Do not open until…
Have you ever written to your future self? Well I have … and I got my predictions wrong! When I left school aged 16 in 1995 my friends and I decided to write letters to our future selves and store them away to read in 5 years time. I was the gatekeeper so was tasked to store the letters in a safe place not to be opened until the turn of the century in the year 2000. I predicted that in 5 years time I would be renting my own place, working full time as a social worker and enjoying being single. I also predicted that I would own a cat and go out socializing a lot.
Fast forward to 2000 my situation was as follows:
- I had graduated and was working as a qualified social worker- predicted correctly.
- I never owned a cat- incorrect prediction.
- I was living with my brother not renting my own flat- incorrect prediction.
- I had met the love of my life at the bus stop and was engaged to be married the next year- incorrect prediction.
- I did actually socialize a lot and traveled to a fair few destinations with friends and family- predicted correctly.
- One of the friends with whom I had made this letter writing pact was no longer in touch, she had changed her number and moved away. That letter never got delivered.
The excitement of remembering that I had to open my letter died out a few months after initially writing them. I totally forgot they existed until I was clearing out my closet packing to move before the wedding. It was 2001 and my old handbag fell out of the back of my wardrobe along with the 4 letters. They were in immaculate condition considering they had been hand written years ago. I sat on the floor staring at them suddenly remembering I was meant to have posted these letters out to my mates a year ago. I put their letters aside and excitedly opened my own one.
Dear Future Kam, I hope you are well and not dead yet. I laughed out loud. My 16 year old self jumped out at me in jest and reminded me of my younger carefree days. As I read the words in my letter I noticed how much my handwriting had changed since then. I had used different colored inks to highlight different things and drawn doodles and shapes on the corners of the letter. It made me smile. I had even stuffed a small photo in the letter of us all together. Such fond memories. So much had changed since I wrote the letter. I had grown up, entered the world of work and life had become more serious. I was about to start the next chapter of my life by marrying my then fiance (to whom I remain happily married with 3 children and a parrot 20 years on)
Have you ever done this? Written to your future self, or put together a mini time capsule to be opened in years to come? I have heard that there are some email services that allow you to send yourself an email with a future date that will pop into your inbox on that set date in the future. Or you can do it the old fashioned way and handwrite yourself a letter labelled ‘do not open until 2030’ or whatever year you choose. Hopefully unlike me you will store the letter safely and actually remember to open it on the correct future date. There’s nothing quite like it, a piece of your past self on paper. Keeping a journal has similar effects, you can read them years later and reminisce about past events.
Have a think and see if you want to write to your future self. There are no rules on what you write- just that you store it safely and label it with an opening date. It’s something I really enjoyed doing and would do again. Only next time I will set some kind of reminder so I don’t miss the date! There is a real joy when carrying out activities like this and you can write about anything that you want. You could detail whats happening in your life right now- predict what you will be doing in the future, or simply just write yourself a poem or story to read in the future. It’s a form of creative expression that is totally unique to you. I would love to hear from you in the comments if you have ever done this and how it made you feel. For me it was a lovely experience.