Yearly tradition provides reflection

Written by Danielle Yacobson

Every year, on January 1st, I have this fantastic idea that I’ll keep a daily journal. Pulling out a fresh notebook, I enthusiastically detail my winter break Netflix binging while shamelessly finishing off holiday leftovers. But, inevitably, my motivation starts to dwindle after a few days of non-eventful entries and I’m left with yet another slightly-doodled-on composition notebook. One year, I suddenly had a stroke of genius and came up with a simple solution; write an entry on December 31st that summarized the main highlights of the previous year. And so, the annual letter to my future self came to be, detailing everything from my favorite foods to teenage melodramatics, and anything in between.

I’m embarrassed to say that the letter usually starts off with a saga of high school love triangles and failed relationships. Then, I’ll include a thorough, well-thought-out list of my accomplishments and goals (I need to keep myself in check!). Attempting to be humorous and smarter than my teenage years would suggest, I’ll undoubtedly throw in a handful of impressive SAT words and rattle off a few cliche life lessons that my “struggles” have taught me. But, no matter how mature I think I am at the time, I find myself cringing at my adolescent writing and spend some time reassuring myself that I am now a full year wiser and truly an adult.

Last year’s letter has been sitting at my desk, untouched, for almost a year now, and I honestly can’t remember what I wrote. That’s the best part! What did I hope to accomplish this year? What kind of high school drama was I consumed with? Opening the letter every December 31st is my favorite holiday tradition because, although small, it has taught me one of my most valuable life lessons. No matter how life-changing I think my current problems and worries are, they are fleeting. A year later, the sting from failing a math test is gone and the fight I had with my parents is forgotten. It’s a new year, filled with promise of even more embarrassing stories and screw-ups. But I welcome them, and hope that I’ll smile at my memories as I open my tiny, personal time-capsule.