It would be so nice to get word from a future version of ourselves. “Don’t buy that purple suit.” Or, “Remember Billy? He’s the CEO of Sony now. Stay friends with him.” So far, I’ve received no such messages.
We can, however, send messages from ourselves, today, to that future version of who we might become. That possible person needs our messages as much as we’d like theirs. They need reminding about what they were like long ago, about the decisions that they made, and what life was like then. These messages can be very useful.
You can use a journal to do this, but there’s something different about sitting down and trying to imagine that future self, to write specifically to them. It requires you to imagine yourself in the future (a positive thing in and of itself), and to try and think of what that person might find useful and beneficial.
So far, time travel is one way only. Your memory, however, is selective. Getting a message from the you that lived ten years ago can carry critical information that the present you might have forgotten or lost track of. And as a writer, learning to communicate vital information, even to yourself, is a very important skill.
For today’s assignment, write a letter to the you who might be years from now. Don’t waste much space introducing yourself, but be sure to clearly state when you are writing from, where you are, and then get down to the meat of the message: what is life like for you at this very moment.
Keep your message short, probably not more than two pages or 500 words. Use that space wisely. Don’t waste it wishing that future person well or expressing hopes for them. Your mission is to convey to this future self useful information about the now you. Don’t say, “Do you remember?,” when you can simply state, “Here’s what happened.” or “This is why I made this big decision.” They may remember, or not, on their own, but they can be aided in their remembering with the information that you send them from the past.
For bonus points, make this assignment a regular task. It might be a good idea to read annually the messages that you’ve sent from the past and write a new one to send to the future. Thus armed, your future self might be less likely to repeat the past and go on to forge a new one.
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