If You Believe You’ll Never Meet Your Soulmate, Read This …
The following is a letter I had written to myself as a senior in high school, nearly 40 years ago, for an assignment. I’m certain you’ll be able to quickly figure out exactly what was assigned ...
April 1, 1981
The year 2001 is only 20 years away. So close, yet it seems so distant. I watched the movie for homework. I don’t understand it (nobody did) but nonetheless I hope you’re doing well, first of all. Just stay away from HAL 9000.
I really wonder if we’ll be living with that kind of technology in 20 years. Scary. Anyway, hope we’re doing good.
Me, I’m not so good today.
I have to admit to you I’m not happy at all now but there’s promise on the horizon. You’ll know everything there is to know one day when you’re successful. When “we’re” successful. But for now, we have nothing going on, no girlfriend, no date for the prom … nothing.
Hopefully, what I’m doing somehow leads to something constructive down the road. I want to write professionally in the worst way. I try to inspire myself constantly. More than that, I want a real romantic relationship I can call my own.
I’ve been down on myself all day. I’m staying home and watching the season finale of “Buck Rogers” instead of attending what the school calls the party of the year.
I also have to admit to you I’ve disliked it here more than I let on since I started. Thankfully, I’ll be graduating in a month so I have that to look forward to. I can start over. I won’t be bullied, for one. I won’t be called names like “Jew bastard” or “fag” anymore either, the latter not because of my — our — sexuality but because I didn't drink or do drugs with the rest of them. I have hope for change, finally.
I also have empathy for those who suffer because of who they are.
I’ll be attending Brooklyn College in a few months and I’m so looking forward to returning back home where we started out you have no idea.
You can have Middletown, New York. I’m never coming back once I graduate.
I’m lonely, and that’s really been the big problem. I feel as though all our male classmates have girlfriends. I’m just so tired of being shy but I don’t know any other way. In fact, the expression “painfully shy?” It’s so real. I just can’t explain it to anyone.
But you, of course.
Did I say I would love to have a girlfriend more than anything?
More than anything.
I’m going to be 17. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never had sex.
I’ve never had a date. Not a single one.
Sometimes I think I’m going to lose my mind.
I don’t want this to sound so awful, but I got this assignment to write a letter to my future self in the year 2001 and I only want to be honest with you.
I’m dying for a soulmate.
Thank you for letting me bend your ear.
I hope things really did change for us because I think we deserve it. We’re good people.
Joel Eisenberg, 17
I found this and several other letters I hadn’t thought about for years when cleaning my home office a few weeks ago.
I was compelled to supply some symmetry to that letter, so what follows is the 56-year-old writer’s response … 41 years in the making, as opposed to 20.
A little later than 2001, I suppose, but life is all of a piece.
October 7, 2020
It will all be okay, I promise.
Really. I wouldn’t lie to you.
Sorry I didn’t get back to you when I was supposed to. I forgot about the letter and found it only recently.
You know, the older I get the more convinced I am there is a sense of order to the world. Some say there are no accidents; I seem to believe that more often than not. Or, more accurately, I’d like to believe that more often than not.
If you put yourself in the right position, the concept of “luck” takes on another meaning. It becomes something measurable, and something for which you can strategize. I know this now. “Luck” is nothing more than a deliberate action to improve your odds of success.
It took us many years to learn that, Joel.
You’re going to go through a lot. As soon as you get back to Brooklyn, you will indeed meet a woman. You will become convinced she is “the one” and you will fall in love with her.
Nearly three years later, you will break up with her as the relationship was going south and you believed she was preparing to break up with you first.
Part of me wants to spare you the pain, which was overwhelming. It took me — us — many, many years before I finally did meet “the one.”
We’ve been together nearly 20 years now. She literally walked into my life. No, really. But I put myself in that situation, and that’s the real lesson here. A person always has to do exactly that to increase their odds of success.
We write for a living today too, and have done so since our early-40s. We made it, Joel. A lot of work, even more stress, but we did it.
Stay forward. Life is beautiful and pays handsomely if you stick to your passions and never give up.
Just as Dad said.
I miss him so. 10 years this January. Fatty liver disease. Mike and Neil are doing fine and mom is doing great in Florida. We have — ready for this? — a girl in the family! Finally! Together, our family has grown to include three nephews and one niece. As Mom and Dad always wanted.
I have to say, though, you may find this difficult due to all those sit-downs with our parents when we were young about “one day raising a family of our own …”
That did not come to pass. We have no children. I’d rather you grow into certain realities than me explaining it all but I will say this much: There are no regrets.
I found the true love of my life. I never thought it would happen.
She is the single greatest thing that ever happened to us.
You’ll see. Trust me.
I’ve opened myself up to possibilities, and what life has had in store for us is unaccountable riches.
There’s still time left.
I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings to us.
It gets better. Promise.
One more thing: You will never know it all, so embrace the mysteries of the world. They bear gifts …
To Our Success …
The initial letter was very true and very real to my 17-year-old self.
But back then, I opened up like never before. Though my openness was something new, it was exactly what was needed for me to grow.
My effort at symmetry? Banal, maybe, but from my authentic self today those words are from the heart.
If you find you are not meeting who you want to meet, or not attracting the work you need to attract, do not rule out exercises such as this one to set you on the right path.
You’ll be amazed at what just a little honest self-examination, self-conversation, and reflection can do for a person.
Thank you for reading.
For a related story, see here:
How to Prove There Is No Such Thing as Luck
Obi-Wan (well, actually Ben if I nitpick) was right. You clicked on this article. This says to me one of three things…
And, because I improved my odds by putting myself in the right place at the right time as I alluded to earlier, check out exactly how my wife walked into my life:
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