She pictured herself graduating from high school, going to college and having children. She told herself it would all be OK and not to worry if life didn't work out the way she planned.
Taylor Smith, 12, died suddenly of complications from pneumonia in Tennessee last week. But the American's heartfelt letter to her future self has captured the hearts of people around the world.
As her grieving parents sorted through a box of her belongings filled with poems and journals, they discovered the note Taylor had written to herself, with strict instructions on the envelope for it to remain unopened until 2023.
Instead, as a tribute to their daughter and to inspire others to live more fully, they posted the letter on Facebook.
"I just want people to know just what an awesome, awesome person she was," her father, Tim Smith, told NBC.
"[We've got] letters from lots of parents who've said it's encouraged them to love their kids and love each other," Taylor's mother, Mary Ellen Smith, said.
Taylor with her mum, Mary Ellen.
In the note to her 22-year-old self, Taylor contemplates the future and who she will become.
"Dear Taylor, how's life," she asks.
"Life is pretty simple 10 years in your past ... congratulations on graduating high school, if you didn't, go back and keep trying, get that degree ... Do you have your own place yet? If we're in college what are we majoring in? Right now I want to be a lawyer."
Despite her aspirations, she offers compassion to her future self if she didn't make it to college and life didn't work out how she anticipated.
"I understand. We do have our reasoning after all."
She talks of her love of God and wonders whether her future self has ever been out of the country or even on a plane.
She also speculates that her iPad will be old news by the time she has children.
"Don't forget to tell your kids that we're older than the tablet ... I also have a drawing of an iPad so you can show them."
She finishes with the words of a soul wise beyond her years that were cut too short.
"Well, I think that's all. But, remember, it's been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad. That's just how life works and you have to go with it."
She left behind both her parents and an older brother.
Here's the full transcript of Taylor's wonderful letter:
How's life? Life is pretty simple right now (10 years in your past). I know I'm late for you, but as I'm writing, this is early, so; congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn't go back and keep trying. Get that degree! Are you (we) in college? If not, I understand. We do have pretty good reasoning, after all.
Don't forget, it's Allana's 11th birthday today! Sheesh, 11 already? In my time, she just turned 1! I didn't get to go to that party though, because I was in Cranks, Kentucky for my first mission trip. I've only been back for 6 days!
Speaking of, how's your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshipped, read the bible, or gone to serve the lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! I don't care what point in our life we're in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person any wrong!
Now, have you gone on any more mission trips? Have you been out of the country yet? How about on a plane?
Is Doctor Who still on the air? If not, what regeneration did they end it with? You should go watch some Doctor Who! Later though, you gotta finish reading your own words of wisdom!
Do you have your own place yet? If we're in college, what are we majoring in? Right now, I wanna be a lawyer.
Have you been to Dollywood recently? Right now, their newest attraction is the Wild Eagle. It's so fun!
Also I think I'm going to sell my iPad and buy an iPad mini, Don't forget to tell your kids that we're older than the tablet! Attached I also have a drawing of an iPad, so you can show them.
Well, I think that's all. But remember, it's been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad. That's just how life works, and you have to go with it.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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