So, as you may know, I write a small newsletter that appears in the stalls and over the urinals at my office - I call it The Bathroomian.  It's not fancy, and the circulation and readership are miniscule, but it makes me happy, and that's enough.

The most recent issue was a horoscopes issue, which is what I do when I can't think of anything I'd rather write.  In a way, they're actually harder to create than one that requires research, because I can't plagiarize borrow from other sources.  I'm not an actual astrologist, but I can write 12 goofy little paragraphs vague enough to pass any baseline test.

I will say, though - I try to give my own star sign, Scorpio, something a little quirky that's a little "just for me".  And this issue, I delivered:

This, I think, is a kind of clever writing prompt, don't you?

Without further ado, here's my email to my January 1994 self - roughly 30 years ago.

To:  stwb@music.cc.uga.edu

Dear Allison 1994,

Hi, Allison 2023 here.  I'm about to turn 49, and there you are, already 19.  I'm sure you didn't recognize my email address, because in the future, email addresses are not just a random string of characters assigned at the computer lab on South Campus.  You get to pick your own email!!! Don't worry about Gmail just yet - that will make sense eventually.

Anyway, you may notice we have a new name.  Well, it's new to you - I've had it for ages.  Don't worry - you'll get there. You may also notice that the name isn't the same one of the guy you're dating now.  If I may, could I suggest you go ahead and let that relationship go now?  You'll save time,  money, maybe some heartache.  He's a lovely person, he's just not your person.  In fact, go ahead and walk away from that whole group for now.  He's fine, the adjacent folks are toxic - both the Texas and Georgia people.  You'll see.   

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that after a slow launch post-college, you finally get it together starting around 32.  Your thirties and forties are going to be better than you can imagine - the twenties are fine, really - they're just... a lot of rolling the rock up the hill repeatedly. But with more improv classes.  Save money now.  Don't get a credit card.  Start eating right soon because it only gets harder when you get older.  If you could quit sugar like, today - that'd be smart.  It might help.

You are going to get married of course (see new name above), though you may be late to the game.  That's OK.  It's going to work out nicely.  Like everything, sometimes, you are going to second-guess this, but it is worth the work.  He and his people are good people.  Just trust me.  Marriage isn't always easy, but it is always worth it.

You will have 20 more years with Dad - enjoy them.  Mom is still very much alive, and boy, are you in for a surprise, there.  She's going to have a boyfriend.  I'll let you suss that out for yourself, but when I tell you that you're dead right that Memorial Day, you are. Maybe keep it to yourself and let it play itself out, but you know what's happening well before everyone else does.  It'll be fine.

You are going to have a few great dogs - one at a time.  My hope is that you'll get to keep having good dogs for forever.  Fingers crossed, OK?  And don't worry about them dying so much - you'll be OK when it happens, and it prepares you for Dad.  As much as possible, anyway.

Don't worry about college - your grades are going to be fine, you'll love getting a minor in French and a major in Journalism.  Don't change a thing.  Granted, would it have been smart in 1987 to pick Spanish over French?  More than you know.  Still, you can speak French even today, and your accent is TO DIE FOR.

So, you don't end up in Roswell.  Not even metro Atlanta.  Not even Georgia.  But that's OK.  You love it where you are.  Here's a secret - you're happy, and you can be happy wherever you are.  This is going to be a helpful truth about you.

Now, despite the fact that we are a happy person in aggregate, pretty soon, you're going to encounter your first bout with depression.  It doesn't last.  Well, it does, but you figure out how to manage it, so don't sweat it - you're going to be fine.  You won't talk about it when it happens, but by your 30s, people will talk about mental health all the time - it's fantastic. Just stay medicated and keep a good shrink in your back pocket - it's fine.

Listen, not everything in the future is good.  It's like 87% good, and then there are some issues with the climate, politics... in some ways, people are more open to being different - but in other ways, not.

You are going to have a nice place to live, people you love and who love you, and cute clothes to wear.  You finally get your hair sorted.  As a result of your break-up in a few months (sorry) you're going to make a bold hair decision, or maybe not so much bold as just, unfocused.  I can't let you not do it, because in a way, it endears you to people who may not have noticed you otherwise.  Just remember being in the back of that car with the sunroof open and smiling later this summer - that's a core memory.  Also, you'll learn in the 2010s what a core memory is. 

Now, you're going to have a few health blips on the radar, but nothing bad, at least so far.  They'll finally realize your tonsils are garbage in your mid 30s.  Take care of that, and even though it sucks for awhile after, it ends and you won't regret it.

Friends?  Holy cow, yes.  Kind of like with your career, it's a slow start, but by the time you are my age, you are going to be surrounded by the best people.  Lots of different kinds of friends, different places, different levels of friendship - but you're going to be someone people enjoy.  You will have your people.  There's this concept of being your "authentic self", which we totally are, and people like that about us.  OK - not everyone loves us - that's insane - we don't love everyone, either.  That's just how it goes - but you are putting out and getting back the right kind of energy.

You have a cool vehicle.  No, we don't have jetpacks here in the future.  We do have a female vice president.  We had a black president for eight years and he was amazing.  There was an openly gay candidate in the primaries in 2020.  You went to hear him speak!

Oh - and the world changes pretty drastically in  2016, then again in 2020 - different reasons.  Just hang on tight, because it ends up OK.  T-shirts will be your release valve.  Weird, huh?

It's all good.  You're going to be great.

I've kept you too long.  Head back to the sorority house, and mention this to no one.

Have lunch at Guthries for me sometime soon.  


Your Future Self

PS - Sweater vests are not your friend.  Love you, mean it!


Christopher said…
That was amazing to read. I'm not going to lie: I went back and forth between laughing and tearing up a little, so glad that you could be that forthright but also kind to your 19-year old self. And glad that, in spite of some major hurdles along the way, things have turned out all right.
I was just talking to some other friends about horoscopes and, well, you can probably guess this reaction is completely typical of a Sagittarius. But that's okay. Without explicitly saying so you offered a great prompt to accept who we are.