Recently I found a letter labelled "Duncan" with a date after which it was ok to open.

It was from myself.

[Photo by Kate Macate on Unsplash]

A Letter From the Past

It was from the start of Covid, when I was living in a flat with a friend, between selling a house and buying a flat in another town. It had in my observations of the time and my hopes and current challenges.

It was interesting what had changed in over a year, where I was at the time mentally and what had been forgotten.

It was a gift from my past self.

Writing Letters Our Future Selves

I don't remember where the idea came from, but I've seen it a couple of places.

It's something I'd recommend to anyone reading this

It centres your current thinking and leaves a present for a future self.

Over time it can also provide a kind of journal.

WikiHow has a 13 step guide to writing letters to ourselves

I've written a few letters to myself with a year in between. I think I've got one with a 5 year gap an no idea what is in it. Each one I've opened has been a worthwhile experience.

An Easy Guide to Writing a Letter To Yourself

  • Get some paper and an envelope. Make it fancy if that's your thing
  • Decide on the minimum time before the letter should be opened. A year is a good default.
  • Write to yourself. Put in your current state and situation. Add your immediate hope and fears. Add where you want to be in a year's time. ┬áthe future
  • Talk about your ventures and dreams, what brings you joy. Add in other things important to you your future self might like to read about.
  • Seal it in an envelope addressed to yourself and put on the earliest date to open it.
  • Keep it somewhere safe that you don't check very often but do check occasionally. So not in a box in the loft you'll only see when you unpack at a house several years in the future.


You could also write something for others, a lover, a friend, a child or a relative.

Make it a video or a voice recording.

Set it up as an email to send to yourself 3 years in

Most will have gone from your mind by the time you read it. It will give a snapshot

You can make it a ritual thing, done every few months with expensive paper or in a particular place.

Finishing Up

It might be harder to store them when travelling around lots!

What surprises have you left to yourself?

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