Catherine Wang

Illustration by
Pik-Tone Fung

Dear 25-year-old me,

I hope your eyesight hasn’t gotten any worse. For the last few months, I’ve been deeply alarmed by how blurry things are sans glasses, so fingers crossed that you’ve outgrown poor lighting and bad posture. I always joke that my terrible vision is going to be what gets me in a zombie apocalypse, but all kidding aside, it’s past time you take eye care seriously.

Speaking of which, I sincerely hope that the undead haven’t actually taken over the earth. If they have, I can only pray that 1) you got around to watching The Walking Dead before the catastrophe started, 2) the IKEA plan was effective, and 3) the Wangs are a kick-ass survival team.

In exactly 98 days, I’m going to graduate from university with a degree in English. I have no idea where I’m going to be or what I’m going to do afterwards, but I have about three months to figure something out. In all honesty, the thought of Real Life (it’s always capitalized in my head) makes me jittery, and I recoil from the nebulous expanse known as The Future. Do you remember the feeling? Does it ever go away?

If you haven’t deviated from my general life plan, you should be more than halfway through law school by now. You might have spent the year after college working for a nonprofit and trying to figure out what it means to “do good.” You must have grit your teeth and taken the LSAT, powering through the Logic Games at long last. Maybe you’ve already decided which kind of law to pursue. Please tell me it’s civil rights law. Please tell me you’re guided by strong principles and values. Please tell me you still want to do this because you care.

Of course, your life may have taken a different turn. You might not be in law school at all. The gap between 21 and 25 is a long time, so who knows what you’re up to. No matter what it is, I hope it’s meaningful, and I hope it makes you happy.

In the last four years, I hope you finally learned discipline and developed something resembling willpower. I hope you made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I hope you hugged a koala. I hope you learned to be more honest with others and maybe even made a few people angry – after all, if you always please everyone, you have to be lying at least some of the time. I hope you fell in love. I hope you fell out of love. I hope you found a hairstyle that works and a tattoo you don’t regret. I hope you successfully made a blueberry pie. I hope our family is very much a part of your life, and that gentle homesickness remains your constant companion. I hope you’re in a dance class. I hope you started writing for yourself instead of others, even if it’s just a few lines a day. I hope you regularly visited the dentist. I hope you took a photography class and learned to use the camera that’s gathering dust on my shelf. I hope you became more comfortable in your own skin.

If we’re anything alike – and that’s probably a safe bet – you’re still a bit unsure of yourself. That’s okay. I don’t want to be perfect by the age of 25. I just want to have grown as a person. I never want to stop growing and learning, and I hope that’s a dream we still share.

With love,


February 2014