NOW THAT I AM 85 (Oops, 86): Letter to Be Opened November 8, 2017

When I was a girl, at summer camp in Upstate New York, we, one evening, burrowed into our mosquito-netted cots, and wrote earnest letters to our future selves.

Now I am going to write such a letter to myself, to be opened November 8, 2017.


The world has changed.  (Or has our ever-changing world just hit me over the head with a ballot box in order to get my attention?)

I am still in the grip of generalized anxiety.  I wonder how long my current state of mind will last:  What am I thinking, feeling, doing about it now?  And how will that change in the coming year?

I WANT TO TRACK THIS, because I am so afraid of a certain human tendency to forget, to rationalize, to justify.

I WANT TO TRACK THIS “…before it all vanishes in our collective memory hole.”

Yesterday I heard — I hear — a murmur from, possibly, somewhere across the street; a vague, soft sound: “Oh, maybe it won’t be so bad.”  At the same time, I – as a child in 1939 – hear the same murmured comments from the adults around me, only louder and more insistent: “Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

“Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

They said.

So this will be my letter.  (I have left most of my own answers blank so that, in case you should feel like writing yourself a similar letter, you could use it to spark your own ideas).

There are now so many and bewildering threats on so many fronts that to consider them all at once begins and ends in chaos.  I think I must choose one threat about which to be PROACTIVE.

The list is long, and maybe it should be put in alphabetical order, if only for the temporary comfort that brings:

Environment.  Immigration.  LGBT’s.  Race, Religion, Reproduction.   Supreme and less-so courts.  And to quote Miss America, World peace.

Of these, I now choose ____________________________________ as my primary focus, because ________________________ and because ____________________________.

I will give _____ % of my time to active efforts in support of my primary focus.

And I will give 10% of my earnings to __________________ which directly supports it.

For the others, I will be REACTIVE.  Because only time will tell what will happen in each area, I will respond to each threat according to its apparent imminence.  I will spend time reading about this issue and attempting to respond out of a reasonable awareness, and as logical an approach as an INTJ (per Meyers-Briggs) can manage.

I will give LESS time and energy to ___________________________, which, now that I think of it, does not really contribute to the well-being of the world and/or myself.

All these activities-or-not will be in addition to my everyday ongoing concerns, such as (again in alphabetical order) acting jobs, church, music, and offspring.

Now I will type the letter, and seal the envelope.

I will open it (if I’m still around) on November 8, 2017, and I will ask:

Have my ideas changed?  In what ways?

Have they changed in response to what’s happened in the intervening year?  (And what was that?)

Or have they changed because my priorities have changed?  (In what ways?)

Or because I don’t care any more?  (About the issues, or about the FACT that I don’t care?)

If my ideas have changed in ways I don’t like, what can/should I do about THAT?

A couple of my friends have said they, too, will write such a letter.  “Before it all vanishes in our collective memory hole….”.

–    *I borrowed this from Michael Hiltzik. I don’t know if he made it up himself.

Would you like to join us?

Please comment below.

Maybe we can all open our letters together, on November 8, 2017.


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