For Taylor Smith, of Johnson City, Tenn., it was simple: Go to college, travel outside the country, keep God in her life – and watch a lot of Doctor Who.
Smith outlined these plans in a letter she wrote to her future self in April 2013, which she kept in a box in her room with the instruction "To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 12, 2023 only (unless said otherwise)."
The letter stayed there, hidden, for the rest of her life. Months after writing it, Smith died of complications from a sudden onset of pneumonia.
Her grieving parents found the letter while sorting through her possessions. Warmed by the memories of their daughter, Tim and Mary Ellen Smith decided to post it online, in the hopes that it would give others some solace.
Courtesy Tim Smith / Facebook
She also implored the future Taylor to stay a Christian and keep watching Doctor Who (if it was still on the air). She closed with remembrances of what things were like in 2013, a description of the newest ride at Dollywood and a diagram of an iPad to show her children.
"Don't forget to tell your kids that we're older than the tablet!" she wrote.
Taylor's parents hope that the letter acts a time capsule to show the world how loving, trusting and hopeful Taylor was in life.
"I can't physically resurrect her, I can't bring her back, but I'm so grateful people have been inspired by her story," Mary Ellen told Today.