Life Stories

Hey future Sarah – I hope you’re still fighting the good fight

You're almost half a century old now - and even at that age, you'll probably need some wisdom.

The younger you has some advice that you don’t ever want to forget. It’s advice you tell yourself now… and hope that you don’t need a reminder for in the future – but hey, you never know. So here I am, writing to you in the future, to the older version of me, just in case.

Right now, it’s 2016. Nobody can accurately predict what the world will be like in 2036 (especially with Donald Trump running for president) – but the hope is that you’re still alive – and, well, doing well. Regardless, whether your life is in shambles or you’re doing okay, here’s some advice from your younger self that hopes that you never forget where you’re from, how hard you’ve worked, and how much more you still have left for the world – regardless of your age.

1. Never. Stop. Traveling.

You got your Bachelor’s and then went on to get your Master’s from Harvard. But it wasn’t until after your Harvard graduation that you decided to finally venture out into the world and traveled to Norway for seven weeks – and it absolutely changed your life. Not only did it open your eyes to the idea that you don’t live in the center of the world (in the “best” country in the world, as you believed), but for the first time in your life, you saw first-hand why you are a social justice advocate. Finding a true appreciation of the world’s people and their cultures, traditions, and lands through travel has been one of the greatest blessings of your life. And ultimately, it drives your passion to make the world a better place. You were too busy to travel before you were 25 – never allow yourself to be too busy to see and discover the diversity of the world ever again. This leads me to my next point:

2. Never stop trying to make the world a better place.

One of your biggest prides at the moment is being a global peace educator and social justice advocate. People think you’re delusional when you say your ultimate goal is to make the world a better place. You’ve taken to the streets to protest the Israeli occupation, have taught children from over 20 countries about Otherness and peace and war, and want to be an Islamic Studies scholar that works with race, gender, and human rights – all for a better world. Your biggest fear is ending up in an office job and living a convenient lifestyle that keeps you too busy to care anymore – and hopefully this fear will always fuel you to race towards your passion. Whether it’s through teaching your own children about social justice and human rights – or volunteering just a few hours here and there – don’t ever give up on trying to make the world a better place.

3. Always include your loved ones in your top priorities.

Two of your biggest regrets are times where you should’ve made your loved ones your top priority. You missed the first year of your goddaughter’s life, because you couldn’t manage to find enough time to see her between working full-time and going to school full-time. When your baby sister needed you the most in regards to her mental illness, you were too busy starting a new life as a graduate student in Boston. You look back and know for a fact that you could’ve been there if you had managed your time better and didn’t obsessively redo homework assignments and study endlessly when you knew you had your good grades in the bag. Even today, when you’re working, you get so caught up you don’t speak to your family and friends for weeks, because you think you’re too busy. You need to stop that. There’s no point in moving your life forward without enjoying it with the ones that have been your support system and have loved you unconditionally throughout it all.

4. Stop letting your fear of getting older hold you back.

Right now, you’re 29 and already freaking out about being too old to accomplish everything that you want to do in your life. So I can’t even imagine you twenty years from now when you’ve accomplished some of your goals and have added some more to the list. You’ve even thought about changing your goals, because you think that you’re getting too old to accomplish them. You’re not going to change them, though. At the moment, you keep reminding yourself that your age DOESN’T matter and should NEVER matter when it comes to making your life better for yourself, your loved ones, and the world. In case you’ve forgotten this, remember this mantra that is getting you through everything now.

5. Don’t kill your husband (by exercising… or something).

A two for one, really. You’ve battled with your weight all your life – constantly going up and down by almost a hundred pounds. If you’ve finally balanced your weight out, good for you for finally making it happen and making sure it sticks. If you haven’t and have gotten back on the working out bandwagon (or have given up completely), keep going. It’s never too late to live for a healthier you and a longer life. You’ve still got a long ways to go, and it’ll be better if you’re healthier.

And speaking of longer living – don’t kill your husband. I know you sometimes think about it when he leaves his clothes all over the house or dishes in the sink. Just remember, you fell in love with each other for a reason – and he’s been right by your side for the last 22 years (and will be there for hopefully forty more!). He’s your partner for life – through thick and thin, light and dark. He’s the one that has been the joy in your laughter and the breathe of your lungs – the reason your heart skips a beat every morning.

And besides, jail would totally not be your thing – you’re too sensitive for that crap… they’ll break you within minutes.

  • Sehrish Sarah Khan-Williamson

    Sarah Khan-Williamson is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (MTS, Islamic Studies ’14) and George Mason University (BA, English and Religious Studies ’11) – and is pursuing two MA degrees at the University of Arizona (Middle Eastern & North African Studies, Public Administration). She prides herself on being a global peace educator and leader for CISV, advocate for social justice and human rights, and her makeup skills.