A Letter in Hindsight

hindsight

Some people buy a gadget, read the instructions, and then attempt to operate it. I am not one of those people. I read instruction number one, skip to number four, try to use the gadget, and call for help! I have been successful because I watched and did what those who read instructions do; I am a tactile learner. That’s why I think that if someone had given me this letter years ago, I would have breezed through it and rushed off to ‘experience’ my life.

 

Dear Timi,

You are twenty-one, you have big dreams, you see the horizon, and your heart leaps to find what lies beyond.

You are gathering your first-degree transcripts in hopes of attending The London School of Economics (LSE). You dream of working for the World Bank. What you do not yet know is that a desire to be an influencer on a global platform fuels your dream.

“Oh no,” you protest, “I just want to be a banker like my dad.”

Sssh, I have seen the future. You will not attend LSE. You will fall madly in love, as you will do several times in your life, and give up that dream for love, working for a local bank instead. You will be content building a home and raising a family because living this way has also been a dream of yours ever since you played house at six and declared, “I want to be the mother!”

After many years, the walls of your home will constrict, narrower than your spacious hallway, making your breathing strenuous, as though your lungs were crushed. You will watch the birds migrate in winter and return in spring and long to change the seasons of your life. Heartbreaks will accompany your flight into new territory. After a shaky start, you will soar and break your wing mid-flight. Your recovery will be long because you will consult with doctors who do not understand how to mend your wing until you finally realise that you have power to grow a new wing. You will no longer fear heartbreak because you will know the rhythm of your heart and where its broken pieces fit.

Only then will you control the thermostat of your happiness. You will fall in love again but this time with yourself and revel in the wonder of who you are. You will stop parroting and start speaking your own words, a talking bird no less, ha! One day you will share your journal with your world and their acceptance will be the impetus to share it with the world. On your saddest days, you will write, not about your sorrow or pain, but about things that make people laugh and share in their laughter. This is how your words will dry your tears.

You will enjoy goodwill and people will help you along the way, only, you must discern where one person’s help stops and another begins. You will burn bridges at first because although you were taught the earth is spherical, you were not taught that life is a circle and a 4 x 100 takes lesser time than a 400m race.  If you find yourself in the ring alone or without help or friends, it will be your choice; someone somewhere will always be in your corner.

You will get to your Promised Land if you don’t hedge against making mistakes so much so that you live on the fringes of life, chauffeured in and out of existence by your fears. Your mistakes are semi-colons, you can write an independent clause after the pause. If you do this, you’ll see that nothing is wasted. Although you will not work for the World Bank, you will affect people all over the world, because words too are legal tender.

 

If you had to write a letter to yourself in hindsight, what would you say?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

Image credits: http://pixabay.com/en/legs-all-star-converse-casual-feet-407196/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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52 thoughts on “A Letter in Hindsight

  1. I sure would include how childhood dreams were mostly childish dreams; how growing up and changing the world are not as easy as imagined, else those ahead of me would have done so already, leaving (virtually) nothing for me.
    I would also mention how the take-off point and the journey through may hardly resemble the final destination.

    I did enjoy this piece, Timi. It gives much to brood over.

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    1. “. . . growing up and changing the world are not as easy as imagined . . .” XD ah, the idealism of youth tempered by the wisdom of old age, but not so tempered that the dream dies . . .

      ” . . . the take-off point and the journey through may hardly resemble the final destination.”
      Bunmi, you sound as though you’ve really grown. If you ever write the letter and consider sharing, I’d like to read it. Thanks for giving me a peek.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “your recovery will be long because you will consult with doctors who do not understand how to mend your wing until you finally realise that you have power to grow a new wing.”
    if i were to write a letter for myself, i will take my cue from here cos i have made mistakes and worst still counted on people not looking inward to see the power within.

    Ifeoluwa, thanks for sharing, Timi, kudos for writing, wordpress, tumbs up for creating the enabling environment for these two walking encyclopeadia to inspire as well as inform and entertain me……..

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    1. Thanks Freeman for sharing the direction a letter to yourself would take.
      I like to think that help from a community of friends when you’re down is wonderful, necessary even as you learn to walk again. The challenge is to know when the rope that saves you from drowning has become a noose around your neck 🙂
      Yes, ultimately we should take responsibility for ourselves.

      I am not a walking encyclopedia. I use dictionaries and a thesaurus while writing 🙂
      But that Ifeoluwa . . . he may qualify XD

      Thanks again!

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  3. I was reading this and I realized it’d been a while I read from you. Why? because your writings have this calming story-telling effect. I read it and I feel like someone like Wendy Darling (pardon the referral) is reading me one of those stories she reads to her brothers the night before they flew away with Peter pan to Neverland. The awe she used to pick each word as she narrated it to her brothers who had no option than to listen because she was very good. Yes, I kinda wish I could write like you. This letter was so…, I can’t even find the perfect words for it.

    I guess that’s how good it is.

    P.S: I opened your blog and a friend of mine saw your name and declared you were ijaw. I almost hung my mouth open because I’d always thought you were yoruba**coversface# Trueconfessions..loool

    P.S.S: I finally watched the Last of the Mohicans and asides the story, the score was really
    impressive for a movie that old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, the Wendy Darling analogy is touching. Thank you for your kind words. So, are you going to write a letter in hindsight or to your future self?

      @Ijaw, lol! I have friends from all over the world. I like to think that our values, shared experiences, and conversations, are bonds that connect us more strongly than tribe alone.

      I take it you enjoyed The Last of the Mohicans? If I have time, I’ll watch it again.

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      1. As for the last of the mohicans, it was a pretty sad movie for me.lool, but Daniel Day Lewis delivered a good protagonist role.

        Hmmmn, I’m still thinking of how and what my letter in hindsight would look like though 🙂 Will start working on it.

        @ijaw…, ah nooo, me I’m not really the tribe specific person. Infact, I always look for new names of different tribes to use in my story. hehe. The revelation by my friend just fascinated me because I must have been pronouncing your name in my mind in a different fashion and it would never have clicked if he never told me.

        Yea, there are soo much more that connect people than race, tribe and the likes. That’s another thing that’s disturbing Nigeria. Tribalism

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        1. If you’re up to it, a letter in hindsight can be an emotional but meaningful experience, well at least, that’s how it was for me.

          I’m sure you pronounced my name right 🙂
          Tribal sentiments are used time and again to divide us, and to perpetuate mediocrity. Yes, disturbing!

          I can’t remember the movie very well, only that it marked me deeply.

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  4. Beautifully written, Timi. Life is like a parcel; what you see is what you get. One may not achieve/become what he had dreamed of as a child/youth. But should that stop us or redefine who we are? I believe not. Everyday we are in a tug of war. Pull as hard as you can. There is still a chance that you can make be influence the next person. I’ve promised myself I’ll always find a reason to smile and be happy.

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    1. Hi Uzoma, there’s so much to chew on in your comment.
      “Life is like a parcel . . . ”
      “Everyday we are in a tug of war. Pull as hard as you can.”

      And finally, because I watched CNN for 30 minutes this morning, was down, and no one could cheer me up,

      “I’ve promised myself I’ll always find a reason to smile and be happy.”

      You’ve just shown me again that I am responsible for my happiness. And as I mentioned to Susan below, gratitude is the antidote to all that ails me. Thanks!

      The beauty of sharing conversation is the varied perspectives that we all bring. I’m glad that you decided to ‘talk’. 😀
      I should do a post about conversation . . .

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  5. “You will get to your promised land if you don’t hedge against making mistakes so much so that you live on the fringes of life, chaffeured in and out of existence by your fears” fear can steal so much from us , it makes one tiptoe around life . This piece is spot on, you share of yourself with us reminding us to just live, enjoy life, take chances . We may makes mistakes sometimes but even that is part of living and at other times if we will be surprised to find that these words are true “Come to the cliff, he said. They said, we are afraid. Come to the cliff he said. They came. He pushed them. And they flew” so in my letter I would tell me life may push you off a cliff but you can fly. At my slum book I still have it because I can keep things for a long time ,lols which sometimes is good and sometimes bad, creates clutter and all.

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    1. You still have your slum book, nice! It must be fun reading with the benefit of hindsight 🙂

      Some of our fears are valid. Learning how to overcome them can be a slow journey. That’s why I like the content of your letter in hindsight. Life indeed pushes us off cliffs, but we can still fly! Thanks for sharing, I’ll remember this.

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  6. The Paulo Coelho quote was quite moving, Timi! I liked this sepia and white photograph, too! I liked your independent clause after the pause, while on our way to the promised land, with our being two feet in. You have included so much depth and perception is this outstanding post, Timi! Hugs, Robin

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    1. Paulo Coelho writes about the difficult part of arriving at our destination- that when we are almost there, we begin to feel unworthy and forget the sacrifices we made or struggles we endured to get there. Some consciously or unconsciously sabotage this part of the journey so they do not arrive. The quote in the photo follows this line of thought.

      We talked about making mistakes earlier Robin. I guess we have to get up and keep going no matter what.

      @Photo, thanks. Finding a photo, which in my estimation, conveyed the mood of the post took time. Glad you like it.

      Hugs! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for explaining the philosophy of Paulo Coelho. This is interesting and I can see why we may feel unworthy. It is a human trait, while we should remember that we took the effort and time to reach our goals and ‘earned’ where we are. I am happy that you took the time to explain this and will try to remember not to ‘sabotage’ the joy that I deserve! Smiles, Robin

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Timi, I didn’t know you were a mother. Me too.
    I am so with you on the instruction’s manual. I am very tactile. I don’t learn well just reading or listening. I’m hands on all the way.
    Wow, if I were to write a ‘hind-sight’ letter to myself. That’s a tough one. Some things that come to mind are:
    -Grueling and painful. However, beauty, patience and maturity are developed in the soil of experiences as these.
    -Roller-coaster ride emotionally
    -Learning the need for balance between the emotional and the intellect.
    -That life is a school, and I will never stop learning.
    I read this quote today by Shawna Niequest:
    “Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we’re not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard.”
    Thanks for the opportunity to look a bit inwards and evaluate my past Timi. Great exercise. Inspires a post I think.
    🙂

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    1. “. . . life is a school, and I will never stop learning.”
      How true, just when you think you’ve mastered something, you see another side.

      “Grueling and painful.” Ouch! But the fruits you mention make the experience worth it.

      Thanks for sharing the things your letter in hindsight would include and the quote by Shawna Niequest. Yes, I think you should write a blog post on this topic, if you’re up to it 🙂
      Motherhood is a privilege, I enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Gratitude! I’ve found that gratitude is the antidote to everything that ails me, so yes I’m all for that ‘stern remonstration’ in your letter.
      One gratitude a day keeps the doctor at bay! Thanks Susan 🙂

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  8. …..You will affect people all over the world, because words too are legal tender.

    I paused for a very long time as I wasn’t sure I wanted to comment 🙂
    My letter would include words like ; don’t fall in love too early, live life for yourself once in a while, it’s okay if you don’t understand what’s going on at every point in time, do not beat yourself up when people let you down, it is DEFINITELY not a reflection on your judgement, never stop being Timiebi…

    *sigh* This just took a lot out of me! hehehehe. Thank you for this 🙂

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    1. The recommendations in your letter to yourself, speak to me. I am making peace with not understanding what’s going on at every point in time. “Don’t fall in love too early,” ha ha ha, the heart isn’t so smart, but perhaps your head will sidestep your heart 🙂

      I’m so glad that you decided to comment after all, because writing this also took a lot out of me- I started and stopped so many times! Your words make it all worthwhile.

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  9. First time I read this, Timi discerned my thoughts perfectly; too perfectly that I’ve been trying to see if I’ll respond to the piece differently by keeping it open in my browser for two days. My response is still the same: I’ll rather write a letter to my future self.

    Perhaps she used that suggestion thing Patrick Jane does on TV, but I’m still trying to figure out how she could gauge my reaction so well. I don’t want to be too much of an open book; they get broken in the spine.

    When I asked on Twitter how she knew what my reaction will be, she replied “because at this stage, looking ahead has got to be more interesting”. (Another Timi quote for the books).

    I’ve packed a lot into my two-decade-plus existence, but each time I try to look back I end up facing forward, peering into the future. I’ll take a pen, write a letter to my future self, and keep it where the restlessness of my younger self can’t touch until it’s time.

    Thank you for this Timi. There is so much of you in it, perhaps more than any other thing I’ve read by you, and I know how difficult that can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I don’t want to be too much of an open book; they get broken in the spine.” I understand your sentiments. On the other hand, open books have been read by many people or the same person many times, which could mean that the ‘story’ in the open book has been well-received or sticks longer in the minds of people . . .

      As I said to Maggielola, I wanted to write a fun post with clever graphics, but my heart would not engage. You’re right, this is the most difficult post I’ve written in a while, because not only did I make myself vulnerable, I also revisited the emotions that enabled me write words that move you!

      Writing a letter to your future self is a fantastic idea, go for it!

      @Twitter and your reaction, we’re all doing life together aren’t we? Our stories intersect more than we imagine that they do 😉

      Thanks Ife!

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  10. “If you find yourself in the ring alone or without help or friends, it will be your choice; someone somewhere will always be in your corner”- I thought about this for a bit and realised how true it is. I realised that i feel the most lonely when I’m sad as opposed to loneliness being the cause of my sadness. Bless your heart Timi. Your words are indeed legal tender and a source of inspiration and glee to us. So eloquentely and Timi-stically(lol) written as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like feeling sad, it saps my energy and like you, it makes me feel lonely. I’ve been fortunate to have excellent cheerleaders. What’s more, I’ve found wonderful cheerleaders in unexpected places just because I dared to reach out and connect!
      @ source of inspiration and glee, thank you Tomi. Then writing this piece was worth it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It would be a really long letter Timi; a 24yrs epistle.
    But basically I’d tell myself that I get to draw the grand plan of my own happiness; to stay prepared for when those curve balls come my way; and when I can’t kick, to try learning basketball. Our experiences teaches us something new every single time.
    Most important will be to tell myself to pay a lot more attention to those small moments. The grand picture is great, very great; but those small moments that tend to shrink, when we bother to bloat a picture becomes really visible. And we realize there are so many treasures that have been buried away in our mad dash for ambition.

    I’ll tell me to breathe. Life really is beautiful.

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    1. Lol@ really long letter 🙂 A friend told me about a letter she wrote at 13 for her 30-year-old self. In 4 years, she can read it. She cannot remember what she wrote. Another talked about secondary school year books and slum books, where we wrote among other things, our ambitions. I don’t have any of those, and so, I thought a letter in hindsight would be the next best thing 🙂

      “. . . and when I can’t kick, to try learning basketball.” Wow!

      I like the contents of your letter, especially the last two sentences. I spent a few years waiting to exhale. If only I had read your letter 😉 But hey, nothing is wasted.

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  12. Wow! This is a very nice post Timi.
    If I had to write a letter to myself in hindsight, it would contain first, the fact that if I’ll really achieve my dreams, I need to drop religion and get hold of God. Then it would contain an instruction to discover my life assignment as early as I could.
    “Your mistakes are semi-colons, you can write an independent clause after the pause.” That’s should be in my letter too. Of course, reading Timi Yeseibo weekly is an advice I’ll give myself too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Solid advice Ife, we don’t have to meander through life, flunking our twenties and thirties, and getting a reality check at forty-five! Mistakes are inevitable, perhaps indispensable, but don’t have to be the end of the story.
      @ reading Livelytwist weekly, aw, these kinds of statements make me cry and ask for wisdom 🙂 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Aah what a brilliant post! ‘Your mistakes are semi-colons…If you do this you will see nothing is wasted.’ That is so true. Nothing ever is wasted. A moment, a mistake, a love, a loss… it’s all important. I think i’ll write a similar letter some day:)

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    1. Hi Eric, I like to think that the broad outline is set, the broad outline being our talents, genetics, etc. We write the plot by the choices we make. Most of us do some ‘crazy’ stuff 🙂

      “I’d probably tell myself to take more risks. I think back and realize what little I had to lose.” Still chewing on this . . .

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  14. Aww shucks! Stop cutting those onions, livelytwist. My eyes… 😦

    This is sad letter, Timi. I can only imagine how many war stripes you’ve earned, how deeply the blades cut, how long your wounds took to heal. I’m speechless…but inspired nonetheless.

    My letter? I wouldn’t say too much. I’d just tell myself to stop wishing for what others have. The rich also cry…well they cry in their private jets. Lol 😀

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    1. Adversity is part of the human experience. Everyone cries, rich or poor, big or small.
      @sad letter, I dunno, I mean, I’ve led a pretty good life, and many things came to me easy. When I first thought about writing this, I envisioned a clever and humorous post. But when I sat to write, my heart betrayed me. In letting it lead, I had to relive some emotions, so I could capture them with words. Perhaps sadness stained the paper more than gladness?

      Nothing is wasted. I am loved, truly, madly, deeply, fiercely, and I am able to love in return. At the end of the day, for me, this matters more.

      Most times, while we are wishing for what others have, other people are wishing for what we have! I am learning to understand what I have and value it. It helps (a little), that people express their desire to have my writing skills, my looks, my wit, etc.

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  15. I don’t believe that lives are mapped out in advance. We make things up as we go along. Experiences build on those that come before.

    My life, like most, has had ups and downs, good decisions and bad, and more than my fair share of mistakes and challenges.

    But they all led to this door. So, no regrets.

    That said, if I could go back in time, I would tell myself two things:

    1. Don’t buy a bunch of STUFF that you need to store, dust, or insure against natural and man-made disasters. Buy Less. Do More. The best way to avoid clutter is not to purchase it in the first place. We travel best when we travel light.

    2. What THEY think of you is none of your business.

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    1. Even when we sow the best seeds, the path to our good fruit can surprise us. In that sense, I agree that our lives aren’t mapped in advance.

      No regrets, what a way to live! Point one, made me laugh; practical too. I’ll remember that we travel best when we travel light. I think that if we can master point two early, we’d be truer to ourselves. Thanks for sharing Nancy!

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  16. Oh my goodness! And this last line!! Floored by this idea. As you know I do dialogue back and forth with myself (mean girl voice) as therapy but I have never thought of doing this. How remarkable! Now I don’t think my letter could possibly be as good but I know asking you to write my letter for me is to miss the entire point. BRAVO, Timi!!

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    1. Write it, write it, write it! With your humorous style, it should be a hit. Mean girl can have a fit.
      As part of monetizing my blog, I could write your letter for a fee 😉
      Thanks Stephanie.

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  17. This honest approach, sometimes I must admit is mine, too! Timi, I think we are busy women, sometimes don’t want to take the time to understand and approach life, two feet into it, sometimes it means we make mistakes, other times, we are learning life the hard way! I wish I were more patient….

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    1. Aw, mistakes are part of the human experience. Nevertheless, I’m learning to slow down and read instructions; learning life the hard way can be really hard sometimes. Thanks for sharing Robin 🙂

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