I was doing some much needed housecleaning last weekend, rifling through piles of old paperwork and the like, when I discovered an interesting little tidbit from my recent past; a “to-do” list for the year 2010, presumably written up in the first few weeks of the year and then lost. Upon finding it, I spent a few moments looking over my list and evaluating my progress, striking through goals that had been achieved and refreshing my commitment to follow up on the things I hadn’t yet accomplished.
My ratio of finished to unfinished items was rather heavily weighted towards the latter, but that didn’t concern me overmuch. I am a big proponent of to-do lists; even though I can’t be sure they actually increase my efficacy, they help me identify what I want and need to do in order to improve my quality of life and advance my various agendas. The thing that really intrigued me about this experience was how the list became a window into my personal past. In my terse, earnest statements messily scribbled on the crumpled page, I could see myself at the top of the year, with all of the anxieties and aspirations that had informed the document my former self had written out. It brought to mind a website that I stumbled upon a few years ago called www.futureme.org. The site allows you to write yourself an email, then specify a date in the future when you want the site to send it to you, creating a sort of digital time capsule for your future self to enjoy. You can also read letters that other users have made public to see the wide variety of applications available with this nifty service.
Another thing that can really bring you back is picking up a book you really enjoyed as a kid but haven’t re-visited in years; you might be surprised at your take on it as an adult. Why don’t you visit your local library and give it a try?