Posted by: Anna | July 20, 2010

A Letter from Past Me

Have you ever written your future self a letter? Probably most of us had to do this in high school or junior high. Yesterday I decided to write my future self an email. I am rarely at a loss for words, but when I sat down, it stumped me. What would future Anna want to know? What would I have forgotten? What did I need to hear from myself?

I like the idea because it gives you a chance to pause in the path of pursuing some end or goal to reflect on what that will feel like when you have arrived. If you are writing a book, where will your head be when it’s completed? If you are planning a trip around the world, what will you have forgotten since you set out? I often am caught up in the process, the steps to reach the end goal, and forget to really understand the effect of the journey and of arrival.

Futureme.org is a site designed to do just this by email. You can also read some of the public entries on the site here. Of course, you can also write yourself a true letter, or a card, and either keep it yourself or give it to a friend to give back to you after you have reached that goal.

Or if an email is just too impersonal, you can send yourself  a time capsule. Tips here on that. I actually think this is kind of extra cool. Rather than thinking temporally, it’s interesting to think about writing yourself just prior to or just after a life event, such as having a child, or retirement, or the loss of a loved one.

I’m not exactly sure what this has to do with our trip, but I know that planning it has given me the chance to intentionally slow down and focus on being more present in my life (for example, I don’t play games on my iphone and watch tv at the same time anymore, mostly. I know, I’m a regular yogi.).  I have appreciated the chance to reflect and get to know myself better, and in making time for that, I can see that being present enhances my life in so many ways.

My “future me” email will come at the end of August – right after we have returned from the Yellowstone trip. I have a big project planned for September (our last month here in Dallas), and I’m hoping the email will strengthen my resolve to complete the project. My plan is to write a new future me email immediately before leaving on the big trip.

Would you write yourself a letter? What about? Would you write someone else a future letter (a spouse, friend, family member)?

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