Hello! If you’re just tuning in, we’re Sally, Ming, and Linda — hosts of the Moving Oolong Podcast, where we share personal and hopefully relatable stories and dreams as Asian American best friends in our early twenties. For the first episode of 2021, we decided to write letters to our 30 year old selves. We’ve had this podcast for a year now, and we always talk about holding it as a time capsule for us to look back on. So we took the time to reflect on the past and future, and make something we can read and listen to with a smile when we’re 30.
Dear 30 year old Sally,
Hello it’s me 9 years from the past, I hope this letter finds you well. I hope that you have figured out what you want to do in life (or at least are closer to figuring it out) because right now, I am feeling pretty lost with so many questions on my mind… Is grad school the right choice for me? What am I even interested in studying? Should I try doing an entire career change? Can I handle being away from my family for an extended period of time — and what new opportunities could come up if I do move away? Will I find another significant other? Is the pandemic over yet? The future that feels so scary and uncertain for me right now must feel like ages away by the time you are reading this.
I’m sure that by then you will have found the answers to many of these questions and probably have a new set of unanswered questions bogging your mind.
Although this period of time has been rough, I have a lot to be grateful for at this moment. I’ve learned to treasure the bits of daily life that I used to take for granted, such as spending time with family (and properly learning how to play mahjong), zoom calls and occasional gatherings with friends, and making pottery.
I hope that in the future you will keep a hold of these things that make you happy, and that you can be at peace with how your life is going while worrying less about what is to come.
Also you better still doing this podcast at age 30… and I hope that you do more of the things that you wanted to do but seemed crazy before — namely adopting a cat/dog and taking a solo trip (post-pandemic).
Love, a younger Sally
By the time you’re 30,
I hope your group chat with Sally and Ming isn’t still called Body Pumped 🤪. You used to be very intrigued by cosmopolitan…things when you were younger. I hope you got to fulfill those urges because if you’re thirty it’s too late now. You’re either completely enmeshed in the cosmopolitan life so you’re not weird about it anymore or you’re into classical shit. You have that something about taking care of business in conjunction with the aesthetics of taking care of business!
Remember when you were 22 and trying to relate to your 30 year old co-workers about their parenting life? I hope that time has come for you too, or is coming soon. You know that it will be the most transformative love you have ever felt.
It’s weird to try and dream of the ideal 30 year old life, while your actual 30 year old self has their own dreams and goals and escapist fantasies you could never have thought of.
I was looking at other letters people wrote to their 30 year old selves because I don’t really know what to say…and the more I read them the more I recoil from writing this. I don’t have any advice because I’m sure you know better than me and also you hate getting advice. If you heard me say “never give up on your dreams” you would be like “is this Naruto?” But yes…never give up on idealism and possibility of radical change, even though so far the pattern has been become more radical over the years!
We are one!
Dear 30 year-old Ming,
I have a lot of questions to ask you, but unfortunately I will not know the answers until you read this…
First of all, please tell me the coronavirus has been eradicated from the world. Hopefully, it has been long forgotten or at least acknowledged as a scientific triumph. But right now, that’s the biggest social, political, economic, and health news.
Anyways, 30 years old seems so old but I remember that’s how I felt about 18 and 21. So I guess, after 21, the biggest milestone for birthdays is 30. By now, I hope you have your career somewhat figured out. I at least wish that you’re happy and engaged with the work. If you went back to grad school, hopefully the extra degree actually helped.
I also hope that a job or person may have taken you farther away from home.
You did go to college right next door to your high school, so maybe you’ve seen more of the world? Or at least the country?
Speaking of a person… there’s no pressure on that. Like everything else, I hope you’re happy and content with whoever it is, or even if it’s just you.
You probably won’t remember, but the Ming writing this is really content. Obviously the public health crisis I mentioned isn’t great. But I just read one of my old college journals and it’s wild to see how much my opinions and perspectives have changed in just a few years.
There’s only 7/8 years between you and me now, depending on when you read this.
I’m sure a lot has changed, but also I hope the good things have remained constant. Your love of plants and reading. Maybe not this podcast, but definitely this friendship.
And maybe even your realistic, yet romanticized way of looking at the world. You better not be too beat down and jaded!
With love, 22 year-old Ming
And those are our letters! While we confess it felt a little squeamish to write, it was fun to share them with each other. Here’s to a better world in 2029, and to more confidence, love, and wisdom for the future selves we’re growing into! Try not to cringe too hard when you look back on this ;)