When I was thirteen years old, in my late night to early morning scroll of Tumblr (because at thirteen I was cool and kind of emo, and all cool and emo kids had a Tumblr account) I stumbled onto a site called FutureMe. This site had, and still has, a very simple, yet ingenious function. It lets you send a letter (read email) to your future self. You write something and then you schedule the time you want it to be delivered, either a specific date or a time interval, like half a year, a whole year, three years, five years, and yada yada.
I was (and kind of still am) fascinated by this idea of communicating with my future self, so I immediately started writing a letter to myself. I poetically set it to deliver in five years just in time for my eighteenth birthday and I wrote all about the struggles I was facing and the hopes and dreams I had for myself, like which school I will go to for my upper secondary education (at the time I was in my artsy drawing phase, so I was hoping to go to Zámeček), how will I look after dying my hair or if my parents will finally yield and get me that puppy I was begging for. You get the idea. So I signed the letter and sent it on its way to the future. I had doubts of course, that I will remember the letter’s contents and will actively try to self-fulfill the prophecy I had forecast for myself, but thankfully due to my ability to forget almost everything the moment I turn away from it, I completely forgot the letter and site existence after a few months.
Life happened and five years later I was celebrating my eighteenth birthday. I got a new phone (because the previous one died in an unfortunate pool-related incident) and while I was in the process of setting it up I checked my inbox and there it was – an e-mail from thirteen-year-old me. Long story short, I disappointed myself in a lot of things. I didn’t go to Zámeček, my hair looked awful after I dyed it with some cheap blue dye and my parents haven’t got me a puppy and a lot more disappointments came my way. But at the end, there was one line, for which I still thank my young, past self even to this day and that line was: “Just be happy.” This simple sentence didn’t magically make my past disappointments and hurts disappear or diminish them, but it did offer a new way of looking at them and helped me to put quite a few things in perspective. Even if, and please pardon my French, I fuck up so badly and my problems seem like the end times, the young me would just want me to be happy.
I still write letters for my future selves and still keep disappointing my past selves, but I never forget to include that one line. And I invite you to try it too. Not the disappointing part, but the writing. It’s a form of therapy, it’s a game of prediction you can play about your life or even the world. You can use it to write a resolution for a new year or to imagine your dreams, the world is your oyster.