Year in Review Letter

Sitting in front of the Christmas tree

December 29, 2023

I’m Amanda.
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For the past 20 years, I have always set aside time right before New Years to write my Year in Review. It was a practice that I was first introduced to during a UVA sorority event. Our pledge class was encouraged to write a “future letter” that we would read upon graduation. I was so moved – and inspired – by my graduation letter that I decided to make it a yearly practice.

The letter is simple – nothing fancy, not even proper notepaper (I am normally a huge fan of personalized stationery). I just write, free hand, without edits and without review. It is a stream of consciousness that is a reflection of who I am in that exact moment. I then seal the pages in an envelope where I sign across the seal. The front of the envelope always says: Year in Review (and I insert the date).

When you follow this practice, it really makes you stop and take inventory of your year. The highs, the lows, the in between. Documenting vacations, emotions, hopes and dreams. On New Years Day I find such joy in opening up and reflecting on what has been written. Sometimes it brings tears of joy – when I see a dream come true, sometimes a tear of sadness when I see life did not turn out exactly as I had hoped, and yet there is also a maturity in reading. Unanswered prayers.

If this is a practice, and gift, that you are interested in bestowing upon yourself (I consider it one of the greatest gifts – besides investing in your health), then here is a rough guide of the categories I usually cover:

  • Family
  • Career
  • Vacations
  • Friends
  • Favorites – this one always varies, but it could be as simple as my favorite workout that particular year, perfume, music, show, book, etc.

Some years the letters are long – 10+ pages long (I write in cursive and love to free flow), and others they are as short as 3 pages. I store them in the back of my childhood Bible, the binding stretched now by the volume of letters. I keep meaning to scan them electronically, or to move them to a safer place, but then again that is part of the magic. The gift of written word that is now imprinted in my brain. The words memorized, the memories acknowledged, and the growth actualized.

I encourage you to try this practice yourself. I can 100% guarantee you that your future self, next year, will appreciate the effort.

Cheers to a New Year!

in good health,
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  1. Edward Woods says:

    Great advice Amanda.


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