What would the younger you think of you now? We’ve played about with this idea before, as well as with the idea of learning / (not) going backwards in life but there was a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 4 today, looking at the letters and emails that people were sending their older selves, or had sent to their present from their past.

Some quick logistics: there’s a website called futureyou.org which allows you to write emails that will be sent in the future, and of course, the good old fashioned postal service will always offer future you the rare gift of a personal letter through the post – a rarer and rarer thing!

Anyway, what was interesting about this excellent programme (you can listen to it for the next week through the station’s website) was how people reacted to their own selves. “I was shallow / naive / smart”, for example. Or they predict what they “will be”.

One man said to himself, “You’re 27 and an artist today. But when you read this, you’ll be considering business school. Are you a sell-out, or were you naive?” Fascinating.

Like writing a diary / journal, I think the very exercise creates another level of consciousness: it makes you see your life (current or future if you’re writing; current and past if you’re reading) through an altering lens.  I use this when I can’t make a decision easily, or am stuck with a problem. I put 7-year (or 17-year-) old me on one shoulder, and 70-year old me on the other, and I ask them what they think.

Would the former be disappointed in, or excited for, me? The latter: would she tell me not to be such a chicken, not to be so cautious, never to have regrets? And yours for you?

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