Letter to my 90-year-old self



Dear Future Yearstricken,



Do you remember me? I didn’t think so. You lived my life several decades ago. I thought I’d better write you a letter to remind you what your plans for old age were.



  • You can only whine and complain on Tuesdays from 3 – 5 p.m., so make good use of that time. When you were younger, you used to say, “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” Now, of course, you’ll have to put on your big girl Depends and deal with life’s inconveniences: your aches and pains, the decreasing level of intelligent life around you, and the annoying habit of people who never learned to speak clearly and loudly.



  • Open that Excel file called Stories I Like to Tell that I left on your computer, iPad, and phone. I tried to sort them chronologically, so the stories of your childhood start the list. You’ll have to fill in names of new people across those top cells. If you can’t fill them in, ask someone for help. Then every time you tell that person one of your stories, put an “x” under the person’s name. If that’s too hard, ask the person listening to the stories to mark the ones he or she has heard before. Once the person has heard all of your stories, feel free to just make stuff up. They weren’t there, so they’ll never know the difference.


Type of text commonly used in books in the year 2014.

Type of text commonly used in books in the year 2014.


  • Read every day. I hope by the time you receive this, the alarming trend of making letters smaller and fuzzier will reverse itself so that you can read books and magazines. When you were a child, all print was normal-sized, crisp, sharp, and easy to read. Somewhere around your 30s or 40s, printers of all kinds became sloppy and started using smaller, blurrier fonts. The you that is me right now has been forced to use glasses for printed material and the magnifier function on the computer. You may have to rely on audio versions of books, although computers should be able to read aloud better by mid-century.


  • Keep learning about the world around you. It may do for the people around you to talk and care about only local affairs, but it won’t do for you. You cannot turn away from the pain and suffering of other lands anymore than you can ignore the beauty and wonder of other cultures. Your community extends across all of the continents. You share the same story with every other human being.



  • Practice mercy and forgiveness every day, or at least every day except Tuesdays from 3 – 5 p.m. when you are busy whining and complaining. You never learned much from punishment other than fear, but you have been transformed by the mercy and forgiveness you have received. Avoid carrying grudges; they’re incredibly heavy and tend to throw your back out and make you spiteful.



  •  Laugh as much as possible, and often at yourself. Cry, too. Keep feeling and savoring life. It’s okay to lick the bowl at the end of the meal; you don’t have that many more meals left.



  • Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Most people find thinking troublesome, and those that bother to think won’t spend much time thinking about you.



  • Enjoy your coffee, wine, and dark chocolate. If you’re alive at 90, you’ve proved they are good for you.



  • Pay attention every day. Look, really look, at what is around you: the number of petals on an orchid, the different shades of green in your spring garden, the mechanism of a zipper, the way your knuckles bend (hopefully), and the variety of bird songs in summer. If you don’t understand something, look it up. Find out. You need this as much as coffee, wine, and dark chocolate.



  • Tell the people around you that you love them. Hug them every chance you get. Don’t worry about embarrassing them or yourself. Tell the child that your heart nearly bursts every time she comes through the door. Tell your daughters that they are two of life’s greatest gifts. Tell your husband that a day has never  by that you haven’t marveled at his love and patience. It’s okay to repeat yourself this time. Your family and friends may tire of your stories, but they’ll never tire of being loved.


Your once and former self,




29 thoughts on “Letter to my 90-year-old self

  1. Absolutely love this letter. I’ve done a letter to my former teenage self and now think it’s time for one to my elder self. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and for the inspiration. 🙂

  2. A wondeeftul post. I’m so glad you allowed that 3 to 5 PM on Tuesday for limited whining and complaining. I must try to condense my frustrations more effectively and a designated time frame seems a happy solution. Love it!

  3. This is absolutely lovely (and funny). It’s also very clever to turn the ‘letter to younger self’ concept on its head and dole out wisdom to your older self. I love the idea of setting aside a few hours for moaning and only whining during those hours,in fact, I love everything about this post. 😉

  4. This post was entertaining, as always. You offered some really sage advice, especially that part about laughing as much as possible. I keep saying that any day now I’m going to start dressing like a cross between Phyllis Diller and Cindi Lauper, but I just haven’t been brave enough yet, and still end up looking more like a dumpy version of Roseanne Barr back when she had that TV show with all them kids.

    Sorry, had to throw that “them” in there just so you could exercise your eyebrows. Your welcome. 🙂

      • What? You didn’t point to the “your” in your welcome? That one was just for the bonus points, because I know how much you enjoy it when people totally mangle the English language. Perhaps you were being polite, but you know I can’t help poking fun every now and again.

  5. pretzel8logic

    A first-timer here. Year-stricken was suggested to me by WordPress as being a blog which reflected interests listed in my profile, or someplace on this site. From what I’ve read, the “you’ll like this” fairies know me really well. My appreciation and respect for your word craft and self-depreciating humor.

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