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Pop Culture

College student reads an email sent by her 13-year-old self that's full of loving wisdom

"I hope you remember that you are beautiful and awesome."

future me, melanie skidelsky tiktok, nostalgia
@michelleskidelsky/TikTok

Melanie Skidelsky reading a letter from her 13-year-old self

We toss around the philosophical question “What advice would you give to your younger self?” a lot. But what if we switched that around? What if our younger selves had just as much wisdom to share?

Back in 2016, 13-year-old Michelle Skidelsky used the website FutureMe.org to write her future self a pre-scheduled email. She picked a send date at random without looking, not knowing if it would find its way to her 50 years or five days from that moment.

Cut to the present—it’s 2023. Skidelsky is now a 20-year-old college student. Her message just arrived.

In a now-viral TikTok clip, Skidelsky shared the loving words sent by her teen self, and millions of people were moved by just how positive it was.

“Dear Future Me…Hi! Did you miss me? It’s me, you!” the letter began.

Teen Skidelsky asked "Do you still want to be a doctor like I do? A psychiatrist?"

Adult Skidelsky’s answer: “No, I’m a communications major now.” But it’s OK, apparently her younger self "knew deep down that we weren't good at math."

@michelleskidelsky

i used futureme.org to do this!! dont let this fool you 13 year old me was rlly annoying

♬ original sound - michelle

Offering some words of wisdom, Teen Skidelsky continued, “If your life has gone horribly wrong, I'm sorry. But your life was awesome at one point and don't regret making your life horrible because at one point it was everything you wanted."

She also offered some really sweet encouragement, “I hope you remember that you are beautiful and awesome and deserve lots of awesome things…I am proud of you, because I know we are capable of great things.”

Touching, right? There were also a few funny quips in there, like “You are smart, or you were, and you can be smart again."

Towards the end of the email, Teen Skidelsky urged her future counterpart to treat herself to a donut. Adult Skidelsky explains the painful context surrounding that request, recalling that she had been battling an eating disorder during that time, and this was an attempt at giving her self-esteem some positive messaging.

And in case you’re wondering—yes, Adult Skidelsky got herself a donut. A vanilla one, to be exact.

@michelleskidelsky Replying to @thefairygrandmother ♬ original sound - michelle

Skidelsky also returned the favor by creating a TikTok carousel honoring her younger self, aka her “hero.”

Thirteen-year-old Skidelsky was a “strong, resilient and brave” young girl, whose “favorite color was white, though technically white wasn’t actually a color,” who “always chose navy blue ties for her braces,” who felt unrequited love for her best friend but would later find it elsewhere, who wanted to “prove to some unknown entity that she was smart.”

She loved books, music, weekend sleepovers, riding her bike around her hometown, spring, classroom games and making DIY room decor.

Yeah, young Skidelsky sounds pretty rad. And according to her older self, “things turned out better than she could ever imagine.”

It’s so common to think that a chapter in our life isn’t going the way it should be when we’re in the thick of it, only to look back with a renewed sense of appreciation of our former selves. How many times have you been baffled looking back at a photo of yourself you once thought was atrocious? Yes, me too. Perhaps one of the best ways we can perform self-love is to infuse our future with a sense of hope in whatever way we can.

And isn’t it just mind-boggling to think about how, in many ways, we’re never really just one person navigating through life? Our entire identity is basically an ensemble of different characters telling our story without ever really interacting with one another.

However, if you would like to engage with one of your co-stars from another time, you can write your own future self a letter here. Who knows, it might bring a smile to your face years from now.

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