Inspired by @anna posting about the ‘FutureMe’ app that holds and sends emails you've written to yourself a year later. As i mentioned to her, i’m ambivalent about it. Tho writing to oneself is something i’ve recommended to people.
When i was 18 or 19 i wrote a letter to myself to be opened at age 25. At both the time of writing and opening (1971) i was carrying on several extensive correspondences with scattered friends, some of whom said i sent away my best writing in those letters. Just as an artist friend decorated her letters and envelopes with drawings...i often included poems.
My best friend was on a yearlong ‘work-study’ program in Israel the year after we completed High School, during which I wrote that letter to myself. Aerograms were the cheapest postage deal…they were sheets of lightweight paper that folded up, had flaps that you folded over after dampening the glue to seal and the postage was already printed on them. We wrote such long missives to each other that we often had to number them on the outside so the recipient would know what order to read them in and in case they got separated on the journey we’d know another was coming soon. When I opened the letter to myself we were 2 of 3 housemates in a very small communal household in Manoa Valley in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Eight years later, my other best friend was ‘decluttering' as she combined households with a partner. Saying she couldn't bear to discard my letters to her from the 1965 to 1979. She was 3 yrs. behind me in High School so stuck in that town for several years while i started my gallivanting. My suspicion is that having had some psychology courses she knew exactly what she was doing. The last decade of that correspondence often detailed the tumultuous on/off/on/off relationship i had with my first husband who died, during our last estrangement, just months before. i’d felt some guilt because the circumstances were such that if we’d been together he would not have been murdered. He wouldn't have been doing what provoked his assailant. Reading my letters to her over those years, with the perspective of hindsight and with insight gained through therapy and meditation, i realized that my choices were life saving for me and what happened to him was the result of HIS choices. i had put things in letters to her that i did not put in my journals even.
It is one of the very few things I get nostalgic about---traditional, snail mail correspondence. I miss it. But this ‘FutureMe’ thing got me thinking about this notion of talking to yourself in writing. i've kept journals off and on over the decades since my teens...they were often littered with poetry too. Journals serve that 'talking to oneself' function as well as any set aside or electronically stored note to one’s future self. How it feels looking back at really old ones depends greatly on what you put into them...but i found them therapeutic, tho i barely recognize that girl at times. i know that is who i was, and hopefully her better qualities have been retained and refined, but that’s not who i am now, thankfully.
Both my grandmothers lived to 98, perhaps a ‘To Me At 80 or 90 Years’ missive is in order? Despite how nostalgic i get about old fashioned letters, it will like become one of many documents on my hard drive (with flash drive back up in the safe deposit box).