William Liao

April 9, 2021

A letter to 80-year-old me

Dear 80-year-old me, 

It will be a long time before we meet, which I think makes writing this letter about my deepest wishes for you all the more valuable. 

Also, I hope you’re actually 80 when you read this. As you know all too well, no one is guaranteed a long life — if you find yourself needing to read this sooner because your time has come earlier than expected, it is my deepest wish that you were able to live life in such a way that the enclosed wishes still apply: 

I hope love for yourself, your family, and your friends was the centerpiece of your life.

More specifically, I really hope you went out of your way to hug the people closest to you, to have meaningful conversations and experiences with them, to tell them with the utmost sincerity that you love them for the beautiful human beings that they were, and that you’re so grateful to the universe for the miracle that was you two meeting in this life time. 

I hope you were able to discover warmth, meaning, and solace in all the ways that only love can provide.

I hope that you laughed a ton… because what is a life without humor? 

I hope that you were able to find true freedom and comfort in your voice by paying less mind to potential judgment from others, and more to expressing what is really on your mind. In choosing honesty above all — even comfort — I hope that you were able to better understand yourself, the people around you, and the meaning of true friendship. 

I hope you actually used your PTO to embark on unique and fun experiences instead of making a habit of deferring it, saying “now isn’t a good time”. 

I hope you leveraged your youth to do all those crazy hikes that you so enjoy doing. 

I hope you got to contribute to impactful work that helped make the world at least little bit better for its inhabitants. 

I hope that you were kind, compassionate, and tolerant. It is a more kind, compassionate, and tolerant world you wished after all and surely such a world starts with you practicing what you preach. Golden rule and all. 

Above all, I hope you are able to look back at your career, your contributions to the world, the relationship you had with your family, your friendships, your adventures, your wins, your losses, your stumbles, your highest highs, and lowest lows — all of it — and say:

What a great ride it’s been


Your past self who endeavored to make these wishes a reality