Hi everyone,

I know I’m about half a year late to update this series, but I had a good reason for holding out so long.

For those who will read this for the first time, this is a letter from the me of today (it is the 26th of December 2019) to all the mes of the future, to remind the future me of the struggles I have gotten through whenever the going gets tough.

If you’d like to read the rest of them, I’ve linked them below –

Dear Future Me

Dear Future Me Part II

Dear Future Me Part III

Now, here we go.

Dear Sonali,

I’ve just read the letters from the last three years, and I find myself moved to tears, by myself. That sounds weird, but life is, so we’ll deal with it.

There’s a lot I want to cover in this letter, and I guess it will end up way longer than the previous ones, but this year I want you to remember because it was your most important yet.

I’m not going to soften any blows or pull any punches, this year has been a hell of a ride. 2018 me had no idea what we were in for before boarding that plane on a one way ticket to the country of our dreams.

I’m still there though, still in France, I’ve moved to Paris now and have been here for 4 months.

France, has not always been kind to us, and we had a lot of growing up to do in a very short amount of time, and I want you to know that we did our best to maintain and exceed expectations at every challenge that was thrown at us. We didn’t always succeed though, and that is one lesson I want you to remember. It’s not always going to work out in your favour, in fact, it almost never will. You’ll get the short end of the stick more often than not, you have to learn how to use that short end to achieve what needs to be achieved.

I want you to remember that this year, we ended up hitting our lowest point ever, all alone in a country thousands of miles away from family. It was damn hard, and we fought like hell, we fell and rose only to get knocked down again. Sitting here today, I’m not unmarred anymore, but I wear those metaphorical bruises as my battle scars. 

Because 2017 me was right, hard work always pays off. And it did for us baby, spectacularly. We placed first in the whole program, valedictorian of the year 2018/2019, the best score of the program and the second highest score for the thesis we worked our asses off to complete.

I’m going to go 2018 mes way and not let you be humble about this, we deserved it, we hauled ass, studied hard, worked even harder to get where we are today. And sure, it’s not ideal, we don’t live in a perfect world baby and hardships are a part of life. The next year will be our 25th, we’ve gotten through quarter of a century now.

I can’t help but realise how mature I sound compared to the letters before, a new person, with defects, but I accept them. I’m not perfect and I know it, I accept it and you know what’s the next best thing? There are other people that accept it too.

I know that by the time you read this, Audencia and Nantes may have become no more than a memory, but as fresh as it is for me, I want you to remember the people that made a difference.

I want you to remember the people from Little India, Ashna and Mayank and their friendship in times when you were down, long, sometimes hopeless conversations with Arpita and Sharma ji, and the subsequent cheering up we did for each other.

I want you to remember everyone from G3, Caroline and Paola and Jim, Sheri and Nicolas, Teju, Ashna everyone that made that semester so worth it.

I want you to remember the challenging courses, harrowing days spent in the Eikon room struggling to complete a financial analysis with the limited data we had available.

Then, I want you to remember Prathiba and Marie-Jose and how much they helped when you had to leave Nantes behind and start afresh in Paris. I want you to remember the visit to Versailles (2017 me would have been so proud), the awesome zoo at Vincennes and the hundred other things Paris had to offer.

I also want you to remember Edbridg and Station F, remember Yanis, Sandrine, Romy and Dasha, Flatmates and Saturday Brunches, random beer nights and Iranian parties. Lala and Sarvenaz, Natalia and Tahreem and the wonderful experience of living with 4 random people you never would’ve met otherwise.

I want you to remember this as the year you came out of your shell, and yeah, we got hurt, because you have to drop your walls too, but it was worth it. The friends we made, the people we met from all over the world – they were worth it.

And this, this isn’t just because of the hard work we put in in the last year, this is an outcome of the work we started years ago when we started to learn french on a shitty VCD on the old computer. This moment here has been under construction for the past 15 years. And I want you to remember that.

Every moment that we have, enjoy it, and life is difficult, sometimes we have to chose which battles to fight and which to let go of. It’s OK to lose sometimes, losing is a part of life and it makes winning that much sweeter.

I don’t know where you are, how you are, whether you’re feeling jaunty or like the worst person in the world, but I hope you’re happy.

I hope you have moved up from the position of intern and are earning now, if you aren’t, that’s OK too, good things come to those who wait, after all. Enjoy every moment, it won’t come again. 

Through these letters if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, there is wisdom in the past and we would do well not to forget. As I’m wont to do, I want to remind you that at the moment I’m writing this, Teju sent over a box of gulab jamuns, Ashna just spent Christmas with you, Yanis and Sandrine went to the Christmas market at Tuileries yesterday and had overpriced waffles and vin chaud (hot wine, if you’ve forgotten), Caroline sent you a Doctor Who graduation gift, Arti is getting married, Dhwani is always a message away, you’ve been talking to Jolene more regularly and Mom and Dad are proud. What I’m trying to say sweetheart, is at this moment you are so loved, never forget that, never forget that there are people who love you and would stand by you because that is so so powerful. 

At this moment, I love myself, and that is the most powerful of all. And no matter what you’re doing right now, the me now would be proud of you.

Cheers!

Yours Lovingly,

Sonali 2019