Editor’s note: This week, as part of a task that would help us choose Learn Smart Pakistan Ambassadors, we asked LSP participants to write letters to their future 30 year old selves. The idea was to pick the writers of the best two letters as our Ambassadors.
The deadline for the task ended yesterday at noon. However, we are continuing to receive notes from students and can safely say: they’re absolutely amazing. These letters talk about religion, parents, Angeline Jolie, the fear of failure, marriage, independence, the need for acceptance, the desire to fit in. They remind us why its useful (from time to time) to wear our hearts on our sleeves and hope for the best.
What follows this small editor’s note is one of our longest blog posts yet. It’s mostly unedited. We’ve deleted last names and omitted school names and grade levels. All of these letters have been written by 9th and 10th Class students (so by students aged 14-16). We have also made sure the students are okay with having these letters up here.
Hello Mr. Suhaib,
Hope you’re doing well. As you’re 30 years old now, you’ve grown up enough to fulfill all your dreams and everything you desired or imagined in your past. So what are you doing now? You had dreamt of becoming a Software Engineer, a web designer/developer or a graphics designer. Also you started your career yourself at the age of 13 years. Have you fulfilled your dreams? If yes, are you working anywhere right now? Have you got a perfect job for yourself, like you wanted? Where are you living right now? You used to wish to leave the country,live alone and work hard and independently? Also are you doing what you wanted to do with your family? Are you now capable of keeping your parents in a great way? You also always wanted to be a good worshiper of Almighty Allah, have you done Umrah or Hajj yet? Lastly, I would like to ask you about your marriage, your family. Have you got a perfect partner for your life since you’re a 30 year old man now? Anxiously waiting for your reply.
Your teenage version,
Hey 30 year old Areeba!
I want to become a doctor in future as in our country there are no more people left to help others. One of my dreams is to open a school for poor people so they can study and get a good education because education is the most important thing in the world. A person without education is like a bird without wings .Everyone wants to be well educated but due to some financial problem they cannot get proper education so I won’t charge fees from students for their schooling.
May ALLAH complete my dreams.
Hey there you 30 year old woman!
Surely you are old and wrinkly by now. You know, that’s what happens when you apply too much makeup in your young age. Anyways, you’d have a ton of kids by now since you have always dreamt of big families! Haha being sarcastic aren’t we? That’s what you were like in early teens. You were also the most sensitive person I had ever known! You were like a delicate flower. You were a person of fantasies but hopefully you have realized the reality of life by now. Life wasn’t easy for you in the start, since God granted your mother 6 kids all healthy and talkative. You were the youngest one and you felt ignored in the early stages. You wanted attention from everyone and had a very quick temper! Like a flame on an oil pan. You were the crybaby and followed your mother everywhere she went but she didn’t pay you attention. She had a lot on herself in those days. Father wasn’t around that much in your childhood and you craved for him. All the teasing from your siblings made you want to leave forever and never come back! Remember how you ran away from home at the age of 6! Goodness knows where the bravery came from. You were so stupid and naïve but acted like a big girl. Consequences made you mature, since all your siblings were older and you had to keep up with them! I hope you realized your mistake of running away after receiving a ripe of shoes from mother when she was coming back from the office and saw you on the road.
Father wasn’t the part of your childhood till your teens. He was a strict man who meant business. He was older than mother and was not around. He wasn’t there when you wanted him the most and when you craved for the strength of his knowledge. He wasn’t even aware of what you were doing. It felt like he wasn’t there even when he was. You did share some memories worth holding on with him. When your father was busy in his work, you made a world for yourself, a world of dreams, fantasies you had for the future. You learnt to get past through the pain without your parents. You seriously thought you had no one since you were the only one who stood out in the family! You were loud and an attention seeker who’d just crave for love and care and nothing else! You should have realized by now that everything you aim for will not always be achieved. You have to look on the other side. You don’t blame your parents for who you are now, you forgave them. They are still with you and that’s a blessing!
Oh! The phase of self-complex was one of the worst feelings ever! Yes, everyone has gone through the phase of being self conscious and maybe some are still going through it. You tried to remind yourself that it may pass but you failed dearly. You had such a low opinion of yourself and wanted to have plastic surgery! God, you were stupid. Sometimes, when you told your mother that you thought about that she went ballistic on you because you were a creation of Allah and how dare you say that you wanted to be fake. Envy was a part of your early teens but you learnt to go through that phase as well. Remember, you are beautiful in every way and in every aspect of life, don’t forget to remind yourself that. You have a unique trait, something different that makes you a human!
Slowly, you grew older and more mature. You were scared for your future, wanted to leave everything behind and become an adventurer! You fidgeted and scrambled around looking for mysteries and were called the clever one by your family! School was hectic but you were managing it. You read books all the time and went into dreamland after finishing one. You were an amazing photographer and were very keen on your hobbies! I hope wherever you are and whatever you are doing right now, you won’t leave your passion for photography and becoming an adventurer! Since you would have kids by now, don’t forget to tell them the adventures you went through! How your life was once a decaying leaf and how it turned out later!
Life’s a roller coaster, they do say correctly! You had the ups and downs in your life. Now you have to be the one to guide your youngsters through the difficult phase of life. You were once the delicate flower which took it’s time to bloom into a fruit. Teens passed through with laughter, joy, fear, tears and sadness. Don’t forget to ever be yourself and enjoy life as you have little time! Maintain your life and make time for your family because they are all worth it. Life’s short and you have to make the best of it! Be happy and don’t let others have power over you.
I see myself as a successful person who works for the betterment of the society and for the country. I want to fulfill the needs of poor people. One of my dream is to send my mother and father on Hajj, look after them in their old age and fulfill all their needs as they have done for me in my past. May Allah fulfill my all dreams and make me a successful person.
I’m Saira Mansoor and I’m 15 writing to my 30 year old self. I want to be the best daughter in the world. I want to look after my parents in the future when they become old as they do everything for my happiness and comfort. I also want to do something special for my parents because I love them a lot. May they live long and happy. I also want to become a doctor in the future as in our country there are no more people to help others. I want to help others and I feel happy when I help someone.
I’d like to present education as a game to all the students who can’t afford to get education. It’s the most important part of our life. Without education, people are incomplete and aimless. I also want to open a helping center which will help families with financial problem. So I hope my future is about helping people and spreading education. May Allah make my dreams come true. I can try my best because without effort no one can achieve anything. So we can only imagine you future, love you my future, be the best future.
Hey! How are you? I wonder if you are pretty? Are you married ? It must be awesome being an adult. I mean you don’t have to depend on anyone. I want you to always remember that no matter what happens you will never quit praying and wearing hijab. No matter how rich or famous you become, I always want you to remember how your mother cared for you. I want you to take care of her.
I hope you remember your aim and I hope you are trying to fulfill it. Just in case you forgot, it was to build an Edhi Centre.
The little u
Hello 30 year old me,
I hope I have become the person I wanted to become and that I’ve met almost all of my best friends from around the world. And I hope I have won many trophies by now and have a nice life. And I hope I’m preparing myself to do the greatest jump ever and if I am not then I should.
I also hope I would have helped many peoples along the way and I hope that I have been the best of me in all these years. And I hope I’m sitting in a garden reading this, smiling and saying, Yeah I have done every crazy thing in life and now the last one left is jump from the highest point in atmosphere. And if u have enough money dear future me than u should plan on visiting the moon or Mars. At least sit in a satellite and wonder how beautiful this galaxy is and I hope I have a happy life by now and a nice adventurous family.
And always remember: think like a proton and be positive.
Hello Dear Wonderful Minahil!
So you are thirty now. That means you survived the horrendous 15 years: CONGRATULATIONS! you know what I am kind of jealous that you are thirty because I think the thirties are supposed to be the best years of life I hope you are not thinking back to me at this age thinking about how dumb or ugly I am or about the silly mistakes I have made.
Hey what is the name of your Persian cat you always wanted to have? I know you have it now. I hope you have been travelling, seeing new things, meeting new people and enjoying life. I know, I know travelling was your passion. I hope you have become the successful ”good pilot” you always wanted to become. But if you are not then it’s okay, you must be then an aeronautical engineer because you always wanted to fly high to infinity and beyond. If you are not an aeronautical engineer then mom would not be so proud of you because it was your commitment to her.
I don’t know you are married or not, whether you have babies or not, you have achieved your ambitions or not but if you are happy , healthy and prosperous then I am proud of the adult you have become. Let’s be real! I am literally not worried about you at all. I know you are doing just fine. Be happy, try not to waste too much time on the new inventions of science in that age. And the most important one: I hope you have improved your English by now!
Hey adult MaNo!!!
How is it going with your adulthood? Hope are enjoying it. I don’t know if u will read my letter or not but if u read, I know u will be smiling to remember yourself as a smart and clever teenager. You must have gotten married right? And I am 101% sure that u are a victorious army officer and u must be working hard for your promotion. What about your parents? Are they enjoying good health? How stupid am I! I know u must have taken good care of them. I know that u truly love them a lot.
Oh yeah! I remember!! That world tour that u were planning in your early fifteens! How did it go? Were u alone or did your parents also join u? You must have enjoyed every moment! U know what, I think adulthood is very good time in one’s life: full freedom! And what about those music classes that u joined. U would have certainly become a great musician!!
OK GYE!!Going to bed right now!
Let’s have a talk some other time.
Wishing u a very victorious, happy and beautiful life!
May All your dreams come true!
Dear grown-up Ilsa,
How have u been? Are u having fun being grown up? The lovely age of thirty! Absolutely now you are not dependent on any one and I’m 100% sure you are facing your problems with courage and you are determined to achieve your marvelous goals that you planned at the age of 14. How’s your lovely mom, dad and your siblings? They should have gotten married till now for which I was desperately waiting for years! Hope u got the sincere loving and caring bestie that you always wished for! How about your career! I’m damn sure u would have become a successful army doctor by now and are happily treating your patients. I hope you are still sketching and that you are an artist now too. Loved talking to my future Ilsa
Now its time to sleep and dream happy dreams.
Bye-bye! And remember never be disappointed in any of your failures, just have a staunch belief in ALLAH ALMIGHTY who will do the best for you.
Dear adult me,
Hiya there, what’s going on? I know that you’re enjoying your life and doing everything you’ve dreamt of. Congratulations! You’re 30 now.
Yesterday I saw in the news that you were the main personality who worked for the formation of some better schools. I know, that it was your biggest dream and now you’ve completed it. I loved to hear that you’re a successful politician now and are going to stand in the next elections. I am very happy that you didn’t give up and didn’t listen to society and achieved your goals.
Living a life with a job you don’t have any interest in is the worst thing I can think of. Your independent now, and it’s your responsibility to care of your parents just the way they took care of you.
Are you adopting the zero tolerance for corruption policy? Are you giving everyone their rights? Are you trying to remove poverty? Hope you’re doing fine. Did you go to the Olympics? You always wanted to see Paris: have you seen the love lock bridge? Are you with your best friends? Have you learnt how to play the cello? Have you done CSS?
Although you’re big enough, I want to give you some piece of advice. Please don’t stray away from the right path. Don’t stop offering your prayers. Be the person you want to be, enjoy your life, let your dreams come true and lastly BE WHO YOU ARE.
I know your grown up but I still have to do some assesments on LSP (do you remember LSP, of course you do). Okay then take care, bye bye
The present Hamdah M. (14 yr old)
Hey dear Mariyum!
You must have grown up to 30 by now. Now I can’t feel what it’s like being an adult. Of course you can because you’ve reached adult-hood. I am sure you would have changed a lot. You are probably somewhere now surrounded by the people you wanted to have around you.
Okay! let’s move up to the questions I always wanted ask from you. Have you become an army doctor by now? I am sure you would have become one because you always admired this profession. You married someone or not? Are you happy in your life-a truly happy person? Have you got that life you always wanted to have? Do you have kids? I am sure they would be dearest to you. Have you gone to the places you always wanted to go? I am anxiously waiting for you reply. Do reply me okay?
I am sorry to you for being weak and fragile in my teenage years. I thank you for standing by me. I am extremely happy that you are now the person you wanted to become. I hope that now you make your own decisions and say no to things you don’t want to have. I am happy to write this letter to you because I have started believing in the good things that’ll happen in my life. I hope to see you in a couple of years then. Goodbye! (a letter from your past).
30 years old huh! WOW I really hope it’s all you ever wished for. You were always that shy girl who was afraid of putting herself out there. You never believed in yourself or your talents. I hope you have let that go. Somehow you managed to try in the end. Keep on trying. And as much as this sentence sounds like your beloved mom’s lecture, it is true. Remember the exhilarating ride of LSP, the first time you stood up and put yourself out there. It is always worth it. You have never imagined yourself as a person to achieve great things but you have always relished the joy of making others smile. I hope you never let that go. I hope you always remain true to yourself and never doubt yourself. You worried about having a career: you wanted to choose arts and literature. You became a slave to other people’s thoughts. Please never let that happen again .Keep smiling and making others smile.
P.S I hope Monet Claude and The Secret Garden are still your top favorites.
I hope you are doing great. I being 15 year old can only dream about you and to be like you. I’m here trying my best to make you successful independent and happy. I hope that all your dreams are fulfilled.
First of all, I’m dreaming of being supportive towards my family. Are you supporting them? Are you with them? I’m dreaming about a successful job. Do you have it? I’m dreaming about being independent. Are you? I’m dreaming that all the best supportive caring people I have in my life will stay forever. Are u with them today? I really want that when you will answer my questions you would be happy and relaxed that you have achieved everything which you dreamed once when you were 15 years old. I hope that you are smiling today thinking of your past. I am trying here to make your past and my future wonderful. I want that when you read this letter you are happy and not regretting your past.
One thing that’s most important is that where are you living now? I hope that you are in your homeland Pakistan. I hope that you are pride of Pakistan today. You are playing your role in the development of country. I hope Pakistan is now more developed. I hope today you are living with your family happily.
I really hope that today you are much stronger than me. Your life maybe having problems right now but I hope that you have never gave up and fighting with them till now.
One more thing, I hope listening to music is still your favorite pastime. Take a moment and thank Allah for his blessings right now and get back to work with a satisfactory smile on your face.
I hope I’ll read this after 15 years.
From. Khadija A. (15 years old)
To. Khadija A. (30 years old)
How are you? Are you still alive or resting somewhere in the piece of land? How is life going? Is it the way you planned? Have you got what you dreamed? What about your aims and ambitions? You never wanted to grow up but you were obliged to. So how’s your experience of growing up. You were an ambitious fourteen year old girl who dreamed about bringing change. Actually, not only dreamed but you started your journey towards your goal. Remember, you planned to educate Pakistan? Remember, you wanted to save Pakistan? Remember, you wanted to create a difference? Even you wanted to change the vision of world about Pakistan and Muslims. Remember, you wanted to leave your mark, you wanted to create a difference. Even you started what you wanted. Hope you would have reached your target.
And your parents must be proud of you. You were a fourteen year old girl, finding someone whom you could call partner of your journey. I hope you have found a person of your vision. I hope you have reached your destination. I believe you have hunted your goals.
And how can I forget your parents? The best thing ever happened to you. How are they? I hope you have started taking care of your health and your mother need not worry about your health any more. Your Dad? Your biggest supporter. I think you must have paid them back. Take care of your parents just like they took care of you. Give them your time and your attention.
And what about your annoying siblings? They must be busy with their lives. I quess you are missing those old days when they used to annoy you because now they have changed busy with lives and families, hardly get enough time to annoy you. And yeah, your best friends, who promised to be always there for you. Are they still there or has it been years since you have met them?
Keep one thing in your mind, be strong, face the world, believe in yourself, believe in Allah.
Keep moving ahead dear and always remember you are Hamdah Tahir who never gave up! Will meet you in 16 years.
Dear future me,
I hope you’re doing well. Hope you have a life with no regrets because they can be really burdensome. Did you become what you dreamt of 15 years ago? If not then it’s okay. It’s okay to fail at times and it’s okay if you still fail at stuff. It’s okay as long as you’re content with your life. You have to love everything you do instead of insisting on doing what you love. It will help you stay happy. I hope you have realized that you are worth anything and that you don’t still doubt yourself because a lot of people are gonna do that anyways. Make sure you are the one to lift yourself every time you fall. And remember that you are never alone. You have a family that is going to be there for you no matter what.
(P.S. I really hope you have gone away from these over polluted and over populated cities and are living in a beautiful house on the mountains and your room has a glass window that faces the stream.)
the younger me
To my 30 year old self,
‘Every moment that changes your life, changes you.”
Oh darling, what have you done with yourself? Where are those amiable eyes of yours, full of innocence? You are not that little hummingbird anymore whose life was all about fairy-tales, singing and dancing like a sunflower as if you were meant to work for a Barbie movie or Looney Tunes show.
Life changed you or you chose to change yourself? ”Well, yes, past years did change me but in a couple of cases I had to force myself to change.” I know, being different part is a mixture of pros and cons for you, you might miss your childhood memories while going to bed, now you cannot even skip a class and roam around school corridors with your friends. So sad, isn’t it?
Anyways, you would have to be serious about your life and take each and every step of yours carefully. People may not accept any of your mistakes any more, they`ll notice each and every single thing of yours including your dressing, the way you speak, wealth and other such stuff. They might criticize you and act as a barrier towards your success, all you would have to be is PATIENT. Don’t let anyone write the story of your life with their hands. On the other hand, there won’t be any one drying your tears and forcing you to smile, you would have to be strong. You have to beYOUtiful!
Now let’s take a glimpse of all the positive changes that have occurred in these couple of years. Hey look at yourself, you are not only a young woman but a practical lady running an Art studio. You are smart and independent, aware of human shades, you know all about life. All in all, you are *** wife now! OMG, he was your love! Wow! What a wonderful 30th birthday present you have given you. Is this a dream? Oh please pinch me, I want to confirm it!
How can I avoid telling you that you are now working for humanity, the way Mr.Edhi did & that’s the best part of your life. You still remember the lesson your father`s shahada gave you, ”Life is a blessing but how good is to see others blessed because of you”
15 1/2 years old Laiba
At thirty I want to try to be the best by doing a simple thing: fighting good with good and bad with bad. I also want to become a politician because I want the people to know the truth by giving them their basic needs. I do not want to give them lame excuses or gain their confidence by lying to them. I just want to try to tell them about our current condition and let them know what we need to do to improve it. I will not promote corruption or promote untalented people. To be a successful politician, you should just be truthful and have the courage to fight wrongs with rights.
Hey Future Fatima!
Aoa, It’s my pleasure to visualize a successful happy me of 30 years. How is your present life going at this age? Are you enjoying your adulthood? You must have faced too much hardships in achieving your goal as a Chartered Accountant because everyone was saying that it was quite difficult to be a Chartered Accountant but you would definitely have achieved your goal due to your determination and hard work. After achieving your dream, are you satisfied about your life as a CA? Have you got your dream car “MIRA”? You must have been able to get training of flying a plane. After achieving your goal you wanted to go to Dubai which was your dream place to visit. Have you found the partner of your dreams? How’s your little sister Dua? Are you helping her in her life? She would be in her teens. Is she still that slim? Mom and Dad would be definitely proud of you. Despite all the best wishes, if something is not going right, never lose hope.
Always be positive!
Smile! You are no longer wearing braces.
Never leave your craze for swimming as I would hate to be Fat Fatima.
The music coming from the strings of your guitar is making me sleepy……
Helloooo older Tooba,
I hope this letter finds you in good health, speaking of which, did you gain some weight? Please tell me you didn’t get fat. And what about the hair? Are they still long? I hate short hair but maybe you might have out grown it. You know you were such a cry baby, always weeping around and ranting on Facebook, I hope you have grown out of that phase and become a little mature.
Actually no, don’t become too mature, I always adored my craziness so don’t let that part go, If you did, find some yaar, you won’t get depressed. Did you find a good job? no wait, did you find a lovable job? I see people getting panicked over choosing their professions, and I swore not to panic but I am not very good at keeping promises and something tells me you aren’t either.
Baba always said to follow your dreams, I have a lot of them at the moment and they change from time to time, but some always remain unchanged. Did you get to travel alone to the UK? Did mummy allow or did she send that annoying brother again? Pretty sure he’s busy by now. Do you watch Fairy tales now too? If you do, don’t listen to anyone else.!
Okay will meet you after 15 years my pretty 30 years old self and yeah, don’t forget now a days 30’s are the new 20’s!
15 year Old Tooba to 30 year old Tooba N.
Don’t give up. You’re doing great. Believe in yourself. There’s nothing that can stop you. I write this letter because you have been very brave so far. You’ve done things nobody else accomplished. You did everything you could to achieve them. There were hurdles and obstacles. You crossed them and dodged many. There were tiny mistakes and massive blunders. You always learned lessons and never repeated any mistakes. You have always been kind to people. And since you were helped by so many, I hope that you will not forget to pay back. You pursued your dream. You have now become what you always wanted to be and this was only possible because of your determination toward your goal, willingness to become what you wanted, your passion for your dream. Nobody can achieve success without the sacrifices that are the stairs to it. You can’t fly high if you are unaware of the struggle of learning to fly. Always remember the people that made you who you are today. You wouldn’t be where you are, without them. I’ll end this letter by saying that never forget your past. It made you who you are today. And it will motivate you to be better than today in future.
Your 14 year old immature self
How are you? Dear adult me!!!
Ignore me if I’m being too formal because I seriously don’t know how to talk to you. I mean, you are an adult. So mind me, I had to start my letter in a traditional style.
How’s the future? Anything exciting? Hey, did J.K Rowling start a new novel series after the eighth installment of Harry Potter or what about Brangelina (you know Brad and Angelina)? Are they back together? Or Did any F.R.I.E.N.D.S reunion occur? (there were rumors), How was HSM 4? Did you like it? Was it the way we imagined? Are you still going to the gym like we promised? I hope you are not bailing on that. Wait a minute, is this stuff still in your life now that you are an adult? Do you still watch serials or you are a workaholic. I’m sorry if you are disappointed but this is my life now-a-days and I like it.
I just read an article on the Change in Dates of Zodiac Signs. Although we never believed in Astrology but do check if we are still a Leo. I hope you are not wondering that why I’m not talking about your job or profession. Well the reason is pretty simple, I haven’t decided what I’m going to be so you haven’t either but don’t worry you’ll get a preview on how we became what you are now.
I don’t know how to ask you this but are ma and baba still there? I mean, are they alive? It’s been 15 years. I guess I’m more lucky than you in this aspect because right now I can see ma sleeping next to me in a very peaceful manner and dad just joined her and I have no idea if they are with you the same way they are with me. I hope they are because I this moment I can’t imagine my life without them.
Where are you? Are you in a bed tired and exhausted after a huge birthday party or are you alone in a hotel simply reading this letter. I don’t know if you traveled the world or did something great, I just hope you are happy and living the life that is best for you. Talk to you in the next letter. Bye.
Your 15-year old self.
Dear Minahil (30 years),
Time flies. Now, you are going to blow 30 candles on your birthday cake. Time may have brought dark circles under your eyes and wrinkles on your face but you are as determined and focused about your goals as you were at the age of 15. NOW, there is still too much to achieve in coming years. So,keep working hard with honesty, devotion and punctuality. Stop thinking about others and work for your dreams and your parents dreams. Keep trying till your last breath. You can even do the impossible. It’s never too late. Prove yourself. These 30 years have taught you many lessons so do not repeat the same mistakes. Stick to your goals. Keeping reading books. Most importantly, stay fit and healthy. Remember during your teen years you promised yourself that you will never gain weight and become a fat aunt. So, only eat fresh fruits and vegetables. In your busy routine take out time for namaz and Quran and give charity everyday as one day like everyone you will leave this world and only your deeds will save you from hellfire. Keep smiling!
Minahil Z. (16 years)