Letters to a FutureYou


Rhea Choudhary

The Sidekick staff writer Tvisha Jindal describes how former fifth grade English teacher Kirsten Chapman at Valley Ranch Elementary introduced her to the idea of writing a letter to herself using futureme.org. Jindal has written a letter to herself every year since eighth grade, illustrating how her goals and passions have evolved.

Tvisha Jindal

My first day of fifth grade was a lonely one. I had just moved from a charter school to a public one, Valley Ranch Elementary, leaving behind six years of history. I vividly remember sitting down in my homeroom, with my Strawberry Shortcake themed lunchbox, trying not to cry. Fortunately, my homeroom, Social Studies, and English teacher Mrs. Chapman came to the rescue and swiftly handed us an assignment. 


Mrs. Chapman told us that we would write a letter now and after a bit of time travel, we would get them back at the end of the year. I soon forgot all about my letter until the last day of fifth grade when I got it back. The awe and curiosity that I felt when opening that little piece of my past were unparalleled. I could not even recognize my handwriting.  

Since, I have kept up the theme of writing a future letter at the start of each summer, but one thing has changed: I have moved to the digital space. 

FutureMe is a website that has created a massive trend of writing letters and delivering them to yourself on predetermined dates in the future, having delivered 20 million letters in the past 20 years. 

On its website, you can read a variety of public letters. Just the other day, I read a letter about a man writing a letter in 2003, when he was 20, and sending it 20 years in the future for him to read on his 40th birthday. If you are a freshman or sophomore that is going to graduate, you can write a letter to yourself when you are about to graduate for your own mini trip back in time. 

The story behind the man who created this time machine is inspiring as well. 

Matt Sly, co-founder of FutureMe, worked on the first draft of the website for six months prior to putting up a barebones version. During that time, he was a graduate student at Yale and after finishing school, he would work at Microsoft during the day and then on FutureMe at night. Sly has been dubbed by news outlets all over the world as a real “bootstraps” creator. 

“Everyone thinks about their future – every human being, people all over the world,” Sly said in an interview with Bootstrappers. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager in Dallas or a grandma in Brazil, we all have a fascination with what’s going to happen to us, and that has allowed FutureMe to keep making waves.” 

The shortest option FutureMe has is 30 days, to prevent FutureMe from being used for reminders, and the longest amount of time is 50 years. 

Daring to write to yourself 50 years later is not something that I have ventured to do yet. Maybe I don’t have faith that the website will still be here. Maybe I’m scared of what I’ll be doing by then. You always run the risk of not living up to your expectations and a letter makes you confront all your past thoughts. 

Even if it may be uncomfortable,  it can be a good thing. The feeling of seeing a letter pop up in your inbox never gets old. 

While I haven’t yet dared to write a letter 50 years into the future, I understand the mixed emotions it can evoke. There is an inherent vulnerability in confronting our past selves, in acknowledging that our expectations may not align with our reality. Yet, there is immense value in this exercise. It allows us to evaluate our progress, celebrate our growth, and acknowledge that change is a fundamental part of life.

Each year, my priorities change so much as I grow into being a person that I like. Sometimes looking back brings for  an unbearable amount of cringe, but it is important to evaluate the progress. It is OK if you do not do everything that you want to. People find new interests and new goals because of how much life changes, especially during high school when you are still maturing. 

You could be convinced that you are going to play football the rest of high school as a freshman but may end up playing basketball instead. High school is an incredibly dynamic time. Friends change, clubs change and sometimes even your school may change. 

For me, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do in high school. In eighth grade, every middle schooler is required to make a four-year plan. The only year I ended up sticking to my schedule was ninth grade. 

Now as I’m planning for junior year, I can go back and look at what I was thinking as a 14-year-old. For me, it lets me see the progress I am making each year and allows me to set long-term goals that might take a year, or multiple years.  I cannot wait until graduation as I can go back and read my letters from every step of the way there. 

A lot of other people also write letters of motivation to themselves. Junior year is going to be pretty challenging so for my letter at the end of the year, I am going to remind myself not to give up and stay focused. These letters are always really impactful because it’s you holding yourself accountable. 

So, readers, I encourage you to embrace the power of writing letters to your future self. Embrace the discomfort and the cringe, because they are markers of your evolution. Allow these letters to guide you, inspire you, and hold you accountable. Embrace the dynamic nature of life and cherish your journey of self-discovery. Remember that progress is not always linear, and change is inevitable. Most importantly, never forget the significance of celebrating your growth and acknowledging the person you have become.

You never know when you need to hear sometime from 

Follow Tvisha (@TvishaJindal) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.