Writing to the future
It’s a fairly common tradition this time of the year for people to take stock of their year by writing reviews. I have read a couple of 2018 reviews this year. Reading such reviews made me realize that in some way, we all experience similar things- even though the experiences may be different- with the common goal of being more than we were in the past. I did a short review-like paragraph myself in a previous post. Anyways, I had a thought about changing it up a bit, a thought I’ve had for some years now but never acted on - writing a letter to my future self.
I’ve seen blog posts where people wrote to their younger selves or their future selves but this is just slightly different. The idea is to write a letter to your future self now in the present and get it mailed to you at a set date in the future - months, a year, 5 years or more. I’d like to think of it as taking a snapshot in time, a literary representation of our current state of mind and circumstances, aspirations which we present as a gift to encourage/challenge our future selves.
Writing a letter in the present to be delivered in future is a literary representation of our current state, presented to our future selves.
There are various reasons I can think of in support of writing a letter to your future self and here are some:
- Appreciation: It can help to cultivate an attitude of appreciation, seeing where you were at the time of the writing of the letter and where you are now. Even if it’s not where you want to be.
- Creating a future: So this letter writing can be seen as goal setting. However, it’s a bit more than that. It’s a conversation that you’re having in the present with yourself about what you hope to achieve in the future. It’s you challenging yourself to be better than you currently are.
- Self-awareness: So even though I’ve never written a letter to my future self before now, I have come across some of my write-ups from long ago and depending on the content, I either wonder how I could possibly have been that person or realize that I’m still the same person from years ago. It’s amazing how we can change so much over time and still remain the same in some way.
- Receiving a gift from your past: This feels like time travel in a way. Lol. How many times have we wished we could somehow gain access to the past? Well this is an opportunity to receive something from the past. Although we can’t change things that have happened in the past, it wouldn’t hurt to receive a piece of our past somehow.
The thought of doing this might seem a bit scary, like what if you fall short of what you promised yourself in your letter? But I personally think that’s also a reason to write it anyway, as a way of challenging yourself to do more, be more. If you get a letter from your past and you feel you’ve fallen short of certain things, I feel that should be a propeller, personalized challenge to aim to do more.
This doesn’t take out the need for regular reviews. You can even compare the letter you wrote the year before to the review you’ll be writing in the year you receive it to see if you really did meet your goals. I once heard someone compare this with companies taking regular stock of their progress. They do that because the progress of the company is a goal that is important to them. So if your progress and growth as a person is important to you, you should take out time regularly (more than once a year even) to review where you were, where you are and where you want to be.
If companies take regular stock of their progress to know how well they are doing, you should do some some review on your self too. Your life is your most important investment and you should perform regular checks to know how you are doing.
Here are some tips on how to write the letter, this isn’t set in stone but just a guideline:
- Write about where you are now, mentally, career wise, any other aspects.
- Are there any goals or milestones you hope to have achieved? Write those down too.
- Write about things you ought to have stopped or hope to still be doing.
- Drop some words of encouragement for future self.
Doing this electronically as opposed to writing on a paper or journal and storing it is to help reduce the chances of the letter either being forgotten or misplaced during moves or some other incidents. If you’d like to join me in doing this, you can also write your own letter to yourself here. I set mine to be delivered after a year for now but I’d definitely write to farther times subsequently.
You can also write a letter here, this site helps you set the dates to less than a year. If you will like to receive the letter physically, rather than electronically through your email, you can go here, however this comes at a cost as opposed to the other sites which are free.
Cheers to being more!