What Does Your Future Self Have to Say to YOU?
Here I sit, staring at a life crossroads. Will it be north or will it be south? Will it be working my ass off for a guaranteed rate of pay or will it be busking it hand to mouth until I can get my next great idea off the ground? I’ve always been able to provide a roof over my head and have some food in the fridge but what if this is the crossroads that ultimately leaves me homeless?
Ok, so that was a bit dramatic, I agree. But I thought that my 30s were supposed to be slightly easier? I was obviously mistaken when I thought that I would at least be *somewhere* career-wise by this age instead of researching whether or not I qualify for government assistance.
Life can sometimes be a giant pain in the ass and traversing difficult decisions and complicated problems seem somewhat “heavier” for me now that I am in my thirties.
Making a quote-unquote bad decision in my twenties seemed less risky because youth is a great excuse that is socially acceptable and it has the added bonus of still having time on its side. I mean, even if you make the ass-iest mistake ever in your 20s, you can usually recover from most of it and move on to enjoy a successful and pleasant life. Well, I guess you can’t undo unplanned pregnancies, addictions, or life altering STDs but you can certainly overcome spending 5 years in the wrong career, several years dating a douche, or losing your entire savings in some bizarre investment (MBA?).
My 30s have turned me into a scared-y cat!
I know now that bad decisions and wrong choices have consequences that can significantly hurt myself and others. Hurt hurts and now that I have experience with that, I want to avoid it whenever possible! What is tricky is that sometimes painful experiences teach us the most valuable lessons. Does that mean that we shy away from risk? The obvious answer is, no, but whenever faced with challenging circumstances I like to take some time to get quiet and have a conversation with my Future Self.
I envision my Future Self as having achieved everything that I want now, has lived successfully through ups and downs, and has gained insightful wisdom into the very unique being that only I am. Furthermore, my Future Self has and endless supply of peace and joy in the face of navigating the human condition.
So what advice does my future self have for the 30something being that I am currently?
1. Peace and joy are yours already but you must claim them, protect them, and nurture them. People and circumstances can only take them from you if you allow it.
2. Life is a series of risks. Not choosing to risk is still a passive choice. Be mindful and remember that fear and courage are two sides of the same coin. Fear must exist for courage to have an opportunity to be present.
3. You will be okay, I promise. Go forth boldly, confidently, and humbly.
4. You do not have to think every little thought that falls into your head. Choose your thoughts wisely because they are like prayers and worry is just a negative prayer.
5. When things seem hopeless fight relentlessly until you can see the hope that always exists in all circumstances.
6. Cultivate the skill of forgiving others quickly and completely. Un-forgiveness hurts you most and hinders your ability to move forward and flourish.
7. Be not easily offended. Regardless of whether the offense is justified or not, let it go and remember rule number 1.
8. You will be okay, I promise. Just keep on keeping on.
9. Say your prayers and stay close to God. He’s the only one that will always be there for you.
10. Always show up wearing your Big Girl Pants and be prepared to work. A good work ethic can cover a multitude of sins.
11. Always live below your means and save, save, save! You never know what type of uncertainty life is going to throw at you and savings can buy you freedom from a lot of it.
12. Be honest but remember that there is a difference between being honest and sharing private information that is neither necessary nor appropriate.
13. Use your head, think things through, and be smart.
14. Don’t waste your energy on stupid battles. Know when to fight and when to walk away. When in doubt, walk away.
15. Take breaks frequently. Don’t get caught up in moving as fast as this world is spinning. It isn’t a good fit for you.
16. Material possessions are a waste. Live small.
17. Live with integrity. It will help you sleep at night.
18. Love is a choice and an action. Choose it and do it daily.
19. Be grateful. Count your blessings instead of focusing on problems.
20. You can do anything as long as you know it isn’t forever. Now quit complaining and get the job done!
21. Always focus on the solution.
22. Make yourself happy. You’re the only one who can.
23. Listen to good music loudly and frequently.
24. Smile. Even if you are not feeling it, you can sometimes fool yourself by faking it.
25. Be kind. Everyone is in the middle of a battle that you know nothing about.
26. Put things back where they belong. This includes shopping carts; don’t be that self righteous asshole that can’t manage to walk a few extra feet to do what’s right.
27. Get lots of sleep.
28. Quitting isn’t the same as failing and when the circumstances call for it, its ok to quit.
29. Stay away from drama and gossip.
30. Really, you’ll be okay. I promise.
What does your future self have to say to you?
@MiltonKatie enjoys her ex-pat lifestyle on a small island in the Caribbean and blogs about lifestyle design and travel at katiemilton.com She dreams of someday owning a tiny home in the woods of northern Minnesota.