Hello future me;
I know that as you’re reading this you think of yourself as current me, but from my perspective, you are future me. I don’t know where or when you are, but I’ve been thinking quite a bit about you recently.
I know that the predominant thought or wish when people think about giving advice to themselves is to their past self, but at this moment (and I think somewhat mercifully) there is only one form of time travel, and that’s the one that will take me to you one second at a time (and I know that seems like a cheesy thought, but I’ve got the Gopher clock ticking to me one second at a time, so it’s in my mind at the moment). So, even though you may not have asked for it, here’s some advice for you…or, maybe more accurately, here’s how I feel about some stuff right now.
First, I know that what I see as current me has a tendency to look at what I wanted in the past, and I feel some sort of responsibility to try making some dream or some past desire a future reality. Please don’t feel obligated to continue that trend. As you know, I’m in a pretty fluid situation right now, and I don’t really have some solid goal in mind (other than survival), so feel free to take the new information you’ve learned to do what is best for you and the world around you, without a bunch of regard to what I want(ed). Please keep me and any lessons you remember from me in mind, but “you do you,” as it were.
See, I’m kind of hoping you’re a smarter, more experienced version of me. Also, I don’t know what the world around you looks like, so anything I may have wanted may not even be feasible. Times change, my friend, So take those considerations into account before you think too much about me.
With that said, here’s piece of advice number two: take some chances. You know me; I’m a pretty risk averse person, and I don’t typically do stuff I might be good at or might fail at. This isn’t an invitation to do something stupid; use your brain when you’re making your decisions. Just remember that growth often requires mistakes, and you’ll make a bunch when you take a chance on something. I’m still working on this one; hopefully you’ve made some progress in this area.
See, I know the fear of the unknown and of making mistakes. I’ve felt it longer than I’ve really needed to. Or, maybe I should say, the unhelpful fear; that butterflies in your stomach feeling needs to stay with you – it’s what will keep you focused on the task at hand. Staying a little uncomfortable will keep you considering your options and your path well enough to stick to what’s working and cut out what’s not.
Third, you know more than you probably think you do, so trust your gut. Take others’ advice into consideration – lots of people know more than you do and know you better than you think – but ultimately, decisions will be yours, and you know yourself and the world around you well enough to follow your lead. Also, that’s a big place where the Spirit leads you; when it’s the Spirit talking, it’s best to pay attention.
Here’s the deal; so many of my regrets have come from not taking the chances my gut told me I should take. I have no idea how things could have turned out, and there’s no way of knowing what could have been successes or would have been failures, but I never gave myself the chance to find out. The thing is, I know how we think, and I know how we work, and I know we can do many things we set our mind to. So give something a try.
Next, please explore. Explore the world, explore yourself, explore whatever is around you. We don’t only learn through mistakes; we learn by asking, “Well, why is that?” and “Well, why can’t we do this better?” We learn by meeting new people and encountering new ideas. We learn by doing, and by seeing things for ourself. Don’t forget that.
Moving along here, I realize that this is an open letter, and sharing super personal stuff can be uncomfortable for me, I hope that it will grow to be less uncomfortable for you. This is how we make connections with other people. I know some won’t care, some may not like you, and some will (unfortunately) hurt you, but you know us. You know that, more than any cares about a career or money or some more trivial piece of life, we, I, care about those connections, about people. I know I’m more show than tell (and even then, more “hope they can magically figure out my feelings”), but sometimes there’s going to need to be some tell.
Through all of this, work on giving yourself a break and forgiving yourself. Mistakes aren’t the end of the world, pain isn’t the end of the world, no matter what you (or certainly I) may think. Look back a couple posts ago; you know fear is not the ruler. You know what you were given. You know who gave it to you. And, maybe most importantly, you know your potential. You may not know how to make something happen, you may not think you can do something, you may not even know what to think. If there’s one thing I know about us, though, it’s this:
You can figure it out.
P.S., please work on the procrastination stuff if you haven’t already. I know we may be wired to tend toward procrastination, but it can be super exhausting. Take the time you need to do stuff, but don’t wait until the end to do the bulk of it. Please. Believe me, it’s for our own good.