Write a Letter to Yourself

Girl Mailing a LetterWriting a letter to yourself, to be delivered at a certain time in the future (say, 5 or 10 years), is a neat little surprise. You can reminisce about the times that you are currently having, to remind future-you. You can tell yourself that things will be okay, that everything works out in the end. You can even include pictures and other mementos, and make an entire time capsule of things that are important to you. Your future self will appreciate the memories of these good times, and they will always be treasured.

A modern way to do this is to write an email to be delivered in the future at any time, from next Friday to next year. You can write anything and even view public, anonymous letters that others have sent to their future selves. Read those for inspiration, and then write your own at FutureMe.org.

It is more romantic, however, to handwrite your own letter and to physically save it somewhere safe. Write “Do Not Open Until [date]” on the envelope, and remember to seal it to avoid peeking!

In 1999, when I was 10 years old, I came across this time capsule making kit. I loved the idea, and it came with a durable bag to put whatever I wanted inside the bag and a label to write the date to open. I set the date to ten years in the future, at 2009. I would be 20 years old. Ten years felt like a million from a child’s point of view. I filled the capsule with a softball trophy, a piece of my hair, some old pennies, a souvenir from a local baseball game, some pictures I drew and painted, and some of my favorite small toys. The last thing I placed into the capsule bag before sealing was a letter, and a list of reasons why I put each item into the time capsule.

When I finally opened it 10 years later, no longer in the room I grew up in, I was close to tears as I remembered what seemed like a long-lost childhood. It was also cute to see one of the first Beanie babies I had, and a rejection letter from trying out to be a National Anthem singer at the same baseball stadium where I kept the icecream hat cup. That rejection letter surprised me, how I could be so young and still be the ambitous person going for her dreams.

Reading the letter, however, nearly brought chills to my spine. When life feels like it is passing you by in a blur, and you don’t stop to realize how far you’ve come, life can get pretty dissatisfying. I could almost go back to the same exact day where I sat on the floor of my old childhood room, writing the letter which I held in my hands ten years later. I asked myself questions about what life was like as a twenty year old, which felt so old at just ten. Some of the things I wanted to do had been accomplished: finding a boyfriend, moving out, getting a job, completing high school, going to college. Other things I was still working on: being less shy, losing weight, finding a career path, getting married. It was completely amazing to find that my life had changed in so many ways, and to still be the same in others.

Action Step: Write a letter to future you, whether online or with pen and paper. Open and read it in 5-10 years. Write about your current life, your favorite memories, things you don’t want to forget. Write about goals you were working on, and ask yourself if you have completed them. Talk about people and places close to you. Talk about the state of the current world. Tell yourself that life is beautiful.

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