Design

Meeting Your Future Self

Back in 1977, when Stoney Emshwiller was 18 years old, he interviewed his future self. Sitting in a chair in a dark room, “I asked my older self tons of questions about my future,” he says. “Then I recorded many different reactions to each possible answer, ranging from polite nods, to joy, sadness, annoyance, surprise, and outright horror.”

This year, at 56, Emshwiller sat down to answer those questions. The short film is fantastic and very touching. He is respectful to his younger self, good-naturedly teases him, wonders whether he met his expectations and whether those expectations were valid…

Totally worth watching.

(Via Kottke)

  1. Anna Shumway says...

    I laughed and had tears in my eyes! I’m only 27, but gosh. Life didn’t go as planned. I have a great life, but I’m still working on becoming at peace with my life now.

    This really made me think.

    THANKS FOR THE SHARE!

  2. Jenny says...

    Lovely film and a great idea! Lots of us have diaries we dip into years later, but a timed email when you aren’t expecting it makes it a little less passive – like your younger self is actually interacting with you. (just be careful if you change email accounts in the meantime…)
    For those who were after that site, I did some googling: futureme.org
    Also, on myfutureself.com you can keep a diary as well – maybe even writing for your children?

  3. SJ says...

    It would be very interesting to watch! Many times we are caught up by what will I think of the future or thinking I have disappointed my self or judging too much. This is a very nice confrontation to both those situations.

    http://simplyconversing.wordpress.com

  4. This film is on my weekend-watch list. It’s meant to snow and I need something to watch while cuddled up to with my thick winter wool blanket and hot chocolate!

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals for kids, home and office!
    http://www.rockymountaindecals.ca

  5. Loribeth says...

    This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Love this!

  7. Michaela says...

    I actually thought his 18-year old self was really impressive! I want to be friends with him! Maybe because he’s a bit closer in age, I don’t know.

    Really cool, thanks for sharing!

  8. That’s a pretty cool idea!

  9. Amie says...

    There’s this website that i found when i was about 12 (ten years ago now) where you could write a letter to yourself in the future and it would email it to you on a certain date. i’ve gotten two since then, one at age 15 and one at age 20 and it’s really interesting to read what past me thought about school /friends/guys and what i expected for my future (which has definitely changed even from age 15 to age 20). when i got the 20 year old one i sent one to be delivered when i’m 25 and i’m sure that will be interesting (even though i’ve already forgotten what it said!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so cool!!

    • Em says...

      Hey Amie, what website is it, do you know?! I’d love to do this with my sweet, yet moody, 8th grade students.

    • SJ says...

      That it totally awesome! I want to try that out! I had once, when about 9, written a letter (a real paper letter) for my future self. I had put it in an envelope and sealed it, but I eventually lost it. So I could never found out what I had written to myself. This technological option is better for not loosing your letters! Could you send me the web site?

      http://simplyconversing.wordpress.com

    • Amie says...

      @ EM and SJ the site was futureme.org! (sorry for not replying earlier, i hope you see this!)

    • SJ says...

      Amie! Thank you very much! I will definitely be writing a letter to my future self. How exciting!

  10. What a neat idea – lots more people should do this – having said that, it has taken a lot of work. Interesting to reflect on your ideals of your younger self.

  11. samantha says...

    Wow – fun idea and fun to watch. I love stuff like this. I went through a period in high school when I would write a letter to myself on the first day of the new year and then seal to re-read in one year. I wonder what happened to those letters???

  12. Mary Jenkins says...

    Love this. He seems like such a cool guy.

  13. Julie says...

    Ah so cute. I definitely want to watch it

  14. Wow, I loved this! I can’t believe how much time it must have taken for him to record all of those possible reactions as an 18-year-old. He seems like he might have not lived exactly the life he would have envisioned at 18, but a very happy one.

    I once did an exercise kind of similar to this, where I wrote a fake “article” (almost as if a magazine had written it) about me 15 years from now. That was a few years ago….my aspirations weren’t huge, but it was so interesting to see what I hoped I’d value in 15 years.

    Luscious + Intuitive Eating | http://www.katieseaver.com/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is fascinating, katie! sometimes i think it would be a fun exercise to do one of those “time capsules” that we used to do in elementary school, where you bury items that were important to you and a letter to your future self. could be kind of fascinating even as an adult.

  15. I am not sure if would do it. But this is really cool!

    summerdaisy.net

  16. What a cool idea!
    I just started keeping a 5-year journal in hopes of being able to go back and meet my younger self. Not too much younger–but a little bit maybe.

  17. Aww! This was really sweet. Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Heathet says...

    I love this. Such a nice mix of funny and sweet. Just what I needed. :) ps…I would never want to do it though…

  19. Nice 5 minute video! Agree it’s worth the watch. Rainy day in Boston today! Thanks for the post. :-)