It’s my birthday. When I was in middle school, I read a passage in one of L.M. Montgomery‘s books about a character who writes a letter to herself, and then opens it in ten years. I think it was Emily of New Moon, which happened to be my favorite of her books, and that is saying something, as I read virtually all of her books at that time, and there were over a hundred. (Yes, that WAS where all my babysitting money went to!)
That passage had quite an impression, because the year I turned 14, I wrote my first letter to myself, and I’ve been writing them ever since (with the exception of two years in my teens where I was apparently too busy or – more likely, too lazy – to do them.)
I read them every year on my birthday, a gift to myself. I won’t lie. They are sometimes difficult to read, reflecting on the trials of ten years ago, as well as the successes. But they are also so fulfilling to read. They remind me of how far I’ve come, how much has changed, and who I was in the not-so-distant past. They also inform me of how much my brain has changed my own history, which is illuminating, to say the least.
It is never too late to start writing them, so if you are looking for a new way to understand yourself, your history and the people around you, give it a try. You could even open it after one year, or five. It is, after all, your story.
If you choose to write letters to yourself, you might consider writing about who you are, how you feel about yourself and the world, what the people in your life are up to, and what your goals are for the future.
Be kind to yourself. Send love to the future. You may cherish the you that was.
PS: All is not lost if you don’t write your letter on the exact date of your birthday. Approximations okay. Ditto if you don’t finish it all in one sitting; come back to it. The one thing I would hold you to unequivocally is … no early peeking!