Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Letter to Myself, 20 Years from Now

I wrote the following letter for Professor Amy Sankaran’s externship seminar. Thanks to her and many others’ critical assistance, I was able to spend my last semester of law school deeply reflecting on my life. With an incredible amount of support from others and sheer good fortune, I have managed to complete my law degree. 

Dear Nayoung, 20 years from now (2036):

I hope this finds you alive, healthy, and surrounded by loved ones. I would give anything for Grandma and Grandpa to still be with you in 2036, but as they are already in their 80s, I accept that it is not likely. I hope you were able to make the most of the time that you had left with your grandparents in this life, and I hope you have kept your partner, parents, siblings, and friends very close. I also hope you were able to meet and bond deeply with many other people. 

I write to you from the United States in 2016. This is the year that Donald Trump was elected president. It is also the year that I had a major existential crisis, as well as the year that I married the most compassionate person I met. I have experienced a lot of difficulties in and out of law school this year. I do not feel very well, but I am still hopeful that things will improve and that I will make it through this and many more difficult times to come, one way or another. A great many people have offered their kindness and understanding to help me get to this point. I want you to remember their names, to thank them always, and to follow their example in being kind to others.

Apart from keeping yourself healthy, staying close to your loved ones, and being kind to others, I would like to ask just one thing of you. Please do something for women. I have no way of knowing whether you were able to live your life in a way that is true to the vow that you made at twenty, to do something for women. I sincerely wish that this was possible and I will do my very best to make it a reality, but I am beginning to realize just how difficult it is going to be. So I won’t blame you too much if you turn out to have done too little for women in the 20 years from now. However, I will still ask you, to do something for women. If you have done not much, do something. If you have done something, do more.