Replying to the Past

I was reminded by a wonderful friend this morning that back in 2007 I wrote a post on the blog titled “A Letter to my Future Self“, with instructions to be opened ten years later. The letter asked a number of questions, so I thought it might be fun to finally reply.

Hello Jonathan,

Greetings from your past self. At the time of writing you were sat at a desk in the office of your then employer just outside of Marlow, whiling away lunchtime before a hectic week ahead. You had worked here for five years, and although you sometimes wondered if the grass was greener elsewhere, you did in fact quite like it.

I’m still working for the same company, ten years on – still doing the same job. I guess the technology has changed somewhat – we now all have laptops, and smart phones – but it’s essentially the same. I have continued to wonder now and again about moving on, and very nearly did about three years ago. Still here though, putting one foot in front of the other.

You have been married to W for a bit over five years, sharing her with Simpson – the cat she owned before you met. You’ve been through quite a lot together so far, and are both apprehensive about adopting children. The review panel is due soon, and you wonder what the future holds.

How many children did you adopt? What were their names? Where were they from? What is it like being a Dad?

After fighting through red tape for two years, the adoption process accelerated dramatically at the end. We flew through the review panel and the matching panel, and were immediately told about “three girls” who were in care, waiting for a family crazy enough to take them on. Turns out we were that family.

Ten years on life is unimaginable. The children are now 16, 13, and 12 years old. The household runs on rails each week – churning out packed lunches, dinners, and colossal quantities of clothes to be washed and dried. You rarely sit down before 9pm on a weekday evening, but strangely wouldn’t have it any other way.

Weekends are spent standing on the touchline of football and rugby pitches – stamping your feet to keep warm while cheering your girls on. Yes, you read that right – you have girls that play football and rugby. One of them did Judo for a while too.

How long did Simpson live? (knowing him, he’s still alive, and grumpier than ever)

Simpson died a couple of years after the letter was written. He went down-hill very quickly, but was loved very much by the girls when they were young – despite repeatedly scratching them while being forceably hugged to within an inch of his life.

Do you still live in the same house? Did you ever get that safe removed from the chimney that the previous owners left when they moved out? How about the front door – at what point did it fall completely to pieces?

The front door really did fall to pieces in the end – we now have a lovely wooden one that cost a scary amount of money. In the past year we have spent £3000 getting the flat roof replaced, and another £1000 getting the bathroom floor repaired after that bathroom you just finished paying for leaked and nearly caused upstairs to become downstairs. There’s always something going wrong with the house.

How are your family? At the time of writing your nephew is 8 years old, and has just moved to Lincolnshire. Your brother is working in London still while looking for a job up there. Your parents are enjoying retirement in Cornwall, and your Dad has started writing a blog…

My nephew is now grown up, working, and driving. You still think of him as the little lad that would sit on your shoulders when you took him to the chip shop though. My brother did eventually move to be with his family – you rarely see or hear from him any more, and sometimes feel bad about that. Mum and Dad still live in Cornwall – both of the Newfoundlands died a couple of years after your letter. Bosun outlived Otto, even though he was a couple of years older. Dad bought a Jaguar, and Mum discovered Facebook, which is endlessly entertaining.

How did your cousin from San Francisco get on? Did she move to England in the end? Did she marry that rugby player?

She did marry the rugby player, and they moved back to San Francisco after a couple of years here. Everything seemed to be fine for a long time, but in the last year the wheels seem to have fallen off their wagon. Not really sure what’s going to happen, but keeping fingers crossed everything remains amicable. You have a niece and nephew you have never met.

Does Microsoft still have a monopoly? Windows Vista has just been released, and everybody is horrified by it’s hardware requirements. 2 gig of ram is a lot right now.

I guess the answer to that is “sort of”. Microsoft still rule the world of business computers, but Apple and Google have come to dominate mobile devices. Nobody really saw it coming – they destroyed Blackberry along the way too.

You cycle to work every day at the moment, and it keeps you fairly fit – do you still do that ?

Yes, yes I do! After a succession of mountain bikes, you finally caved and bought a single speed bike last year. You dread to think how big your backside would be if you didn’t cycle every day. You kind of get free calf muscles in return though.

Are you still in touch with the same friends? The singer songwriter in Oklahoma, the glass artist in Oregon, or the girl from Cornwall you visited last Christmas?

Yes!

The songwriter got divorced, then re-married last year. You write emails back and forth every few months. She came to visit your house a couple of times, and stayed over while visiting England.

The glass artist also got divorced and re-married. She’s still the most unconventional person you know, and still has the most refreshing take on the world of anybody you know.

The girl from Cornwall just moved in with her boyfriend, after a series of car-crash relationships. You’re not as close as you once were, but you still keep in touch from time to time. You’ll probably be friends for the rest of your life.

Do you still write a blog? Have you written that novel yet – the one about the fictional world that only continues to exist if children believe in it?

I do still write a blog – as evidenced by this post! I never did get around to writing that novel though. Maybe one day.

Your work lunchtime is about to come to an end, so it’s perhaps time to draw this to a close.

In 2006 you were happy. You were married to a wonderful lady who you adore, you live in a big old house that you secretly love, you do a job that others aspire to, and you have more friends than at any time in your life so far. Here’s hoping this message finds you well, and that you know the answers to all the questions contained…

In 2017 you are also happy. You are still married to the same lady (which seems to be increasingly rare these days), and your life is filled with mayhem. It’s a good sort of mayhem though – remind yourself of that on a regular basis though, because you have no idea how argumentative teenage girls are going to be.

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