I wrote this for my first year university students, who are taking their final classes with me this week. But it struck me that it fits very well with the reflective / anticipatory turn-of-the-decade feeling in the ELT blogosphere at the moment, so I thought I’d post it. There are some exercises at the end, and if you would like to answer the questions for us, or share your message to your future self, I might do the same….

1. Spring, 2. Summer, 3. Autumn, 4. Winter

What happens in one year?

In one year, the earth will make one revolution of the sun. It is long enough to create and gestate a human being. There are three hundred and sixty five days in a year, in which time you will blink about eight million times. They say that you eat eight spiders in your sleep in the course of a year, but I think that’s just an urban myth. However, I also heard that about 230,000 tons of natto are eaten in Japan in one year, and I do believe that.

The average Japanese employee will work one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight hours between now and next January. Shockingly, nearly one million people in this country are killed or injured in road accidents every year – something to think about if your cellphone rings while you are driving or riding a bike.

Of course Japan, like many other countries, will go through four seasons. The icy chill of winter, the life-giving spring rains, the sweltering heat of the summer and the crunch of dry leaves in autumn. Depending on where you are, you will receive between one and two thousand millimetres of rainfall in a year. You will also experience about one and a half thousand earthquakes, although you won’t notice most of them.

What I am trying to express is that a lot of things happen in a year. When you were a child,  a year was an unimaginable period of time. Some years may be uneventful, some may be thrilling, some tragic. But they will all, in real terms, be about the same length. You are just finishing your first year at university. What kind of year has it been?

What were the best and worst years in your life so far? Which was the most eventful year?

Which day in the last year stands out for you?

How did you feel in January last year? What were you doing?

What are your predictions, hopes  and goals for the coming year?

Write an email to your future self. Maybe you want to explain your feelings now, offer some encouragement, scold yourself, or just say ‘Hi!’. Then go to this website  and send the email,  to be delivered one year from today.

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