‘Write a letter to yourself’, my faculty uttered these words loud and clear in the broadcast writing class. All the fellow students were equally amused and we started giggling among ourselves. Everyone was puzzled by the assignment and thought the teacher has gone gaga. How could we write a letter to ourselves? What would we write in it? Whom do we give it to and where would we post it? And, most importantly why should we write a letter to ourselves?
But since it was a class assignment, we did it anyway. We all wrote a letter to ourselves. The pointers were clearly mentioned on the white board. We had to write the letter keeping the following guidelines in mind:
* What do we want to do in our lives?
* What are our career goals?
* Where do we want to see ourselves after five years?
* What are our aspirations?
* And also, our bucket list.
Confused, I began to write…
“I do not wish to do a 10 to 6 job. I wish to find a balance between my media and linguist career. I do not wish to get stuck in any monotonous job; rather I wish to do everything that interests me. I want to freelance in as many areas of interests as I could manage to. Let’s see where life takes me, and where I would be five years from now”.
The faculty asked us to put the letter into a self addressed envelope and submit it at her desk. She told us that she would post it back to us after five years.
The idea was that we set the goals for ourselves and see where we would reach in life after five years. Whether, after five years we have attained it or not, are we as ethical as we promised to be at the start of our careers, did we compromise and settled for less, are we forced to be at a place where we never planned to be, and so on.
It would be a self assessment.
Back then, it sounded a little odd but still it was an interesting experience. And, on second thoughts it was a nice gesture.
I believe we all should have someone like that in our lives who would do such a thing for us.
Why should we write a letter to ourselves?
There are many benefits of writing down our goals and dreams on a piece of paper and ask someone trustworthy to post it back to us after a chosen span of time.
What should be the time span?
The time could be set as per our suitability: 1,2,5,10 years. Whatever suits us the best.
What could we write in a letter to ourselves?
Anything and everything: It could be a professional goal or a personal desire.
A personal note, a reminder when we feel low.
A message from a loved one that motivates us.
A professional goal.
A bucket list.
Where could we write it?
A personal diary.
A sticky note.
Or, ask a friend to mail it after a chosen span of time.
We all should have a personal letter written from ourselves to ourselves. We have been writing letters to our friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances. So why not write one to ourselves? Wouldn’t it be exciting, if we receive a letter from the 18 year old us at an age of 23, or later?
What did this teenage self wanted us to become? And what have we become? Are we the same as we expected ourselves to be, or have we changed, compromised, settled for less? Or, have we become a person that we hate? Have we given-up on our core values to attain success, have we failed or have we gained what we wanted from our lives.
The 23 years old has a lot to answer to the 18 years old self. Are there any life lessons learnt or forgotten?
The 18 years to 23 years journey is just an example. But, we could write a letter to our future selves for any chosen time.
It is a great way to measure our success, failures, to keep us motivated, or to keep us grounded and righteous. It would serve as a gentle reminder for the future: just in case, if we would have lost our paths, forgotten our values, feel gloomy, feel haughty or have taken the wrong road to victory.
As they say, “do not lose heart in failure or head in success.”
When there would be no one around to guide us; receiving a letter from our old selves to our present selves could be the guiding light.
Today, let us take a moment out of our busy present lives, and write a letter to our future lives.
Author – Preeti Singh (Homepage)
Her books are available on Amazon.