This example of a letter to your future self is based on what I wrote this year for Future Chris to read a year from now.
I’m sharing it so you can see how I put into practice the extensive tips and suggestions I’ve covered in other posts. To make the structure clear, I’ve broken it up with headings. They aren’t actually part of the letter.
I’ve also changed some details and replaced chunks with “[blah, blah, blah]” for brevity and privacy.
Jan 6, 2022
How’s it going? It’s me, your younger, hopefully less wise, less wealthy, and less actualized self here.
Start off with the present.
Where are you, and what’s going on in your life?
I’m writing you while drinking an americano in Origin Coffee in Cape Town. Kim’s across from me because we just dropped off our rental car from our trip to Plett.
The trip was s-Plett-tacular! Memorable moments were [blah, blah, blah].
Also, the trip was a timely reminder of how awesome it would be to live right on the beach. Let’s make that happen one day.
The driving was also a reminder of how much more of a hassle it is with a baby. Man, I hope Zac’s learned to like his car seat more by the time you read this. But, even if not, I hope it hasn’t slowed you down from going on trips and adventures.
Anyway, I just finished recapping last year and reading the letter I wrote to myself on the Orange River on Dec 30, 2020. You might want to read it, too. I was blown away by how much of what I had written then I had forgotten. For example [blah, blah, blah].
Goes to show how bad our memories and perceptions of our past selves are. These letters help me remember that.
What has you worried, frustrated, and excited?
Reading the letter and recapping the year was a wake-up call.
But the biggest surprise from the letter from my past self?
Many of the things I’d planned to write to you to focus on in 2022, my past self wrote to me to get done in 2021! I’ve been passing the buck rather than building momentum. No bueno.
Let’s change that this coming year.
On the bright side, I think I’ve finally—FINALLY—started to get a grasp of the branding and vision for the blog. My plan now is “go full unconventional” and [blah blah blah].
Outside of “work,” life’s pretty sweet.
Zac’s just started crawling, mimicking us, and even standing. He makes lots of noise and loves to roughhouse. And he often crawls over to me when I come home to play with me! It’s like having a dog at this point… but way cooler because [blah, blah, blah].
As fun as raising Zac is, it’s been a blessing to have Irene come look after him a few days a week, and the odd night, so Kim and I can go on date nights. (Remember our attempt at a date night with Zac at Zest? Disaster. Chaos. Haha.)
My relationship with Kim is going as well as could be expected. Aside from a few debates on food and eczema treatment, we’ve been a cohesive team. And I’m encouraged that she’s going to make huge progress professionally in the year to come because [blah, blah, blah].
Financially, I made [x] last year and my portfolio’s gone from [y] to [z]. Below expectations of [a, b, and c] from last year, but not disastrous. The problem is, expenses picked up from [x] to [y]. This has me worried. I’m struggling to figure out fun, sustainable, and beneficial-to-others ways to monetize. $15k per month, I feel, would be enough for us to do whatever we want comfortably.
Maybe it’s worth considering a completely different business that’s less fun and spiritually rewarding but more financially lucrative? (So basically anything…) Some ideas are [blah, blah, blah].
What’s going on in the world at large?
Or maybe there’s some way to get involved in all this web3 brouhaha? A creator coin or something? Probably not, though. I feel like it’s a lot of hype pumped up by people who make money from the attention. A lot of hype. All this crypto, NFT, DAO, stuff was one of the top stories in my bubble of the world this year.
Inflation, too, like we predicted.
And, of course, COVID. So many people we know got it in December, but somehow not Kim, Zac, or I. [blah, blah, blah].
Climate change seems to be moving more and more to the center of the general public’s radar. Hard to avoid with crazy weather like the heatwave in Vancouver in June. Remember that? Camping out at the park by the beach all day to avoid overheating at home, then retreating to Kim’s parents’? Wild.
I predict (hope) that pretty soon a lot of the hype (and $$$) directed towards mostly meaningless NFT-esque crap goes toward greener technology. Maybe not in a year, but soon.
Look back before looking forward.
Before getting into more predictions, here’s a recap of some of what’s changed between Jan 1 and Dec 31 of this past year:
- Investment portfolio performance: [blah, blah, blah] (Big lesson: Trust your gut more. Every time you delayed or didn’t act, it cost you. Examples are [blah, blah, blah].)
- Blog traffic, subscribers, stats, income: [blah, blah, blah].
- Favorite things I’ve learned and mind changes I’ve made: [blah, blah, blah].
- Most memorable moments: [blah, blah, blah].
- Other big changes in my life and the life of those around me: [blah, blah, blah].
As you can see, for the first time, I spent a lot of time recapping 2021. It was worth it. You ought to do the same for 2022.
Brainstorm and ask for help.
One more big mind shift I made in 2021 came from reading books like Designing Your Life, Dedicated, and Four Thousand Weeks. I’ve come to conclude we ought to commit one way or another and move on with it rather than overthink things or keep our options open.
But I’m still unsure about what to commit to.
These are the big questions I’m thinking a lot about:
- Have another kid or not? Before having Zac, [blah, blah, blah].
- Try new ways to make more money with the blog, or redirect that time to more efficient but perhaps less rewarding and fun money-making endeavors? My thinking now is [blah, blah, blah].
- Change the name of the blog? I was strongly leaning toward changing it to something “Fresh” related, but recent conversations have me swinging the other way. [blah, blah, blah].
- Where to live? Cape Town’s awesome, but far from family and old friends in Vancouver. Should we look harder at a beach town in Mexico or Costa Rica? I was thinking [blah, blah, blah].
- Should I hire a coach? No doubt the right coach at not too ridiculous of a price could be the best investment I could make, but how do you find that? Or I? The curse of being so independently-minded is it’s hard to find someone we’ll listen to. My plan now is to [blah, blah, blah].
- Should I start something new—new hobby, friends, language, business, podcast—or go deeper on the things I already love doing?
What do you think? Or what new questions have jumped to the forefront for you?
Make a bunch of predictions.
Anyway, enough with the stress-inducing tough questions. Time for some fun stuff:
Make predictions about your future life.
I bet you’ll be in Cape Town again, reading this. You’ll probably be sitting on a patio overlooking the sea because I learned this year just how much that’s worth to us.
Differences between you and me I predict:
- You’ll have a few more grey hairs, but still not visible. Same amount of head hair. Maybe a bit more facial hair. Almost enough to finally have a beard.
- In the same shape, if not slightly better. More mobile, for sure, cuz you’ll have kept up with your daily mobility and maybe even hired someone in Vancouver.
- You’ll finally be decently good at beach volleyball. The solo practice at Virgin will pay off.
- You’ll have 2-3 new little daily habits that you’ll have incorporated into your life thanks to various experiments and 30-day challenges throughout the year.
- You’ll have some idea about a book you want to write.
- You’ll be spending less time making YouTube videos. Maybe considering a podcast?
- Zac will say his first word in March and it’ll be something to do with food, like “baba” to mean bottle.
- Zac will take his first step by the end of Feb.
- Zac will have 8 teeth.
- We’ll have gone on one big road trip to the US over the summer and I’ll have done another escape to nature, leaving Zac and Kim behind.
- We won’t visit any new countries.
- [blah, blah, blah]
Make measurable predictions.
- My net worth will be around [x].
- The blog will have made [x] and I’ll have dipped my toes into something new but not dove into it yet.
- Traffic, Consider This subscribers, YouTube subscribers will be [x, y, z].
- Zac will weigh 26 pounds, so slightly above average, but not a ton.
- I will only read 20 new books this year because I’ll re-read and review many from the past.
- [x] will be in a serious relationship. [y] will still be single.
- [x] will be engaged. Maybe even married.
- [x] will be separated or divorced.
- [blah, blah, blah]
Make wild card predictions.
- The Nets will win the NBA title. The Raptors will lose in the first round. MVP will be… it’s a crapshoot… KD?
- The Super Bowl… I really can’t even bother guessing because I gave up the NFL this year!
- The stock market’s going to be down for the year, adjusted for inflation.
- Bitcoin will be roughly the same as today, $45k US.
- More advances in preventing and treating COVID will mean no more masks indoors by June in Vancouver.
- The hype about web3, the metaverse, NFTs, and all that will have died down substantially. Or I’ll have completely escaped from hearing about it, because it doesn’t make much difference to my day-to-day life.
- South Africa, Cape Town especially, is going to be crazy with tourism in December. With more digital nomads, too. Pent-up demand and good PR are going to give it the hype it deserves.
- [blah, blah, blah]
End with the most important message you want to send.
Ok. My hand’s getting tired from all this writing. But it’s been fun to let loose my thoughts upon you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and got something out of it, like I did reading last year’s letter.
I’ve gotta run to go do a workout with Alex and Darren. It’s a beautiful, scorching hot day. I’m already looking to plunging in the pool after. And then I’m looking forward to returning to work on the blog.
Bigger picture, I’m looking forward to this coming year.
If you still believe like I do that our life’s y-axis is “Growth,” let’s keep making moves (and not thinking too much) that push us upward in that direction.
So here’s to continuing living a life full of adventures and always having more to look forward to.
To recap, here’s the structure from my example:
- Start off with the present.
- Look back before looking forward.
- Brainstorm and ask for help.
- Make a bunch of predictions.
- End with your most important message.
For more guidance and ideas on future self letter writing, check these out:
- How to Write a Letter to Your Future Self
- The Benefits and Lessons of Writing a Letter to Your Future Self
- Extensive Tips for Writing a Wonderful Letter to Your Future Self
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