Dear Birthday Well-wishers,

19 Birthday Well-wishers
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Birthday Well-wishers,

It’s crazy to think that I’m another year older. Every time this day rolls around, without fail, I think about the people in my life. It’s safe to say the best part of my life is the people – past, present, and future.

The most interesting aspects of my birthday this year is that I was wished for three days. Considering I live in one of the earliest time zones, I’m usually the first to wish others on their birthday. But this time around, I had friends living a day behind me wish me a day early, if that wonky string of words makes sense to you. So in their time, they were wishing me two day before my actual birthday. Now I don’t know if that was on purpose or a miscalculation but it made for a prolonged birthday so I’m very thankful! Not to mention, they remembered my birth date without Facebook reminding them! What a true gift!

On my actual birthday, I had an influx of messages on my Facebook wall, in my inbox, and even a few photo posts. How endearing. One of the things I love most about birthday wishes is that you can see the personality behind the person who wrote them and who I am to them. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a one-line wish or a paragraph detailing our childhood shenanigans, they warm my heart because it shows they care.

The day after my birthday all of my friends who live a day behind wished me well! Again, nothing but love. And it showed me just how blessed I am to have so many people who think about me to some capacity, even if it’s just once a year, all across the world. I have a friend to visit in every continent, a place to stay on any trip, and new memories to make wherever and with whomever. It is a blessed feeling.

So my birthday well-wishers, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for reminding me, year after year, how well-loved I am. Without you, growing old wouldn’t be so fun.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Hometown Homies,

18 Hometown Homies
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Hometown Homies,

Oh, how awkward. I feel a little embarrassed writing something so sentimental but I know you guy need to hear this. You probably know already, friendship can be such a strong, unspoken bond, but I really love you guys. I don’t know what I’d do if I had never met any of you or if we stopped being in each other’s lives.

Seriously, you guys basically raised me. We went through the happy-go-lucky elementary phase to the awkward teenage phase when MSN was life to the best high school years anyone could’ve asked for. Some of you guys moved away and we lost touch but we all somehow found our way back to each other. Even now that we’re continents away for jobs, college, and overall adulthood, our friendship never fails even if we don’t keep in touch and when we go back home it’s like the years apart never happened. We always meet each other halfway, no matter what.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for you guys; and I really, really like me. I owe you all so much for that. Each and every one of you has influenced me in your own individual ways. Whether we bonded at the kindergarten milk-breaks or high school house parties, the flood-resistant fields or IB cram classes, Skype calls or sleepovers, you guys are the place I call home. I could never ask for a better group of people to be in my life because I know y’all are as good as it gets. Let me tell you now, I’ve met a lot of people in my lifetime and befriended many but I have never met a crazier, more comfortable, and loyal bunch like you guys. You guys are the ones I’d pick to jam out to old school hits, the ones for crazy adventures, and definitely the ones to reunite with year after year if we aren’t already living right next door. Hand to heart, y’all are irreplaceable.

I hope you know all of you have an open invitation for whatever event I might have in my life. And I’m always here for you, even if we don’t talk as much, even if we’ve met other people, and even we spend more time and space apart. We’ll grow old together and talk about how far we’ve come. No matter what, you guys are my family. I love you guys so much. Homies? HOMIES!

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Far Away Friend,

17 Far Away Friend
Image by A Letter Per Person.
“You can love someone so much,’ he thought. ‘But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.”
– John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
 d
 d
Dear Far Away Friend,
d
I don’t know where you are and I’m really scared. I know nothing I say will bring you back but nobody can tell me that you won’t visit. Please, I feel so alone because you are the only person I can talk to about what happened. And I’m so tired, so fucking tired of being left behind.
d
You’ve left me in a pool of emotions and I don’t know if any of them makes sense because my thoughts are drowning in a senseless riptide. I’m so angry with you for abandoning me and our future plans without so much as a goodbye. I feel guilty for being angry with the dead. I’m broken, repeatedly, when I’m reminded of you. I can’t face anyone with your name. I feel happy when you visit me in my dreams but I feel shitty when I wake. I am terrified you might never visit me. I feel a defeated calm on some days and a mess on most. I’m desperate. I miss you so much.
d
I know that if I wanted to talk to someone about you I could but in their company is when I feel most alone. Nobody knows what happened, what you were thinking, where you went, or why it ended that way. There is no fucking point in talking to anyone if they can’t give me those answers. You are the only one who can and you’ve left all of us behind. It doesn’t make sense. The you I loved would never wish this on anyone, and now you’ve granted it on me.
d
You know you’ve always been a leader in everything you do but this time, you’ve paved the way too far ahead and lost us. I miss you so much and need you to visit me. Nobody has given me any comfort or answers and nobody ever will because they can’t. I don’t expect them to, and that’s why I need you. So please come back at least for a brief moment to tell me why, or just so my messages turn “Read”, or we can even go bowling together, I’ll say yes this time. Please, please, I’m begging you. I miss you but I need you far more. Please.
d
Love,
d
A Letter Per Person
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Dear Uni Bestie,

Uni Bestie
Image by A Letter Per Person.
Dear Uni Bestie,
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            How do I start? I honestly never thought I’d meet someone I’d consider one of my best friends after leaving high school. My best friends from back home are people I literally grew up with, known for decades, and have a standing invite to literally any life-changing event I might have. These people are hard to compete with and I never thought I’d meet someone just as important to me as them in my three years at university. But I’m so glad I did.
d
There have been and still are times when I question my decision to come to Sydney when everyone I love are a long ways away. My parents, teachers, and even friends, asked, “Why Australia?” and I never really had a real answer. I almost changed my mind but it was too late to apply anywhere else so I hoped with all my life that there would be something to let me know I chose wisely. And I got that something; I just never knew it’d be a someone.
 d
You’ve been there for me since first year, letting me come over to study in your room when I got bored. I remember writing an essay while you were working and we would take a break every so often to drink and play battleship. That was the night my laptop mysteriously broke from goon. And then in second year, you were there for me when one of the very friends I grew up with died. I’ll admit, plenty of other people were there for me but you were the first and only person who didn’t treat me like I was mourning. Everybody else tiptoed around me, awkwardly hugged me, and told me I looked pretty while you talked about some random book I should read, Cloud Atlas (which I still haven’t, I’m sorry! I’ll get to it, I promise). You cheered me up most.
 d
Then third year came and we didn’t hang out as much, which was my fault completely. We went from seeing and talking to each other everyday to not knowing the people in our lives anymore. Ironically though, this was the year I realised how great friends we are. I knew that if absolutely anything happened, menial or tragic, I could rekindle our friendship with a stupid pun. I realised that I’ve been busting my ass trying to create a life here because you were inspiring me to succeed like you have for as long as I’ve known you. You went through the same thing as I did, hell we even came from the same hometown without knowing each other, but you were doing so much better. You know exactly who you are regardless of where or who you’re with, you manage to keep your grades above average, and you make people fall in love with you immediately. You are the reason that I believe I can succeed.
And I know that maybe you don’t thing everything I’ve said about you is true or that you deserve all this praise. But I also know that I’m not lying. I’m not even exaggerating. So you don’t have to believe me now but I hope you’ll try. You’ll always have a special place in my inbox, in my heart, and in my life. I am so glad I met you. You make me think that in all of my wrong turns and dead ends, I must be going the right way if I met you. Even more so, I must be an okay person for you to stick around.
 d
Love,
 d
A Letter Per Person
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Dear Uni Graduates,

15 Uni Graduates
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Uni Graduates,

Congratulations! No matter how scared or nervous you may be, this is a celebratory moment. You made it through all of your hardships, your struggles and more to be here: graduated with the whole world waiting on your next move! Whatever you have planned next, taking some time of to figure yourself out, med school, masters degree, a job, travelling, or absolute anything else, just remember to put yourself first.

If I had to pick the single most important lesson I learned during my university degree, it’s that I can, should, and need to put myself first. I lost three relatives and a close friend on four separate occasions during my study and I still put my grades first. I went through the worst year of my life dealing with anxiety and I still put my career first. Don’t do that. It is 100% necessary and okay to be selfish by putting yourself first. It’s part of taking care of yourself. And this is the best time to do it.

It’s the best time because the world awaits your next move. You get to choose what the coming years of your life are about. And it’s true, having an unpredictably blank canvas ahead is what a lot of us are afraid of, I definitely was and still am, but I realised the blankness isn’t the main feature of the canvas. The main feature is that it’s yours – yours and yours entirely. If you’re afraid of the blankness of the future make a mark – don’t let it be blank for another second. And if you like what you’ve done, keep going and make it art. But if you don’t like it, paint over it! It’s your canvas; do with it as you please. Do what you want, do what’s best for you, and do it with all the life you have.

Remember, there is no correct path in life. The common “school to uni to job” is not a must. Plenty of people take gap years before uni, change schools and courses, decide the job they have isn’t the one they want, and so much more. Life is not a race, there isn’t a course to follow and you aren’t competing with anyone. Make your own path and get off it if you don’t like it, keep going if you do. This is the best time to do it. Be selfish and be okay with it, because it absolutely is.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Travel Bloggers,

14 Travel Bloggers
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Travel Bloggers,

I love what you do. Looking at your travel photos and reading about your adventures are what motivates me to step out of my comfort zone. You teleport my soul to wherever you post about and it inspires me to work so that one day I can travel there, mind and body, for myself. That’s a talent not everyone has.

I read about your adventures and imagine what mine will be like. Who will by my travel squad? Where will we stay? How long will we travel for? This is how I start my mornings. It reminds me that we’re never rooted in one place, and that the world is full of amazing sights waiting for us – waiting for me.

And I admire what you do more because I could never do what you do. I’m just too selfish. When I stand at the foot of a gorgeous waterfall, being sprinkled with glistening droplets and deafened by the sight’s roar, I’d just soak up the scene for myself. It wouldn’t occur to me to try and share it with anyone other than the people I’m with. The same goes for when I’m miniaturized by the grandeur of the Stonehenge, engulfed in the blue waters of Bora Bora, and inspired by our own capabilities at the Sistine Chapel. The best I can do is take photos I’ll never post, except for the rare one on Instagram.

I love what you do, it motivates me, but I could never do it. So thank you, for inspiring me in ways I can never do for myself.

 

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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Dear Creative Media,

13 Creative Media
Image by A Letter Per Person.

Dear Creative Media,

Do better. Do better and do it now. We’re at a time when as a society, we are becoming more aware and informed about the current status of the world and what we can do to better it. As a member of society, you are part of this time and you need to keep up. And as a person in the creative media industry, you need to step up and lead.

You have the power to reach millions and you need to use that to help the bettering movement. You can’t afford to be blind to what’s happening and deaf to what people are saying. You’ve seen what happened with Pepsi. That was a catastrophic incident that was 100% preventable had those involved listened to what’s happening around them outside of their pearly white bubbles. Whether you were the director of the commercial or Kendal Jenner herself, you failed to live up to the power and privilege of reaching millions. As a creative, the job description includes consuming media of all kinds and keeping up with news and latest trends. What happened? And as a celebrity, whether model or singer or actress, if you take part in these creative platforms, you need to know what sort of message you’re sending. It doesn’t matter whether you weren’t part of the creative process because you are part of the creative production. You aren’t just a model being told what to do. Your job isn’t just to “show up and look good”; you are someone a lot of people, often young, look up to. Honour that responsibility and step up. What you do in front of the camera matters. Your reputation doesn’t negate your responsibility. Scratch away the fame and you are still a member of society and you have a social responsibility, an obligation to be aware of what’s happening. If you’re going to stand in front of a camera, take the opportunity to stand for something other than yourself.

And sometimes, standing up for something means standing aside. If you’re a Caucasian actor and you’re asked to play an Asian character, say no! If you’re an African American performer cast to play a Hispanic role, say no! It doesn’t matter how big of a celebrity you are. Think about whether there are people better suited for the role, and if you’re damaging or helping the kids who need better representation in the media. Filmmakers need their actors but if you say no and explain why, you can change the way they cast and the way they think.

Whether you’re a YouTuber, small filmmaker, Hollywood director, writer, celebrity, behind-the-scene star, or absolutely anyone else in the creative industry, you need to step up. Think about why the current President of the United States is so against the media. It’s because you have the reach that no world leader could ever have. You have the voice that echoes over any social group. You have the power to inform, shape minds, and even change opinions. Use it for something worthy. Use it to help those who are silenced. Use it to better the world. You need to do better and you need to do it now.

Love,

A Letter Per Person

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