I send myself email reminders to pick up milk on the way home or the dry cleaning. Yes, that is an email that I will open at a future time. But I am talking about writing an email that I will receive years in the future.
Today, I wrote myself an email which I will receive on June 1, 2025. On this date, my only child and son, who is now in elementary school, will graduate from high school.
Many parents tell me how difficult it can be when their child graduates and leaves the nest for the first time. I decided to prepare for that moment by writing myself a loving email with words of encouragement and praise.
Ever since I saw a time capsule opened in elementary school, messages from the past have intrigued me. Yes, I loved the Back to the Future movies. I was also a fan of the concept of different choices leading to alternative realities. I read the Choose Your Own Adventure book series and watching movies like Sliding Doors.
When I learned that it was possible to send an email to myself in the future, I knew I had to try it out. The first time, I wrote myself an email at a point of transition and uncertainty. Another time, I wrote a congratulatory message for completing a goal on a specific date a year in the future.
Every time I see one of these emails in my inbox, they take me by surprise. As I read the message, I am often moved to tears. It can be eerie to see how accurate I was in guessing my state of mind or reality in the future.
How to write a future self email
Want to email an inspirational and encouraging email to yourself 1, 5, 10, or 20 years in the future?
First, visit futureme.org to make this possible. For inspiration, I like to view some of the public messages on the site.
If you prefer pen and paper, you could also do this exercise by writing yourself a letter. Put it in a safe place, and then set a reminder to open it. My handwriting is difficult to read, so I prefer email and the added element of surprise.
When I am ready to write, first I replace “Dear FutureMe” with “Dear Kelsey.”
Next, I select when I want the email delivered to my inbox. I like to send messages on significant birthdays, anniversaries, or milestone dates. If you find it hard to choose, you can write more than one message.
I also make sure to select the button “keep my letter private.”
Now, I am ready to write. I picture the date I will receive the message and imagine what my best friend would say to me at that time.
What to write to my future self
I choose to write a powerfully supportive email to myself. I offer myself kindness, encouragement, and praise as I can never get enough of all these things.
I imagine that everything has gone right by that date. Where will I be? I dream about my future with optimism and hope. Sometimes I set goals for myself and envision a future where I reached them. Other times, I predict what my world will be like on that date.
In doing this, it is almost as if my future self is sharing her wisdom with me as I write the message. I don’t know if writing these emails impacts how I will act now to achieve what I desire in the future, but it can’t hurt.
Questions to ask your future self
What is the one question I want my future self to answer?
Do I feel the way I want to in the key areas of my life? Am I living according to my core desired feelings? Am I happy?
Is there a goal or desired condition that I hope to achieve? What did I do to get there? Visualize this in as much detail as you can. (This is known as backcasting.)
Where am I? Where do I live?
What am I doing?
How do I look?
Send to the future!
After I clicked send to the future, I found a very appropriate song performed by Boehm called Future Self feat.
While she sings the chorus, she asks:
Oh, if I could send a letter to my future self, would it even help? Oh, if I heard all the secrets from my future self, would it even help?
I keep writing these emails because I do believe that it helps.