We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.”Joan Didion, ”On Keeping a Notebook”
Looking back on our childhoods, many of us, at some point, received an assignment at school to write a letter to our future selves. While it may have seemed like a silly exercise at the time, writing letters to our future selves can be a worthwhile practice for keeping ourselves honest, benchmarking who we are and what matters to us now as a reminder (and data point) for our future selves.
Here are a few ways to get started on your letter to your future self.
Describe Your Current Life
How do you spend your time and who do you spend it with? List your recent accomplishments, new skills you’ve acquired, and your current interests.
Write Down Your Fears and Preoccupations
What thoughts keep you up at night? What challenges are you facing? If you struggle with self-doubt, consider when and why this feeling shows up. You may find that the things that worry you most now are no big deal to your future self, which could help your future self gain perspective on their own worries.
Identify Your Values and Lessons Learned
What matters most to you on a day-to-day basis? What are your guiding principles? What have you learned about yourself and your surroundings, and how does that knowledge impact the decisions you currently make?
Lay Out Your Goals and Dreams
What does your ideal future look like? Think about career, family, where you want to live, skills you hope to develop, and experiences you’d like to have. Then jot down some notes about what you plan to do now, and over the next few years, to begin laying the groundwork for that future.
Prep Your Letter for Future Delivery
You can always seal your letter in an envelope and leave it in a drawer for future you to find, but it might be easier to outsource: A number of online and analog services have stepped up for this very purpose like FutureMe. This is a free online service that will deliver your letter back to you via email anytime between one month to 50 years in the future.
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