Last Year’s Letter

I hold it in my hands, feeling it, weighing it, thumbing the seal.
The light blue, greeting card-sized envelope bears no stamp and no return address, only
“Adrian Dahlin, 22 Keefe Avenue, Holyoke, MA 01040”.
I lived there last year, with my family.

I’ve had the envelope for ten days
And haven’t figured out how to open it.
When they gave it to me I immediately stored it away,
Not ready to venture inside.
Now I imagine the contents,
Trying to see through their still-sealed, paper enclosure.
Already I begin to roll my eyes,
Anticipating the words waiting within.
“No doubt it will be full of cliches,” I assure myself,
“Things we’ve all heard and some of us have said
So many times they lose their meaning.”
Sometimes I wish the Author would do more living and less preaching.
Sometimes wisdom is silent.

I wander back and shake my head
At how naive the Author was twelve months ago.
He was a different man, then, when they told him to write it.
Twelve months ago, when I wrote it.

I have more courage now.
Sometimes wisdom is silent,
But when it speaks you have to listen,
Regardless of its source.

6/29/11

Dear Adrian, June 2012 Edition,

This is the time. This is your time. A tremendous opportunity was given to you, and you made the most of it. From now on, however, you have to earn it; you have to earn everything. You must expect that nothing will come easy, and act as if this is the case even if great opportunities come up in the future. You must be grateful for the good received, and more grateful for the good you will be able to do.

As you embark on the “real world” journey, if there is such a thing, do not forget the most important things. When you see an opportunity to make a difference, you will fill that niche, for this is who you are. But do not forget to BE your whole self. Do not let the whole suffer as a part develops. Remember Angela’s injunction to give yourself time and space to BE. Remember Mackenzie’s advice to give yourself breaks. Remember how important it was for Cameron to fly home from Guatemala over Christmas to see his family. Remember to learn from other people’s lessons–for as much as you grow, the world grows more around you.

Remember to write, Adrian of 2012, because your self of 2011 learned much simply by writing you this letter.

Write poems,

Sing songs.

Tell stories,

Eat wisdom.

Do,

And in the doing,

BE.

It’s a pleasure to know you.

Love,

    Adrian of 2011

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Author: adriandahlin

Graduate Student at NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress

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