I remember when I was around 14, creating a “time capsule” for myself where I filled a box with cards, letters, lists of favourite songs, and a top 10 friends list. I’d written on the top “DO NOT OPEN FOR 10 YEARS!!! FOR HANNAH ONLY!!!” – I was very concerned with others discovering my secret lists. Of course, I totally forgot about it, and it wasn’t until a few years ago whilst clearing stuff out at my parents’ house that I rediscovered it. I felt like Indiana Jones discovering a lost ancient artefact: the music list gave me a chuckle, and I struggled to remember faces for half of the names on my friends list. It was fascinating to see what things I thought would mean the most to me in the future: it made me look back at my 14-year-old self with such warmth and wistfulness.
I could make another time capsule, but I thought it might be interesting instead to write to myself in the future. Document what is happening right now, how I feel, and what I hope for my future. Heavy stuff. That’s why I thought I would keep it a manageable length of time, and send my email 1 year in the future.
There are a few different websites that offer this, but I decided to go with one that’s been around for many years, and therefore most likely to still be around to send my email next year, Future Me.
I wrote briefly about what I’d done that day, a conversation I’d had with my pregnant friend, and a summary of life in times of the Coronavirus so far. At the end, I wrote down a list (can’t break the habit of a lifetime!) of things I hope to I have done within the year: it included things like enjoy a meal in a restaurant with friends, finally make a sourdough loaf, and mainly, see and hug all my friends and family again. Things I think we all want to do within the next year.
I ended my letter by giving myself a pep talk. I told myself how much I love I have for myself, and how proud I am. Not natural things to write, but I think it’s important to be our own cheerleaders sometimes – these are things I would easily say to a friend, so why not myself?
This was a really enlightening exercise, making me look into the future at a time in my life when that can be difficult. I really look forward to the email arriving in a year, I’m only regretting not adding a list of my favourite songs!