WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOURSELF?
I was so inspired by the Lionesses, the England women’s football team, who are now champions of Europe – what standards they have set for themselves and future generations to follow. I was particularly moved by the letter Lucy Bronze, one of the star players, wrote to her younger self as part of her build up and preparations.
If I wrote such a letter I’d say:
“Tim, as I write to you, you are in your first years of senior school. There’s no need to worry so much, it will be ok. Don’t take the negativity to heart, don’t worry that your English teacher made you feel useless; never doubt yourself. You won't realise it right now, but one day you will feel very proud of yourself and have published two novels inspiring lots of children to read more.”
I wish my English teacher had been good enough to turn that moment around by providing some paper and telling us to write a letter to our future selves; there was no e-mails back then. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it at the time of course, but I realise now how amazing that would have been by giving a gift to our future selves. There are stories about teachers doing this and posting them back to the children five years later. What an amazing and rare chance to reflect honestly on the passage of time and on my own personal growth over that formative period in my life. Thankfully teachers today praise and encourage rather then chastise and belittle.
This is an incredible exercise to do no matter how old you are. Writing a letter to yourself gives you insight and teaches you valuable life lessons that will stick with you long afterwards. Think of it as a time capsule.
Do it now and then hear yourself say “Wow, I did that!”. There's a great website to help you and allows you to mail your letter back to yourself after a period of time; 1, 3 or 5 years - https://www.futureme.org/
I wish I’d done this 12 months ago to set my author goals for a year and not given myself such a hard time.
Believe in yourself.
And yes, that's me in about 1975… I've no idea what my hair was supposed to be doing before anyone asks.