Dear Future Self,
It has recently come to my attention that befriending you may be in my best interest. The research indicates that if I am able to create a vivid understanding of who you are and what you need I may be able to make healthier decisions today that will benefit me down the line. So given this fact I’d like to ask you the following questions:
(Please note that before writing this letter I spent a few moments with my eyes closed visualizing myself at the age of 65 including what I would look like, where I would live, how I would spend my time, and what types of things would make this future self happy).
Current Self: I hope retirement is treating you well. How do you spend your days?
Future Self: Things are wonderful. I am enjoying a slower pace of life filled with the things that give me the most joy. I am still practicing yoga, taking long walks as often as possible, doing a lot of reading and a bit of writing, spending time with my grandchildren, and sharing my days with my husband who I am still madly in love with.
Current Self: That sounds wonderful. Tell me more about who you have become and what your life looks like?
Future Self: I’ve let my hair grow long and grey. I’m not afraid to show my age. I have 3 dogs who are all rescues. Their energy and kisses keep me young. I’m still captivated by trying to understand the human mind and heart so I stay up to date on the latest psychological research. The minds and hearts that captivate me the most, of course, are those of my husband, kids, and grandkids. I enjoy getting together with friends often to engage in furious laughter and lighthearted intellectual debate. I start each day with meditation and end each day with a practice of gratitude.
Current Self: Speaking of gratitude, looking back what are the choices you are most grateful for?
Future Self:There are so many but there are few standouts. 1) I am grateful that I prioritized putting money away into my retirement account even though it meant having to give up some present moment pleasures. If I had not done this, I would never have been able to enjoy retirement the way I am now: free from worries about money and fully engaged in the activities I most value. 2) I am grateful that I always made my health and well-being a high priority. If I had not been so mindful of getting good nutrition and exercise at a younger age I probably wouldn’t be able to be as healthy or active as I am now. 3) I am grateful that I always prioritized my relationships over everything else. Putting care and effort into my friendships ensured that I had wonderful and supportive people by my side no matter what life threw at me. And, the unconditional love and support that characterizes my relationship with my husband is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. Dedicating time, energy, patience, and compassion to my marriage has allowed it to become the kind of partnership that inspires me daily.
Current Self: Given your wisdom and perspective, what advice would you offer me?
Future Self: 1) Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Focus on your goals and let the rest fade into the background.
2) Pay attention to taking care of yourself but don’t be obsessive about it. Make health a priority but have balance and enjoy life.
3) Tell the people you care for how much you love and appreciate them each day.
4) Good habits are the key to a good life. Let daily meditation be the foundation upon which you build the the rest of your habits.
5) You worry too much! Take a deep breathe and take a step back. The energy you waste worrying could be much better spent working on things energize you. Problem solve the things that have a solution and let go of the rest. Accept the uncertainty inherent in life instead of trying to control it.
Current Self: Thanks so much for your wisdom and insight. I’m going to practice number one above right now by publicly posting this very personal letter to my future self on my website. Cheers to a long, healthy, and fulfilled life.