I replied to my letter to myself from a year ago today.
So what’s this letter to myself thing? It started in my last year of high school, when my literature teacher had everyone in the class write a letter to themselves to be mailed in one year. After my first year of college, I got that letter (I had totally forgotten about it by then, obviously) and was inspired to continue doing it. The person who wrote that first letter didn’t sound like me at all, but it was definitely me. So I thought it would be really fun to write a letter to myself every summer, to keep track of how I’ve changed. It’s sort of like a mini time capsule, and I think it makes for some nice mementos to put in your keepsakes box.
The act of writing the letter helps me reflect on everything that has happened to me in the past year. Often in previous letters, I’ll note down a few things at the end that I’m curious will happen in the future, when I’m writing the next year’s letter, I can look back to see if I can answer my past self’s questions. I really like this form of reflection because it’s low stress. You only have to do it once a year (imagine if you were writing weekly letters to yourself!) Sometimes when I’m down, I like to go back and re-read the letters, because it’s very obvious in them how I’ve grown as a person, and looking back on all the progress I made also makes me more hopeful for the future.
One more thing about these letters. They also function as kind of a low-key, very vague sort of goal setting. As I write down my reflections on the past year, I take count of what I have accomplished and what I have learned. This helps me organize my mind a bit in thinking about what I want to accomplish in the future, and where I want to take my life in general. It clears my mind a bit, especially because a bad habit I have is wondering if I’m a complete failure in life. I’m not, and these letters prove it. It provide peace of mind, because I can see evidence that I’ve reached goals I’ve tentatively set the previous year, and now I have new goals to strive for. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t do well if I’m not working towards some sort of end goal, but adult life sadly lacks these. Like, there aren’t set career milestones that I need to reach by a certain age, nor are there beginnings and ends. You have to set your own milestones and goals and beginnings and ends, and that’s scary. Having these letters comes around once a year is a nice routine, and provides a sort of end point/beginning for stages of life.
That last paragraph was a bit rambly and not very focused, but whatever. Basically, all I’m saying is that I like writing letters to my future self every year, and it’s a great form of reflection. I’ve been doing it for five years now, and I think I’ll try to continue doing it forever.