Letters to Grandpa, Part One


My grandfather did the same thing as every year: wrote me a cheque for my birthday. It’s always appreciated, even though I’ve told him that it’s not necessary given that we’re grown people. He wants to help us enjoy more things while he’s still alive. I suspect he also wants to see other things while he’s still alive, but he ain’t getting a lot of that from me.

I kind of made a point of that in the thank you letter I wrote back to him. I haven’t sent it yet because I’d like to absorb it just a bit more, for its brilliance and to make sure that I’m not being an utter dick to my elder.

It could be read as rude and defensive, or it could be read as the nuanced commentary it’s intended to be. Those two things are fundamentally who I am though, about 20/80 per cent respectively.

I start with this:

Thank you for the birthday money. Time does not seem to be linear anymore, so I’ve been more likely to forget that a) it’s my birthday, b) my birthday should be important to me, and c) I should be important to myself.

I’m sure a lot of people who know me, and who could very well read this, think I’m obliviously self-centered and out of tune with how pretentiously I come across. They will scoff at the notion that I didn’t really have a sense of it being my birthday this year and not even get what it means for time not seeming to be linear. But I think my grandfather will understand that.

The bulk of the letter goes on describing what’s happening and what’s to come. It talks a bit about what I’ve been doing and makes satire of itself. It’s just a few paragraphs; it looks like more than it is because I increased the font size for legibility. In the closer, though, it gets quite deep. I wasn’t high while writing this.

Your very generous and much appreciated gift helps keep me in perspective on how important self-reward and self-care are. I’m navigating through an unfamiliar adult world of stability and self-reliance that I thought I would never see, given the past few years of runoff from the global financial collapse that was right on cue for derailing my opportunities. My life improvements over the past several months and the incessant phone calls from my bank to discuss investment options have been gradually drilling it in that I might have a future and perhaps I should put some thought into it. Then again, when I get a clearer vision of where I actually want to go in the future I also see impending failure and consider walking straight into the river instead.

The river is still very cold, though. I’ll put that idea to the side.

There needs to be more to a letter like this than “Work is going well. I’m excited for [thing] to happen. I think I might be out there to visit you within a period of time that appears real but is not yet within reach.” If your letter to your grandpa doesn’t say “I’m very much aware of my shortcomings, and there are contributing circumstances that I’m working around because apparently adulthood is, in concept, a sham” then how does he really know you connect anymore? This is a slight nod and a tap on the nose, in 16pt font so he can read it himself…and hopefully won’t get any other relatives to read it out to him.


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