letter. I suppose this was a way to imagine myself as a changed but interested party. The difficulty was imagining beyond the limits of my current self. Yet I persisted in the attempt. Who am I writing to now? Who is this post addressed to? Maybe there is a sense of a future self in these words; but it’s always the present self who remains the curious one, the one searching around for a way to define her hopes, to express where she’s at, what she’s doing to sustain herself.

I wonder whether I’m persistently motivated by the idea that I will change, and become better? What would it feel like to be at peace with this imperfect self? (Funny that my assumption is that change will result in betterment; or that betterment requires change.) But here’s the truth revealed by the pandemic, in case I’d missed it: Change happens, no matter what. Time holds us to this promise. It’s strange, but I think waiting itself is a way to cope; but what am I waiting for? The pandemic reveals my relationship to time. If I’m waiting, I won’t be present. Presence can be painful, when the unknown is so clearly in charge; but the unknown is always before me. And presence is what I want, and it’s available. It’s here. Now.

Dear Carrie Older Than Me,

How are you doing? Are you floating along on the surface of things? Are you remembering to breathe? Are you being kind to yourself? Have you found a container for your fears?

Are you someone whose feet are on the ground, do you feel rooted and strong? Do you have the courage of your convictions? Do you shed your fears or do you live beside them?

Please write back in a year, or ten; or a hundred, or so.

xo, Carrie Younger Than You

March reflections
Hey, universe

1 Comment

  1. Carrie Snyder

    Dear Carrie Younger Than Me,
    It’s only been 5 months or so, but I feel compelled to write back you. In answer to your question: How are you doing? I am feeling whole, resilient, even while holding some particular regrets perhaps too closely. I am feeling less grounded than I’d expected to, in my community (communities), but I’m feeling very grounded in the purpose that seems to be calling loudly right now: to write. These past five weeks of revision have been blissful, purposeful, satisfying, deeply satisfying. Like: this is where I belong. An exercise in accepting my own limitations and sinking into the process of walking through a task. Not running, not screaming, not jumping, just walking, step after step. Stopping to breathe, to look at the stars. Fear was with me too, but its voice faded as the work took over. I’ve also felt looser, funnier, I’ve been able to laugh at myself and my foibles. A child spilled a whole tub of sour cream on the floor and I laughed with her, we cleaned it up. Nothing in me was triggered to respond with upset or anger, as I would have in the past (a regret, I confess, though I never knew how to fix it; has it been fixed?). I’ve felt present in my body. I don’t know why I simultaneously feel less connected to community; I’ll keep exploring that aspect of this experience. How much outside / public / volunteer work should I commit to, do I want to be doing, is necessary and helpful and useful to the world, and to my self?
    All for now. xo, Carrie


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