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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Watching sunsets on the beach. Clinking glasses of Greek wine on a balcony as a hot breeze flows by. Scootering alongside ancient half-walls, built against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. Falling asleep to shouts and shrieks in another language, the sounds of a city far from home.

These are the snapshots that make up the past summer for me — highlights that I got to experience in a relatively new relationship, the two of us meeting up while individually travelling abroad. Although it’s only been a speedy five months since we started seeing each other, I’m smitten.

Floating in these feelings, I decided to envelop the last few months in a time capsule of sorts, a way to revisit these same sentiments. No, of course, I didn’t go through the trouble of digging a hole somewhere to bury a physical time capsule of my relationship’s snippets. I’m doing that for our one-year anniversary.

What I decided to do

Let’s go back in time a bit.

Before completing my first year at university, I found FutureMe, a platform that since its creation in 2002, lets you send emails to the future, for yourself and others to read one, five, or ten years from now.

While your letters are meant to address your goals, your fears, and your whatever you desire, FutureMe offers the option to make your letter ‘public, but anonymous’ and others who visit the website can read your words from the past once it has reached its timestamp destination. Yet, to me, the most mind-blowing concept the site provides is, once a public letter generates enough interest, its author will be asked to add an ‘epilogue’ to their original text—an update on the life moments they brought up years ago.  

I had written myself a congratulatory email to read on my last day of first-year undergrad exams, sent sometime in the midst of the winter semester. I couldn’t believe this newfound power of speaking to myself from the past, and so my first FutureMe letter, which only landed in my inbox the day I set it to, was a measly single sentence: “CONGRATS ON FINISHING YOUR EXAMS AND YOUR FIRST YEAR OF UNIVERSITY!!” An anticlimactic result to seeing a surprise email from my past self, especially because I had forgotten whatever message of motivation and gratitude I (should’ve) imparted to myself.

I was impatient and had my 11 words travel only 26 days into the future, just to receive one line of congratulations. Remembering this recently, I wanted to make one that looks forward to something that achieves more purpose in my life.

Why I did it

This person I get to know to the fullest every day has felt more right to me than anyone from my past, and to hope for the best in seeing just how right this relationship is, I wanted to make a positive projection by checking in with my 2023 self. I had already decided at the end of June that I was with one of the best people I’d ever met while going into the best year of my life as a soon-to-be J-school graduate, and wanted to hype up my girl (me!) on the first day of 2023.

In my letter, I recounted sweet moments of the relationship and from my summer away from home, and wished for the best going into the new year. Even with my relationship as the letter’s focus, I still reminded myself of what I’ve accomplished and what I hope to still accomplish as a student, a writer, and a woman. I don’t like to think I can lose myself in a relationship, so making sure to check in on future me (after she would be going through the stressful but plentiful second-to-last semester of her undergrad) was important.

To finalize my letter, I attached a picture of the two of us as a memento of the strong feelings I hope translate well enough through my words. I then sent it off into the void of time, never being able to read or re-work whatever I wrote, until it’ll show up suddenly in my inbox the morning after a (hopefully) boozy, dazzling New Year’s eve.

Why I’ll be doing it more often, and why you should too

A lot of the time, I’m living in the moment. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s easier for those same feelings to fade over time without thought. I’ve never been one to journal my experiences to look back on, so I’m left to reset, never learning from an old life of mine. By doing something in that realm, which FutureMe gives a platform to without the expectation to write every day, can act as a channel for those exact feelings, from the day they were felt, to ignite gratitude or inspiration in the present.

Some people just want to remind themselves of what they might forget in the next ten years, others routinely hype themselves up through annual letters sent to arrive on their next birthday, and some might just be checking in to see if they ever got to accomplish their current goals. Who better to motivate and appreciate you better than, well, you?

Be proud of what you have happening today, or question what you may want to be doing instead, and let your future self know what’s up — they get a happy surprise plus a meaningful glimpse into their old life. It might even inspire them to write another letter.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting to see what my future has in store, and what my past self might or might not have been expecting.

Maya Blumenfeld is a fourth-year student at Carleton University studying Journalism with a minor in English. She loves to write stories on all things gender, health, relationships, and sexuality. You can usually find her singing karaoke, playing The Sims, or dancing in her kitchen.