When I first read today’s prompt:
Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
I was torn. The majority of my current work on self improvement has been to let go of the past, and not dwell on the future. I’ve spent far too much time in my life, wrapped up neatly inside my head reliving the mistakes of the past, or trying to force things into this ideal vision of my future, instead of letting life happen organically. So, here I find myself, sitting in front of the keyboard, with a prompt that is quite literally asking me to expunge into the universe every fear, anxiety, and hope that I’ve held myself back with for the last five years.
Part of me says, “this will be easy, its all we thought about,” and part of me is saying, “this is behind us. 30/31 is okay, you can blow it off, or dance around it.” So, while all of this bounces back and forth between the two sides of my psyche, I take a break from myself and spend a little time talking to one of my roommates about it.
Now, this particular one of my two roommates is much younger than me. In fact, she’s just a little older than I was ten years ago. She’s lived a fairly sheltered life, growing up in a small, southern Missouri town, and raised in a deeply conservative religious family that actually kept her from watching most cartoons as a child because of their negative impact on children. Normally, this sort of combination really irks me to the point of wanting to strangle, but for some reason, I feel a little bit of a kindred with my roommate, and tend to treat her like a younger sister, probably because she is the first person I’ve met in a really long time that didn’t seem to have any expectations about who I should be.
So, understanding our friendship in that manner, you can imagine my reluctance to answer when she asked my what I found so difficult about writing today’s prompt. After all, how do you admit fear and anxiety to someone that you generally feel like you have to watch out for. I mumbled something only partially coherent under my breath. She’s learned to well to snuff out bullshit, though, but graciously, she just offered me a series of quesitons I could think about instead of coyly deflecting my blog article in a different direction, like talking about my roommate…
Really, I don’t want advice from my future self. I’m sure anything future me would tell me would sound exactly like advice from my older brother or my father. I definately don’t want to have any spoilers. For the first time in a long time, I’m not afraid of my future. I’m not worried about growing old alone, penniless in a one bedroom apartment, a dirty matress my only furniture, and a bottle of cheap whiskey my only friend. For now, I’d like to enjoy the stability of having a good job, a handful of good friends, and a nice home.
I’d like to spend some time playing with new gadgets, reading good novels, or watching bad movies.
What could my future self possibly tell me that I don’t already know without spoiling the surprises along the way? Why would I do that to my younger self?