I’ve Seen The Future, Baby

#reverb10, day 21 – 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?)(Author: Jenny Blake)

Did you know that I once visioned my future self? Yes, visioned. It was through work, of all things, a workshop called “Your Future Self” (maybe? I don’t remember. Let’s pretend it was) and the woman who led the workshop was this energetic, smiley counselor who had just been hired on contract to be the life coach / employment counselor of our department. I never got to go see her because she got pregnant and quit. But I attended the workshop, which was interesting in itself because it was supposed to be guiding all these civil servants to better embrace their true purposes and most people, when pressed, admitted that their future selves told them to do things like quit their jobs and go skydiving or to take stress leave and go sit on a beach beading bracelets, rather than continue attempting to change the world from the rolly chair in the corner office.

It’s true: something like 0.054% of the general population believes their true purpose in life is to be a bureaucrat.

The visioning was a guided meditation. We sat with our eyes closed and our legs straight and our feet on the floor and our palms on our thighs and we were led through “where are you” and “what is your future self wearing” and “what does your future self say to you when you meet him/her”.

It reads pretty goofy but it was very cool. Having never successfully meditated on my own, it was neat to let my mind engage in that way without me doing anything. And I saw the house (it was blue) and I saw my future self (she was friendly) and I shook her hand and she took me into her nice, bright yellow kitchen and we had tea.

In five years, I will be 41. I don’t think my formerly visioned future self was that young. She was white haired and wearing a caftan. Although – I suppose I could wear caftans at 41. It would eliminate the physical evidence of my beer bloat. Drat, now I’ve told the Internet about my beer bloat, no caftan will help.

My five years future self says: to get the things you want, you have to risk. You have to take big steps sometimes and have faith that your foot will come down on the right path. You can work for both love and pay, but it will mean eliminating second-guessing and self-doubt.

Curious: my five years future self sounds like a strange cross between Bon Jovi and one of those motivational posters.

Stop stressing, start doing. As Trombone is fond of saying, when he is angry, “DO WHAT YOU WANT.” In five years, he is 9.5 years old and probably in college already. Fresco is almost 8. Neither of them fits on my lap or wants to be there. Memorize the smell of their necks. Cherish every “I love you” even if it’s only being delivered because something just got knocked over.

..and now we’re in Chicken Soup for the Cranky Mother’s Soul…

In another “find yourself and get a job already” workshop I went to, we wrote (and never mailed) letters to far-away friends from the POV of ourselves five years later. Mine was written from the future of 2005 and I find it every once in a while and marvel at how much came true. How much I made happen. That teacher, she explained the concept of the back burner in the brain. You have things that are on the front burner, cooking away and you have to pay attention to them because they are noisy and messy and might boil over at a moment’s notice. But there are also the back burner things, things you don’t want to stop cooking, things you want the option to peek at later, things that you might move to the front whenever those two front pots are done.

In five years I will look back and shake my head affectionately at myself. “You were so young,” I will say, “you were so uncertain, flopping around like a fish on the beach. You didn’t know what you wanted, how to get it, or whether you had enough brain cells to figure it out. And now look at you. Just look.”

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