Written by Suhani Agrawal
Dear 17 year old Suhani,
I know what you’re thinking. You’re hoping this letter doesn’t go on to describe this quintessential world where things like climate change and racism don’t exist anymore because you know that won’t be entirely true. So don’t worry, this will not be a narrative filled with played out clichés or glittering generalities; not entirely anyway.
Saying “a lot has changed in these past ten years” would be an understatement. Contrary to popular belief in your time, we got through the year 2020. It was a long and difficult road to recovery as it involved the breakdown of systems that had been in place since time. Social and workspace culture would seem unrecognizable to you now, but, in retrospect, I think in some cases the change was necessary since what we considered ‘normalcy’ had actually become extremely detrimental to ourselves and our surroundings. In the face of adversity, it was the youth that stepped up and paved the way for a brighter future.
Humanity dreamed about flying cars and jetpacks in 2020 but what we got was a pandemic. Nonetheless, technology did catch up with us, and in a way that nobody could have ever imagined. Fortunately, it didn’t play out like the James Cameron movies since there were no robot uprisings. The robo-apocalypse did, however, wipe out the need for close to 25 million manual workers. I know you were interested in working as a paralegal, and you did for about six months until the introduction of highly specialized robots in corporate America made that job redundant. These vast technological advancements might seem nightmarish, but the extent to which they have aided in economic productivity and efficient clean energy generation is truly remarkable. And even though the space race to Mars is still going on, this year we were able to virtually experience life on the Red Planet through VR expansion.
One thing that I am proud to say humankind has accomplished is global access to quality education. Even though the world as a whole still doesn’t boast a 100% literacy rate, the numbers have fallen down drastically with the implementation of large-scale educational programmes by UNESCO and countless other organizations. Almost every child, regardless of their familial incomes and situations, gets the chance to shoulder a backpack and go to school. And while the internet-connected contact lenses are appealing, this still is the most impressive achievement till date.
As for me, I’m living in the USA and working as an attorney, so I guess it turns out that the obsession with law was not just a phase. It’s unimaginably difficult at times, but to know that I am helping people get justice and making the world a slightly better place is worth the work. I never thought I would find such a sense of fulfilment in a white-collar job.
I would tell you to slow down and enjoy what are your prime teen years, but I know you’re going through a bit of a stubborn stage. Give it some time; things might just turn out fine. The fact that a “glass half empty” person like me (and you) has accepted this is a true testament to how significant these past ten years have been. The best advice I can give you is unfortunately the most played out one: everything, good or bad, happens for a reason.
I know you are not one for happily-ever-afters, but I do hope that you will keep looking for silver linings.
All my love,