A letter from myself, age 13

Today, I received a letter in the mail… from myself… age 13.

No time warp or weird movie premise. Our class president mailed us our letters that were written in 7th grade as part of a time capsule project. It was great fun to read. It was also a little eerie to read some of the things I was predicting. I’m curious where I got those ideas from, there’s no way they were original. I’m trying to remember what the tech and gaming landscape of Q1 1993 looked like… I had a Gateway 486 DX computer at home… probably not top of the line at the time, but pretty snappy. I’m fairly certain we didn’t have Internet (AOL!!) at home yet.

Below is the full text (typos and terrible grammar – which I still suffer – intact) of the letter. Check out scans of the letter here and here.


Dear Me,

When I read this I will be much older and different so some of this will sound crazy.

Right now I’m 13 years old. My voice is just starting to change. I about 5’4″ and weigh about 125 lbs. I like to play Dungeons & Dragons, read, play nintendo (which is probably obsolete when I read this.) work with computers. Right now I want to be a Genetic Engineer. Righ now this letter is beginning to sound alot like the song by Van Halen “Right Now” which reminds me I like to listen to music. Especially hard rock & heavy metal. School is switching over to outcome-based education. It sounds pretty neat. Right now by best friend is Ahren Grebner. Some of my other friends are, [long list of names….]. The last 4 of those are from my old school from where I just moved at the beginning of this school year. I like to write stories especially comedies. I haven’t writtin any recently because of lots of things that are going on. I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.

I don’t have many predictions for the future. I think I’ll have a pretty good job and a pretty nice house. I don’t know if I’ll be married or not I probably will be and I might even have a kid or two. I think most cars will run on alchohol or batteries if we even have cars. But I don’t want to make any guesses because they will most likely be way off. Every generation has a vision of the future with colonies on the moon and mars and flying cars and regular cruises through space. I don’t think it will be like that at all. If there is anything that I will guess it is that we will have such advanced technology that video games will come through radio waves allowing several people from all over the world to participate in the same tournaments. Also I think movies directors will shoot special footage just for video game graphics. Well that’s my letter Bye!

Things I was right about:

– Future vision of X-box live and Internet gaming ;-)
– No flying cars, commercial space flights, or moon colonies
– Video game cinematics and motion-capture CGI-type effects.

Partially right about

– Ethanol / Flex fuel cars
– I have a GREAT job
– I have a GREAT house
– I am definitely married
– I have one kid and another on the way :)





26 responses to “A letter from myself, age 13”

  1. Ben Carlson Avatar

    Wow man, that’s totally sweet. Quite close on a lot of those predictions for sure. =) More teachers should do this! (Did your teacher track your addresses, or what..?)

  2. Levi Figueira Avatar

    WOW man… Pretty impressive and awesome to read! :D By the way, you got that part about the “special footage just for video games graphics” pretty close… Motion capture and CGI movies are common these day! ;) Great stuff! (maybe you should start investing in the stock market :p)

  3. Matt Avatar

    The reason I “haven’t written any” comedy stories (which I can’t recall ever writing) was because I had several friends commit suicide within a span of several months. Not much to laugh about.

    Wow the memories.

  4. Erik Sagen Avatar

    I think I’ll have a pretty good job and a pretty nice house. I don’t know if I’ll be married or not I probably will be and I might even have a kid or two. I think most cars will run on alchohol or batteries if we even have cars. But I don’t want to make any guesses because they will most likely be way off.

    Wow. Pretty accurate “guesses”.

    Nintendo still lives, despite your 13-year-old self wondering about its existence in the future. A genetic engineer? Hmm. I think I wanted to be an illustrator, I never thought of doing anything so sophisticated.

    We wrote a letter like this one in 9th grade. When I received the letter years later I was pretty spooked, not because my predictions were way off, but speaking (in the letter) as a 13 to 14-year-old to my then 26-year-old self, that was just creepy.

  5. Phil Avatar

    What a visionary.

  6. Mike Propst Avatar

    Genetic engineer? Wow. Pretty sure I just wanted to put on a guitar and swing my arm around like Pete Townshend at 13.

    Still do actually…

  7. Matt Avatar

    I’ve always been a geek. That Genetic Engineer thing lasted right up until my senior year of high school.

    However, now I simply want to play guitar like Pete Townsend…

  8. Matt Avatar

    Also notice my proto-LOLCAT, abrupt closing. The precursor to KTHXBAI!!

  9. Ben362 Avatar

    No flying cars, commercial space flights, or moon colonies

    but not that far off really

  10. niki alvey Avatar
    niki alvey

    Very cool.

    Congrats on your second child on the way!

  11. Kathy Avatar

    This is priceless. You know, as much as I enjoy the people my children have become, I miss the people they used to be–they’ll never be 4 or 10 or 13 again. To have something preserved in your voice from than transient phase of life is invaluable. I hope your precious kids have a chance to do something similar. :)

  12. Brad Hill Avatar

    That’s the best thing I’ve read in ages, even though you probably wrote it yesterday and now are mocking us for being so gullible and weepy over your sweet childhood evocation.

    It’s depressing to think that you were only in 7th grade in 1993. Because I was already in 9th grade. I feel so old.

    I’m flabbergasted by the maturity of your predictions. At that age my personal forecast involved becoming a camel herder in the Sahara. My fallback plan was toll collector on the New Jersey Turnpike.

  13. Matt Avatar

    I promise no hoaxes! Though I am sorta wishing I would have thought of that. Maybe I’ll discover something I wrote in kindergarten tomorrow…

  14. Nancy Avatar

    My favorite parts of the letter was that your handwriting hasn’t changed much (and that’s a compliment ;)) and that for a seventh grader, I think your grammar is AMAZING.

    And I think it’s also fun to think about the fact that I was just one floor below you when you were writing this :) LOL…

  15. Matt Avatar

    (Nancy was in 6th grade, in the same middle school building, when I was in 7th. We didn’t know each other. Ahhh fate.)

    And about that kindergarten writing sample….

  16. Donita Avatar

    Amazingly creative in you thoughts and writing. But that doesn’t surprise me. You and Ahren have very vivid imaginations. You were quite a twosome playing D&D. I have bee thinking about you and Nancy. Has your second child come into the world yet?

  17. Mom/Sue/Grandma Sue Avatar
    Mom/Sue/Grandma Sue

    This brought tears to my eyes. I remember you telling me about writing that letter. I never got to see it until just now. I think they were collected and sealed in the time capsule that same day.

    1992-93 was a rough year on you and I am so proud of how you handled the difficult times then, and the wonderful man and father you have become now.

    I’m just wondering about the genetic engineering part…I’m wondering if that was because we had taken your sister, Jenny, to the Mayo Clinic the summer of 1992 and they did Genetic tests on her to try and diagnosis her disability. The doctor was discussing about how in the future all health care would be managed with genetics and eventually they might be able to turn disabilities around.

    What is that old saying, “the walls have ears”? I didn’t realize how much you were taking in about all of that.

    As for the music part…I just have to laugh. We tried having you take piano lessons, but you wanted nothing to do with learning chords and playing scales. You just wanted to play music…and you did…and you do. ;D

    Love you always and forever!

  18. Matt Avatar

    Mom – I think you are right on about the genetic engineering part. Either you just planted that memory in my brain or that’s exactly what I was thinking. I remember that trip pretty clearly.

    I think, though, what sealed the deal was Jurassic Park which came out that year. I’m fairly certain the combo of those two things made that my life’s pursuit. I remember talking with Martin Jischke (then president of ISU) about the field and the degree at ISU my senior year of high school.

    Shortly before I made the final college decision, though, I got interested in hacking, and thus chose computer engineering over genetics.

    And then I got a BA in Psych and Religion… and work as a Web designer… go figure.

    Fairly certain I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be though.

    Proverbs 16:9 strikes again.

  19. Matt Avatar

    Oops… check my history. Jurassic Park didn’t come out until June of that year. Wouldn’t have affected this letter.

  20. Josh Munford Avatar

    The reason I “haven’t written any” comedy stories (which I can’t recall ever writing)

    Wow the memories.

    I remember you writing a short comedy about a caveman that was certainly hilarious. It must have good been if I still remember it! You were probably 11 or 12is. I forget the title or the caveman’s name, but he was definitely chased by a saber-toothed tiger into a tarpit. There was a punchline about a rock and a hard place in there that cracked me up.

    I think they call those the good ol’ days.
    “Fire up the wayback machine Mr. Peabody”

  21. Matt Avatar

    Josh – dude ya, the memories. It was a hard couple of years wasn’t it? You more so than me no doubt. If you take a look at the scans, your name is on there with Dan Harmon too… wonder what ever happened to him?

    Thanks for leaving the comment. Good memories in with the bad.

  22. Josh Munford Avatar

    Matt- Dan and I kept in touch for through the summer of our softmore years in HS. He would come in town and look me up about once a year and we’d chat on the phone every once in awhile. When I returned to Burlington from the academy (junior year in college) Mom had moved and we fell out of company. I’ve always figured I’d find him on the front page of the national news due to his genius, or at least on Facebook or whilst Googling, all to no avail.

    On another note, you and I made a time capsule out of an old mason jar a few weeks before you moved, It was hidden behind the fireplace in mom’s house on Kimberly. I made it a point to grab it and finally opened it in 2004. We signed and sealed it “do not open till 2004 else prepare for the curse” or something to that nature. Inside were a few artifacts, your’s consisted of a LA GEAR shoe keychain in the form of a license plate (I remember being envious of those shoes, probably because they came with a keychain), a picture of your best friend from Omaha, and a D&D pewter figure, (I assume it was a Rouge, and possibly chaotic evil, it was painted completely black and definitely looked the part). There may be some other items as well, but those are the ones that stick out. I will round them up in the folowing week and mail them to you assuming I can get your address off of your posted resume.


  23. Jim Avatar

    Matt, you are an unending source of insight, even from when you were 13. I think I’m glad I never wrote myself a letter like that, because I’d want to skim the parts I couldn’t stand, then slap the little monkey that wrote it! You’re a good friend.

  24. Robin Avatar

    That’s a fantastic letter to recieve! A great way to see how things have changed for you. I wish I could get a letter from me earlier self, see how my life’s worked out!

    I recall the 486DX too, such a powerful beast, a whopping 50MhZ if I remember correctly! :)

  25. michael Austin Productions Avatar

    WOW, I wish we did that. That was sick, you where very right about the video games… 13 inventing wifi ;) lol… creative and fun.. thanks for the read.

    Michael Austin Productions
    Michael Austin Productions | Professional Web Design | Graphic Design | Internet Consulting

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