I think I first wrote one of these letters at some point in high school: my English teacher let us each pick out a postcard to write some thoughts down, then collected them to be returned at the end of the school year. (Irrelevant to this post, but I liked my postcard so much that I actually used it for the cover of my first bullet journal!)
Since then, I’ve regularly used FutureMe.org to schedule emails for my future self. It’s fascinating to see how my goals and priorities have changed, and it’s a nice reminder that life goes on in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
Dear 2025 Isabelle,
I can barely imagine what I’ll be doing in one year, let alone five, so unfortunately I don’t have any predictions for you to laugh at. Sorry. Because that’s been one of my favorite things about reading these future letters (and old journal entries), how wrong I was about … basically everything.
Have you published a novel? Adopted a puppy? Completed that cross-country road trip? Started an Etsy shop? There are so many dreams that I hope you’ve been able to turn into happy memories.
But it’s also okay if, at some point, you let them go because they weren’t your dreams anymore. I remember deciding I wanted to be a teacher, only to realize years later that I don’t have the temperament for it. I remember dreaming of becoming a full-time writer, only to learn the truth about rejections and salary.
And to realize my writing really wasn’t all that good. Yet. I remember starting pharmacy school, only to find myself absolutely miserable.
Someone once said that happiness or the future or something like that is a moving target, I think. Though it’s admittedly cheesy, it’s an interesting image. While there’s no single target that I’ve always had my eye on, I’ve certainly changed aim many times over the years as my values and interests changed, as I learned more about myself and different aspects of the world. You probably have too.
While you don’t have unlimited time or money to wander and change your life every few years, there are no dead ends. You’ve always managed to figure something out. It’s all going to work out someday, if you keep working at it.
So our first attempt at a college major wasn’t a good fit. It’s not even statistically noteworthy; you know how many students don’t finish pharmacy school, and how many more change their major at some point. As people keep reminding me, knowing what you don’t want to do is as important as knowing what you do want to do.
But hopefully you’ve figured out at least one viable career option and have made some significant progress. Maybe you’re in grad school or law school, or maybe you’ve been working full-time since finishing undergrad. I don’t know. I just hope it’s something that makes you happy, or — at the very least — doesn’t make you hate everything and will help you reach your goals soon.
I also hope that you have some sort of social life. Introvert doesn’t mean antisocial, in case you’ve forgotten, and hanging out with friends is just as important as having quality alone time. Whether you’re in a committed relationship, dating in hopes of building a committed relationship, dating casually, single by choice, or whatever you’ve got going on, you deserve to be loved the way you want to be loved. And I hope you have people you love unconditionally, beyond Mom and Dad and your brother.
Most importantly, I really hope you’ve retained an appreciation for the little things. That Ravenclaw love of learning for its own sake, the briskness of a cool breeze, the excitement of escaping into a really good story, the softness of a certain favorite blanket, the promise of a blank notebook page. I’ve always been able to find something good in even the worst weeks, and I hope you still remember this bit of magic.
These past few years have been rough in a lot of ways but sweet in many others; I hope the years between me and you have contained less of the former, more of the latter. But however things turn out, the fact that you’re reading this means — we made it to 2025. Whatever that looks like.