Life’s everyday goings-on can feel too dull to bother with. I mean, come on: will future-you really want to read about your Stranger Things obsession and your latest fight with your kid brother? Shouldn’t you be writing about world-shattering events instead?
Not at all. In fact, when it comes to deep nostalgia, small personal details aren't just worthy: they’re the bread and butter. Talking about the things that matter in your life, however seemingly inconsequential to planet Earth and the survival of our species, are going to be big hits with future-you. Believe us.
Future-you wants to be reminded of what life is like right now. The things you love (and loathe). The things that make you laugh (and cry). And the things that keep you entertained and inspired by life. These are the things that will give you the biggest rush of nostalgia when that letter arrives months, years or even decades from now.
Still in doubt? Allow us to explain why these 10 observations are perfect for sending to your future self.
Your favorite song or band
Your favorite book, movie or game
Best experiences you've had in the past year
Biggest news story that affected you
Something that made you smile recently
Something that made you cry recently
Something that made you angry recently
Something that you're (probably) spending way too much money on at the moment
Best decision you made recently
Biggest goal or wish for your future
1. Your favorite song or band
One thing that really marks the moment for us humans is music. You can be certain that in 10 years’ time, hearing a song by a band you’re listening to today will instantly throw you back to this moment. After all, music gets into our blood. It sticks. Future-you might smile (or grimace!) to know what you’re listening to right now.
2. Your favorite book, movie or game
Books, movies and games can define free-time for whole generations. From Harry Potter to Star Wars to Fortnite, entertainments like these aren’t just ways to pass the time: they’re the motivation for many an adventure and the bedrock of many a friendship. You know that feeling you get when someone loves the same obscure author you do? Re-live the thrill by mentioning the book (and what you and your friend love about it) in your letter. Made some mates through gaming? Talk about them, too, so that future-you can reminisce over these simple, serendipitous pleasures in years to come.
3. Best experience you’ve had in the past year
You may never forget the best experience you’ve had in the past year, but taking time to explain the details of that experience is an excellent way to send Future-you back in time. That version of yourself may remember one or two moments from your recent ski trip, but we can guarantee they won’t recall all the detail you’ll include in your letter. From the early-morning departure for the slopes, to the stupid in-jokes between you and your board-riding buddies throughout the day, each memory you include will be gold to nostalgia-seeking future-you.
4. Biggest news story that affected you
Our public letters are sprinkled with some excellent moment-in-time snapshots of letter writers living in Covid-19 lockdown. While those days might be over (fingers crossed), reading these letters puts us instantly back in those weeks and months of the pandemic. We remember how suddenly the world changed, and how we dealt with the fallout — as individuals and as a planet. Looking back now, most of us are probably grateful for making it through that time. The feels will be just as strong for any news item, big or small, that had an impact on you recently, so be sure to include it in your letter to your future self.
5. Something that made you smile recently
Mindfulness, amirite? And gratitude! It's often the small things that we look back on so fondly, right alongside those big events. So why not mention something that made you smile recently in your next letter to future-you? Even something as small as a funny meme, phone call with family, or stroll in a beautiful place is a great observation to send — especially if it’s something that future-you probably won’t remember by the time the letter arrives. Why? It will remind you of what you enjoy, what makes you happy, and of what makes you, well, you. And that's a beautiful thing to be reminded of, even if your attitudes have changed in the intervening years.
6. Something that made you cry recently
Life’s a mixed bag, so, just as you might highlight something that made you smile recently, you might also mention the opposite. Whether they were big, blubbery raindrop-style tears or a barely-there mist, they count! If they were sad tears, they deserve to be brought to the attention of future-you, so you can remember the kinds of things that you were upset about in this moment and why they mattered. And if they were happy tears? Celebrate them with your future self!
7. Something that made you angry recently
Our frustrations reveal a lot about who we are, since they point to the things that matter most deeply to us. Future-you might chuckle to read how ticked off current-you are with your little brother. Future-you might beam with pride to read how angry you are right now about a certain social issue — and may still relate to that roiling sense of injustice. And if, perhaps, it’s you that you’re angry with? Well, future-you is going to read about it and pause to reflect on how far you’ve come — and feel sad and proud and pleased all at once. We promise.
8. Something that you're spending way too much money on at the moment
Hey, we’ve all got our vices, okay? For some, it’s books; for others, it’s skydiving. Our passions can cost us a pretty penny, but it’s really up to us to work out if they’re worth it. Let future-you get a chance to reflect on what you currently consider a financial drain. Let yourself see if your opinion has changed with time. Maybe that thing that seems excessive now will turn out to have been necessary in the fullness of time. Or maybe you’ll be thanking yourself for having stopped the spending before it broke you!
9. Best decision you made recently
In some way, every choice is a risk. So, when we make a good one, it can be worth acknowledging. Just imagine the insight future-you will have on the decision. By the time you get your letter, something you agonised over might have turned out to be irrelevant. Or, a decision you thought would take you in a certain direction might have led somewhere else entirely. Talk about your best decision in your letter, so future-you can congratulate yourself on a great choice. Bonus: you’ll get to marvel at the unpredictability of the universe at the same time!
10. Biggest goal or wish for your future
As you may have heard, writing down your goals literally helps you achieve them. So, whatever you’re dreaming of: put it out there! Think in detail about what you want, then send that scenario to your future self. Maybe future-you will be well on the way to achieving that goal when you get the letter. Or maybe you'll be done! Even if you switched it for another dream, future-you will appreciate the reminder of your biggest wish, and the chance to look back on what’s changed since then.
Your own personal time capsule
While you could pick any item off this list and dedicate a letter to it, you could also write about each one, and turn your letter into a unique and very personal time capsule — a portrait of the artist as a young(er) person, you might say. Better still, if you write it in the FutureMe app, you can add photos, imagery and even videos! Imagine the nostalgia hit you’ll get in 1, 5 or 10 years’ time from watching a video you made today! Don’t wait; get sending.