To: Melly Belly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Melanie Arteburn <email@example.com>
Time: 05/10/2022, 2:11 am EST
Subject: URGENT! THIS IS YOU FROM THE FUTURE!!! DO NOT DELETE!
To My Younger Self,
I have so much to tell you, where to start? If you meet boys named Walker Deager, Richard Smith, or Michael Hill - date them if you wish - but know that it’s doomed from the start, and it’s for the best that you eventually break up. They are still boys when you meet them, and they haven’t learned what it means to love a woman for herself; they care mostly about what she can offer them. Most boys and men will be like that, and sometimes they grow up to be better. Don’t let that scare you, I just wanted to let you know that’s out there. You eventually find love that seems fit to last with Martin Huong. He’s 26 when you meet in Birmingham, AL, the 1st of August 2016. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend trying to meet him before he’s that age.
I’m sure you’re interested in knowing what the world is like in 2022, the time that I write to you from. I’m sad to report that the world suffers from numerous crises, and its people are divided and conflicted. Natural disasters increase in frequency and intensity as global warming continues unmitigated. A worldwide pandemic ravages the nations and millions have died. Politics becomes a contentious and polarized exercise. Democracy is threatened at home and abroad. I could go on.
I don’t know when you will receive this, only that you might. You might not believe me, and I understand you should be skeptical. Please, hold on to this, and if my predictions come true, then heed my advice!
These events have come to pass in my time:
Grandma Wanda will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. You, Mom, and Dad will move to Tennessee to be close to her in the summer of 2006. She will die Sept. 25, 2015 in a memory care unit. It’s going to be rough. Try to be grateful for the time you have, and don’t be too hard on yourself for the crazy stuff you’re probably going to do.
Dad’s going to file for divorce from Mom in May 2010. You’re going to be the one who answers the door when the sheriff serves her the papers. It’s going to get nasty and acrimonious, but trust me when I say they will be much more sane and happy after a couple years apart. Don’t feel like it’s your fault, it’s not your job to keep them together. There’s no way you acting better as a teenager could have saved their marriage.
You’re going to do pretty well academically and end up getting paid to go to college. However, during those first university years you’ll suffer from a major depressive episode that’s the result of years of poor mental health hygiene, and it’s possible you can still avoid that. Get treatment and support, or risk losing your scholarships!
Stay away from Jared Forner. I’d rather not say why. Just. Stay. Away. From. Him. If you’re receiving this after 2005, then the thing I want you to avoid has already been set in motion.
Barack H. Obama will be elected the first African American president in 2008. Some people will think that means America is moving toward a more equitable society, but it’ll turn out they’re overly optimistic. America on the whole will continue its hostility toward minorities, and white nationalism will become a thing again in America! It’ll eventually be called “MAGA,” for “Make America Great Again.” Despite that, Obama will be reelected in 2012. His administration will pass something called the Affordable Care Act to expand health insurance availability and coverage. It kind of works, and it kind of doesn’t.
During the summer of 2011, you will go on an educational tour of Italy and Greece, so make sure you renew your passport. Or don’t, because Corey and Jacob will have to drive you to New Orleans to get an expedited passport at their regional office just ahead of the trip when you realize yours is expired. You get drunk for the first time walking on Bourbon Street and end up dancing five blocks with a wedding parade and brass band. You’ll thank Corey and Jacob profusely, but they’ll just say, “that’s what big brothers do.”
Speaking of Greece, it will announce bankruptcy in 2015. When you visit in 2011, there will be some protesters in an Athens square restless about the state of the economy, and it turns out they were right to be concerned.
The UK will take a nationalistic right turn in 2016 under the leadership of Boris Johnson, and there will be a push within the country to leave the EU. Instead of Parliament doing their job of making decisions to govern the country, they will turn the decision over to citizens in a referendum. In a very close contest, Britain will decide to leave the EU, and they will spend the next 4 years trying to untangle their finances and policies.
Jacob will meet a woman in the summer of 2015 whom he will marry in the summer of 2016. In May of 2017, they will file for divorce. Just do your best to be a supportive sister while he’s going through all of that, don’t let him go through that alone. It felt like we drifted apart after that because I wasn’t there for him.
Donald J. Trump, the reality T.V. host, will become the US president in 2016 after Obama, even though he loses the popular vote. The weird thing is a cult-like conspiracy group will form around his presidency called QAnon, which casts him as the savior of America taking down a satanic child-cannibalizing cabal. In 2020 he will lose his bid for reelection against Joseph R. Biden, and Trump followers will storm the US Capitol building Jan. 6th 2021 in an attempt to overturn the election results.
A major contributor to President Trump losing the 2020 election will be how he handled the global pandemic that will begin to shut down the world in March 2020. Hospitals around the world will become overwhelmed, and millions will die of it from 2020 to 2022. It’s a dark time, and everyone except essential workers will spend months locked down at home. At one point, you’re going to spend 11 consecutive weeks without meaningful human contact, and during that time you’re going to do some bizarre things out of sheer loneliness and boredom. Don’t be self-conscious about it, lots of people are going to be doing them, too. You’ll learn how to make a really good sourdough loaf.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will die on 18 Sept. 2020. Her dying request will be for the administration to delay replacing her on the supreme court until the start of the next presidential term, so that the will of the people in the election can determine the balance of the court. Naturally, the Trump administration will rush to swear in its nominee ahead of November.
Grandma Coco will die on 2 Dec. 2020 in her sleep, after a couple years of hospitalizations and rapid health decline. Because of the pandemic, you will not see her in the last year of her life, during which she’ll be bedridden. I would say, go ahead and visit her when you can, just be careful and manage the risk as best you can. You won’t get another chance. You will eulogize her at her funeral, during which several people will try to hug you, but since you’ve been practicing social distance for months, you politely try to decline or dodge them.
America will withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation in Aug. 2021. Within days, the entire country will fall to the Taliban. By then, something called “unboxing videos” will be a trend, and the Taliban will celebrate their conquest with the grimmest unboxing videos in history.
On 24 Feb. 2022, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will declare war on Ukraine and invade the nation. He’ll claim that it’s not a war but a special military operation to denazify the government and protect Ukrainian people; however, indiscriminately killing citizens and targeting non-military infrastructure seems the most backward way to go about it. The war is ongoing.
Now, this is my advice:
There’s going to be a housing market crash in 2008, followed by a recession for 2 years. But from 2010-2019 there will be a bull market with few downturns, so invest whatever money you have in the stock market during that time, and you can’t go wrong. In 2019, you’ll want to sell off investments that will see a downturn during pandemic lockdown, things like hospitality and travel services. If you feel guilty about using this information, don’t. U.S. senators will be doing the same thing once they find out about the pandemic ahead of the public. Also, invest in BitCoin when it’s cheap, shortly after you start hearing about it. No one will be able to explain what it is to your satisfaction, but it’s worth a great deal somehow, someday.
Tech companies, especially ones in something called “the share economy” will rapidly gain value, a couple are Uber and AirBNB. I know it sounds crazy, but those are softwares that people will use to ride in strangers’ cars and sleep over in houses of people they’ve never met. Most people will start to get the news from social media instead of the cable television, and a lot of news on TV and the internet will be called “fake news,” and it will take some fact checking to figure out which is which. Most people won’t bother with that. I don’t want you to get duped, so question an article’s motivation, check the sources, and look for corroborating stories when it counts for something.
A lot of this won’t make sense depending on when you get this, which is hopefully shortly after setting up this email account in 2004. You’ll have to wait for events to unfold before they start to make sense to you. I want you, and by extension me, to benefit from this information. But I also hope you’ll aspire to use it to try and make the world better.
You might be wondering what you should do with your life. If I know you, you’re frustrated when adults tell you that you can do anything in life you want, so follow your passion. But if memory serves, you don’t feel particularly passionate about anything yet; you’re still figuring out what you like and trying to find where you belong. So, it feels bad when grown-ups act like you should know what you want and who you are before you’ve had the chance to explore. I won’t tell you to follow your passion and become whatever you want. I won’t tell you what your life’s work should be. Instead, I think you should follow your curiosity, test yourself, and learn to accept the person you discover with compassion.
Don’t let anyone, most of all yourself, try to make you into an ideal or object of admiration. There’s nothing wrong with striving to be your best self, but acknowledge that you’re a complicated person, prone to mistakes, and you’ll find that there’s no shame in it. The shame comes from hiding your truth. My biggest regrets are from being too hard on myself and the people in my life, not reaching out for help when I needed it, and coping in ways that made me lose self-respect. Accepting the dangers of letting others see you for who you are is hard, but there is value in the struggle, and the rewards are worthwhile.
Here’s the biggest piece of advice I wish I had known when I was younger: always empty your bladder after sex. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. After I became sexually active, I had a ton of UTI’s, and one of them developed into a serious kidney infection. Make sure you talk to your doctor if you have painful urination or sex because that is not a normal part of sex for women! If anyone tells you it is, then they’re not doing it right. And while we’re on the subject, always use a condom or other birth control until you’re ready for kids. Don’t believe a guy if he tells you he can’t because of a latex allergy, because there are latex-free ones on store shelves.
Best of Luck,
Future You, Melanie Arteburn
To: Melanie Arteburn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Ashley William Arteburn <email@example.com>
Time: 02/02/2006, 6:50 am CST
Subject: RE: URGENT! THIS IS YOU FROM THE FUTURE!!! DO NOT DELETE!
Stay away from my daughter, she’s 15 years old!!! I don’t know if this is a prank or a scam or if you’re watching us to know about my mother’s diagnosis. But stay away from my family, OR I WILL CALL THE COPS!!! I have blocked your address from my daughter’s email, and she has not seen your message. You will not be able to contact her for whatever twisted game you’re playing. LEAVE OUR FAMILY ALONE!
To: Ashley William Arteburn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Melanie Arteburn <email@example.com>
Time: 05/10/2022, 12:34 pm EST
Subject: RE: RE: URGENT! THIS IS YOU FROM THE FUTURE!!! DO NOT DELETE!
First of all: WTF, Dad?! You intercepted and read my emails? That’s not cool, I thought those were private! Second of all: I’m not a scammer or something else messed up. I’m Melanie from the future, and I can prove it.
Third: WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO CHANGE THE FUTURE?! I’m rereading the email I sent, and I have no idea who Martin Huong is, and half the things I wrote are different now! Something that you did makes it so I never meet a man named Martin Huong, and it changes a bunch of other things, too! I just looked him up on True Social, and he’s been married for three years. Do the math: if we met in 2016, then by the time I sent the email we knew each other for nearly 6 years, and now that never happened! I don’t know how, but you’re screwing up my life and the future. You need to stop before you do whatever it is you did to change things.
Here’s my proof:
These famous people will die in the next three days:
2/3/2006: Al Lewis (Alexander Meister), American actor (The Munsters, Used Cars), dies at 82
2/4/2006: Myron Waldman, American animator (Fleischer Studio), dies at 97
2/5/2006: Franklin Cover, American actor (Tom-The Jeffersons), dies at 77
You once told me something you said you had never told anyone else. Your father died from a neurodegenerative disease. It was initially diagnosed as ALS, but he survived another 5 years, casting doubt on the initial diagnosis. He was given experimentally high doses of Prednisone to attempt to delay his decline, but the last few years of his life he withered to “leather and sticks,” in your words.
On the last day of his life, the two of you got into a fight. You screamed at him and said you hated him, and he died that night from cardiac arrest. Ever since, you have blamed yourself for cutting your father’s remaining time short, because it’s likely the shock of your fight overtaxed his weakened heart. You told me then that you had killed your father. That even though no one blamed you for it, you knew you had murdered him. You knew the risks, but you gratified your own selfish feelings, and it killed him.
You told me that story, and that you had never confessed it to anyone before, shortly before your own death on 12 April 2010. I don’t know a good way to say this, so I’ll just say it. When I wrote that first email, I think you were still alive. Otherwise, I would have mentioned it like I did Grandma Wanda and Coco, and you couldn’t have filed for divorce the month after your death. You died under suspicious circumstances, and Mom was under investigation for homicide because it was discovered she had been having an affair. It was eventually ruled a suicide.
That means something I tell you in these emails will either drive you to kill yourself, or you’re going to reveal to someone that you received communication from the future, and they will kill you to cover up the secret and horde the information for themselves. So, I guess now both of us have murdered our fathers.
And not that it matters, but the Melanie in your time is 14 right now, my birthday is in September! If you can't remember how old I am, at least do the math! You’re an engineer for crying out loud!
Here’s what you need to do: 1. NEVER REVEAL THE INFORMATION IN THIS EMAIL AND YOU JUST MIGHT LIVE. 2. Give the me of your time my original email, and/or delete your copy so it can’t fall into the wrong hands.
Best of Luck,
Your Future Daughter, Melanie Arteburn