Dear Future Self,
When the wind works against us in the dark,
And pelts with snow
The lower-chamber window on the east,
And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,
“Come out! Come out! —
It costs no inward struggle not to go,
I count our strength,
Two and a child,
Those of us not asleep subdued to mark
How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length —
How drifts are piled,
Dooryard and road ungraded,
Till even the comforting barn grows far away,
And my heart owns a doubt
Whether ‘tis in us to arise with day
And save ourselves unaided.
As you sit on 80th street at the beach, the first time you’ve been able to leave your house is Richmond, you are reflecting on this quarantine period and what life was like before, during, and what it might look like after. Right now, you’re in a season of life in between large changes in life which feels awkward. Back in Chapel Hill, you feel like you were just finding a sense of comfortability with the changes that were to come. Now, quarantine has put you back to square one, and, worse, it has forced you into this feeling of being “stuck”. Who knows what the future will hold now!? The numbers of COVID-19 cases and victims are unstable and unpredictable, allowing zero clarity and increasing levels of anxiety. There is so much anxiety in the unknown; and we are surrounded but nothing but the unknown right now. You still hope in the Lord and in His plan for the world but still do have days where this is more challenging. There are days where you try and predict the future or try to take control of your life. Meanwhile, you should be surrendering. Wow, how freeing that would be. You could actually sit there, on that porch, listening to the birds sing around you and for a moment, no worry about tomorrow. The only way to describe this feeling is heavy. The unknown, the stress and anxiety and even the pressure to remain optimistic are weighing your heart down, disrupting a peaceful state of mind. You still do have good days, but you still just feel like you’re not fully present; there is always something in the back of your mind reminding you of the anxious triggers. I hope when you read this again, when the quarantine period is over, you will be reminded of how you persevered through these strange, challenging times and the uncomfortable feelings that come with it.
What I, as the 20 year old version of yourself, want to address now, however, is one of the things that has kept me going. Finding inspiration in what is around me has been a saving grace. I’ve been putting energy toward my blog, which could no doubt still use some more. I’ve felt driven to exercise, being attentive to care for my physical and mental health. I have felt inspired to find new exercise routines, being creative in what I can do from home. And, moreover, I feel motivated to learn more about myself and what my passions are. I have been working to find that creativity that I would have once described as fierce not too long ago. I have found this intense excitement that I have been missing since the start of this quarantine period. Thinking about the future, when we are allowed to live our lives completely, I find myself inspired. I am inspired to broaden my skill set for a future job; to explore different careers are of interest. I have felt strongly for pursuing a career in the magazine industry. I followed up with a summer internship for a local lifestyle magazine in Charlotte and got it. I wanted to wake up and feel inspired! I wanted to wake up with a drive to learn more about what motivates me creatively. So, I bought acrylic shelves, learned how to drill molly bolts into the wall and hung them up with a display of my favorite magazines collected over the years. See, even the littlest things, with time at hand can provide.
I hope, when you look back on this, you haven’t lost sight of what has gotten you through worse…
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5