You have been born. Against my wishes as a selfish, anxious millennial, you have been born. And my dear, if you are here, I hope that you are happy.
If it is the year 2030, I am now 34 years old. If it is 2050, I am 54. (Perhaps if my flame has continued to burn for this long; perhaps I have already rejoined the stars.)
As the Internet likes to remind me, every time an amazing, awesome, or terrible event arrives at our fingertips: What a time it is to be alive.
Our world is warming. Our world is changing. Our world isn’t responding as quickly or as rationally as I would like it to be.
And I went to university to change that — to change the inaction and the apathy I witness happening on a global stage every time there is a commitment but no change in our complacency as an unsustainable society.
But I have learned that our beautiful world doesn’t care what empty promises we may make in the shadow of looming change.
I have learned that Rachel Carson was right, in both a terrifying and truthful kind of way, but that so many other women and men were, too; we have just stopped listening. I have learned that shouting into the climate void can be lonely and ineffective, so I’ve stopped trying to do so and just breathe and enjoy what I have around me, while I still can, and inspire others to live as simply, too.
I have learned that “it takes a village” — but sometimes only a village, not the entire world — to implement incremental, effective changes in the way we live our lives, how we can better the world around us as individuals. I have learned that evading the problem is not a sustainable solution, and there’s not enough time in my lifetime to accept this tempting passport for escape.
I have learned that positivity has power, and that I’m tired of projecting the doom and gloom of my generation that is now yours; I no longer wish to live a life of hopeless misery, but will instead live hopefully, believing in the adaptive, creativity ingenuity of people like me who care so desperately that it has to work, right?
Maybe I am foolish. But maybe I would rather live in happiness, for as long as I can manage, and for as long as I am able in this beautiful messy life we call ours.
I have no control over all of the people, the events, and the experiences I will encounter in this life, not really. And, if this summer has taught me anything, I am content (because I have to be) living in this limbo, this seemingly endless waiting for the opportunity to change, when really the opportunity exists within our very selves all along.
I have learned, perhaps most humbly, that I have been wrong. That I have been wrong about love, about what I wanted from myself and what I wanted from you. I have learned it is okay to change course and try again.
I have learned, ever so slowly, to forgive myself.
Perhaps, that is all that I ask from you — that you forgive me. Forgive me for feeling guilty, denying myself the right I have as a woman for so long; forgive me for wanting so desperately to change the world and just not knowing how right now; forgive me for all of my fears and for all of my doubts; forgive me for not putting more trust in the future, your future.
Dear Tomorrow, I hope I can count on you to arrive with the next setting sun. But if the hour fades and you don’t arrive, I won’t ask why. I will just know that there wasn’t as much time as I thought. And what a terrible, terrible mistake it will be if I should leave this world with regrets.
I am learning to live as wholeheartedly as I can — and I hope, for your sake, that I continue to do so, all the years and months and days and seconds I have left to share my story with you.
With sincerity and admiration,
This essay also appears on Medium