Writtalin’s very own Patrick Smith composed a poignant and touching ode to his past self a few days ago (okay it wasn’t an ode…wait, what is an ode? Ode, ode, ode. Haha. Funny word. Sorry.). In it, he endearingly reminisced over the olden days of high-school when everything seemed to suck a little better than it sucks now. I think we can agree that most of our hair-styles were fun while they lasted, along with the relationships, and the fears of never getting to second base. But hidden under the laughs are very real feelings from the gut concerning things like sentiment and wisdom. Think about how far you’ve come, Patrick, really. Think about your view of the world, then and now. Stare long into the eyes of yourself in a picture and think about that shit. I’ll wait.
Okay it’s not just Patrick, we all need to take a step back here and gain some perspective. I’ll show you how.
I personally was considering writing a love note to my former self (I do so love my self) when I suddenly remembered that I am still waiting for a letter from myself. I’m not talking about an envelope I stuck in the mail three business days ago, no sir. Something way cooler. Ladies and lads, in this, the age of the glorious interweb, you can send an email into the future. Mind equals blown.
It’s called futureme.org and it’s a stroke of genius. The site does precisely what Patrick Smith did last week, but in the opposite direction—you can send an email to yourself that won’t be delivered until the date you choose, which can be anywhere between tomorrow and the year 2064, where the date parameter tops out (that’s kind of freaky to think about, no?). It’s simple, just rant about your life in the space provided and send it soaring out into the ether until some server kicks it on down to your gmail years from now. Plunk: blast from the past.
There is an option to make your letter public (though anonymous) and you can read other people’s public letters as well. The content varies from notes about the day to thoughts of suicide and depression to funny jabs about growing up. One email that was sent 6 years ago reads, “If you haven’t popped out a kid by now, you should probably start thinking about it. Tick tock and all that.” Funny, yet ominous.
As I read over some of the public letters I couldn’t help but notice that the things we say to our future selves are things that perhaps we should be saying to our present selves. “I hope you are doing better than me,” reads one letter sent to today from 5 years ago, “I think about suicide a lot…I hope you have overcome binge eating disorder.” I got goose bumps wondering if this person got a chance to receive this email today.
So I’m going to take a turn here, friends, and end this article on a more serious note. I’ve taken enough psychology and counseling to know that the love and caring that people have for others also needs to be projected inward to the self in order to sustain a healthy self-image. Many of the letters on futureme are really hopeful and encouraging. And what a great idea it is to send a pep-talk to yourself. It might arrive at the perfect moment in the future! But why not pep-talk our present selves? Take any advice you would tell someone else to make them feel better and say it to yourself right now. I’m serious. Say “good job for making it this far.” Say it. SAY IT. Positive self-talk is a must in my book.
I remember using futureme about three years ago and I know that three years ago was a pretty “yuck” time for me. I can only imagine what I wrote about (seriously, I don’t remember). Yeesh. I can’t wait to get it back though, even though I have no clue when I decided to have it delivered. It’s an odd feeling, impatiently waiting for a letter from myself. I highly recommend it.
Who knows where we’ll be in a year, or five, or fifty? Reading over the public emails, I have to say that it doesn’t look like there is anything we are worrying about today that we will still be worrying about in five years. More importantly, there is nothing that other people haven’t worried about, too. Everything is relative. A long timeline—like, lifespan long—really helps bring home that idea, and futureme puts our lives into that perspective. I hope that every person’s letter finds his or her future self out there, safe and sound. At the end of the day, the serious side of futureme seems to be a reminder not to sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.
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