Zuzu Tang

Zuzu Tang
      Dear future self,   Use a freaking planner. Schedule things in. Stop thinking that you need to infuse everyday of your life with chaos to feel full. It’s okay to do some things at the same time everyday. It’s okay to use the measuring cup. It’s okay to have fully functioning technological devices and chargers that go with them. Most people do - all the time - and they turn out just fine.   Dear future self, write a book. One day, those journals you fill with pieces of yourself will beg to be written on nicer paper. When they do, let them spill like paint. Let the world read you. You’ll revel in the mess you are by reliving those stories for others.   Write about the time you peed yourself in the taxi. The time you missed two flights while sitting in the same gate. The time you sold half your clothes and became a self-proclaimed “minimalist”, which in retrospect, was incredibly stupid (considering the ten-dollar Uber you took to and from the thrift store. You probably made a whopping two dollars. Also, if you are still calling yourself a "minimalist", we’re in serious trouble). The time you didn't pay your phone bill for three months and people would call you and their calls wouldn't go through. You'd say "yeah, I have no idea what's going on, that's so weird". You knew exactly what was going on.   Indulge in these messy memories with the lightheartedness that comes with knowing they are in the past.   But also take time to revisit those people and places that shape your present. The trip to Switzerland with your best friends. The high school teacher that taught you to think deeper, write better. The kid you met in Portuguese class on your first day at Duke, the one you know will one day be the godfather of your children (If you already have kids and he isn’t the godfather, fix this immediately. Unless you are married to him... If so, good for you. You did well.) The friends that believed in you when you didn’t (write them a thank you note, twenty years late. Right now. Do it).   Just write the damn book. Your memories are worth sharing.   Keep the people you love tightly wrapped around you, to the point where they’re borderline strangling you. You know who they are. Don’t push them away or annoy them. Realistically speaking, you’ll annoy them, but be tolerant of their little things that annoy you too. Let them love you. Always remember to strangle them back. A symbiotic strangling if you will, (thank Ms. Rumble, your ninth grade science teacher, for teaching you the world “symbiotic”. Right now. Do it).   Dear future self, never stop curating the world around you. Keep taking note of the things you hear and see and read. Save the post cards, the sticky notes, the drawings and the mind-maps. Go back and read them. Laugh at the heavy determinism in your previous self, knowing how much she’s changed, knowing how much there is for her to change.    Make amends with whoever you’re pissed at. Right now. Do it.    Dear future self, knowing you, a part of you is still feeling like you aren’t enough. You are. Embrace the mess, embrace who you’ve become, and love yourself enough to know that wherever you’re heading, it’s probably somewhere pretty damn great.      With love,  Your younger self      Art by Natalia Mesa

Dear future self,

 Use a freaking planner. Schedule things in. Stop thinking that you need to infuse everyday of your life with chaos to feel full. It’s okay to do some things at the same time everyday. It’s okay to use the measuring cup. It’s okay to have fully functioning technological devices and chargers that go with them. Most people do - all the time - and they turn out just fine.

Dear future self, write a book. One day, those journals you fill with pieces of yourself will beg to be written on nicer paper. When they do, let them spill like paint. Let the world read you. You’ll revel in the mess you are by reliving those stories for others.

Write about the time you peed yourself in the taxi. The time you missed two flights while sitting in the same gate. The time you sold half your clothes and became a self-proclaimed “minimalist”, which in retrospect, was incredibly stupid (considering the ten-dollar Uber you took to and from the thrift store. You probably made a whopping two dollars. Also, if you are still calling yourself a "minimalist", we’re in serious trouble). The time you didn't pay your phone bill for three months and people would call you and their calls wouldn't go through. You'd say "yeah, I have no idea what's going on, that's so weird". You knew exactly what was going on.

Indulge in these messy memories with the lightheartedness that comes with knowing they are in the past. 

But also take time to revisit those people and places that shape your present. The trip to Switzerland with your best friends. The high school teacher that taught you to think deeper, write better. The kid you met in Portuguese class on your first day at Duke, the one you know will one day be the godfather of your children (If you already have kids and he isn’t the godfather, fix this immediately. Unless you are married to him... If so, good for you. You did well.) The friends that believed in you when you didn’t (write them a thank you note, twenty years late. Right now. Do it).

Just write the damn book. Your memories are worth sharing.

Keep the people you love tightly wrapped around you, to the point where they’re borderline strangling you. You know who they are. Don’t push them away or annoy them. Realistically speaking, you’ll annoy them, but be tolerant of their little things that annoy you too. Let them love you. Always remember to strangle them back. A symbiotic strangling if you will, (thank Ms. Rumble, your ninth grade science teacher, for teaching you the world “symbiotic”. Right now. Do it).

Dear future self, never stop curating the world around you. Keep taking note of the things you hear and see and read. Save the post cards, the sticky notes, the drawings and the mind-maps. Go back and read them. Laugh at the heavy determinism in your previous self, knowing how much she’s changed, knowing how much there is for her to change.

 Make amends with whoever you’re pissed at. Right now. Do it.

 Dear future self, knowing you, a part of you is still feeling like you aren’t enough. You are. Embrace the mess, embrace who you’ve become, and love yourself enough to know that wherever you’re heading, it’s probably somewhere pretty damn great.

 

With love,

Your younger self

Art by Natalia Mesa