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Nate’s
It all started with writing letters to Santa Claus. Every year, starting in July, I would sit down my desk that seemed to have been hit by a small tornado, sharpen a pencil, and write to Santa in my most immaculate cursive. I would dedicate pages upon pages to updating this jolly old man on how my birthday bash went over, whether the tooth fairy decided to be generous this year, or maybe even who my latest crush was. Adorable, I know. But as the years passed, believing in Santa Claus became a memory, as did writing him letters. I was determined to find a way to keep a record of my memories and experiences, even if Santa Claus wasn’t the recipient. So, every Christmas Eve I wrap up everything that has happened in the past 365 days into a two or three page letter, and jam it into the “forbidden drawer” of my jewelry box until the following year. It always surprises me how much I change as a person every year, and each letter preserves a little bit of last year’s Laura.
Some of the contents are profound – learning to drive a stick shift, getting Honor Roll, or buying my first camera. But invariably there are petty squabbles that I just couldn’t get off my mind in December, like a bad grade on a pop quiz or a fight with one of my sisters.
I put all of these thoughts away into a letter and forget about them as school picks up and life returns to its unfortunately hectic mode. Life moves on, my sister and I reconcile, my award starts gathering dust on a desk somewhere, itself long forgotten.
I quickly become so caught up in my daily life and the complications that come from my obligations to my schoolwork and organizations and my family that even as daily lives turn to weekly and monthly I never really get a chance to hit pause and look back and ask “how did I get here”? And it’s partly that chaotic forward momentum that leads so many people to take for granted the amazing opportunities and friends and family that they are so lucky to have.
Who I am is made and remade everyday. Every interaction adds another pebble to the giant pyramid that is myself. My Christmas letters track the construction. Each successive year my letters become more personal and there are fewer pieces of trivial material. It’s infeasible to record everything that happens, so I do the next best thing. The big things, not the short arguments that get resolved over a weekend or the flings that die out in a month, the things that really matter at the end of the year get written down.
By recording my memories and feelings I become my own personal therapist. They provide a glimpse of not just what happened to me, but who I was, what I felt, and why I felt it. Reading these letters suddenly brings back a wave of forgotten memories that not only give me a slight smile, but also take me back to my mindset at the time. I can scoff at my youthful naiveté in jest because I’m still young. I still have a lot to learn. I see what I’ve become and begin to understand everything in context. Every seemingly insignificant piece of lined paper is a milestone of maturity in my childhood and soon adulthood. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.
How did I get here?

I've often been so caught up in my daily life and the complications that come from my obligations to my schoolwork and organizations and my family that I rarely get a chance to hit pause and look back.

So I invented a way.

I quickly become so caught up in my daily life and the complications that come from my obligations to my schoolwork and organizations and my family that even as daily lives turn to weekly and monthly I never really get a chance to hit pause and look back and ask “how did I get here”? And it’s partly that chaotic forward momentum that leads so many people to take for granted the amazing opportunities and friends and family that they
We all take for granted the amazing opportunities and friends and family who we
How did I get here?

I've often been so caught up in my daily life and the complications that come from my obligations to my schoolwork and organizations and my family that I rarely get a chance to hit pause and look back.

So I invented a way.

It all started with writing letters to Santa Claus. Every year, starting in July, I would sit down my desk that seemed to have been hit by a small tornado, sharpen a pencil, and write to Santa in my most immaculate cursive. I would dedicate pages upon pages to updating this jolly old man on how my birthday bash went over, whether the tooth fairy decided to be generous this year, or maybe even who my latest crush was.

Adorable, I know. But as the years passed, believing in Santa Claus became a memory, as did writing him letters. But I was determined to find a way to keep a record of my memories and experiences, even if Santa Claus wasn’t the recipient.

So, every Christmas Eve I wrap up everything that has happened in the past 365 days into a two or three page letter, and jam it into the “forbidden drawer” of my jewelry box until the following year. It always surprises me how much I change as a person every year, and each letter preserves a little bit of last year’s Laura.

Some of the contents are profound – learning to drive a stick shift, getting Honor Roll, or buying my first camera. But invariably there are petty squabbles that I just couldn’t get off my mind in December, like a bad grade on a pop quiz or a fight with one of my sisters.
I put all of these thoughts away into a letter and forget about them as school picks up and life returns to its unfortunately hectic mode. Life moves on, my sister and I reconcile, my award starts gathering dust on a desk somewhere, itself long forgotten.
I quickly become so caught up in my daily life and the complications that come from my obligations to my schoolwork and organizations and my family that even as daily lives turn to weekly and monthly I never really get a chance to hit pause and look back and ask “how did I get here”? And it’s partly that chaotic forward momentum that leads so many people to take for granted the amazing opportunities and friends and family that they
We all take for granted the amazing opportunities and friends and family who we
are so lucky to have.

Who I am is made and remade everyday. Every interaction adds another pebble to the giant pyramid that is myself. My Christmas letters track the construction. Each successive year my letters become more personal and there are fewer pieces of trivial material. It’s infeasible to record everything that happens, so I do the next best thing. The big things, not the short arguments that get resolved over a weekend or the flings that die out in a month, the things that really matter at the end of the year get written down.


By recording my memories and feelings I become my own personal therapist. They provide a glimpse of not just what happened to me, but who I was, what I felt, and why I felt it. Reading these letters suddenly brings back a wave of forgotten memories that not only give me a slight smile, but also take me back to my mindset at the time. I can scoff at my youthful naiveté in jest because I’m still young. I still have a lot to learn. I see what I’ve become and begin to understand everything in context. Every seemingly insignificant piece of lined paper is a milestone of maturity in my childhood and soon adulthood.

As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.