Many of us get trapped by the day-to-day monotony of our lives. We’re not happy, but we’re not miserable either, and in this state, we are often unwilling to change. But if we are reluctant to create a new path, our future is guaranteed to remain the same.
So here’s the question: If nothing changed, and you met your future self ten years from now, would you be happy?
What would life be like for you? Would you be stuck in the same ruts? Would you complain about the same problems or feel cornered by the same mental blocks and broken mindsets?
If so, you are not alone.
Are You Changing or Staying the Same?
Imagine going to a party. Maybe it’s a backyard bbq, a 40th birthday celebration, or the latest art exhibit in the trendiest part of town. While you’re there, you run into an old friend. You haven’t seen this person in over ten years, and you’re excited to catch up and see what’s new.
Unfortunately, your excitement is short-lived, because rather than hearing about the highlights of the last ten years, you receive an earful of complaints from them.
It begins with negative comments about your friend’s career, then traverses a winding list of grievances about money and relationships. Your friend is unhappy and looking to vent, and you are more than willing to lend an ear.
You listen intently, all the while realizing you’ve heard these stories before. Ten years ago, your friend was telling you similar tales. Back then, she was disappointed and disgruntled about the very same things. It seems little has changed since you last saw her.
Now turn the tables on your conversation. This time, imagine you are talking as your friend listens. Is your life different from the last time you spoke? Are you still unhappy about the same things?
Questions to Ask Yourself
Fast-forward ten years into the future. You arrive at this same party a decade from now. What is your future self doing? Do you like the vision you see?
What if everything in your life remained the same for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years? Would you be happy, content, or downright miserable?
A Teenage Letter to My Future Self
When I was a teenager, my favorite English teacher asked us to write a letter to our future selves. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I put it. If I could find that letter from my childhood, I’m sure it would talk about money, jobs, love, and friends who seemed like they’d never part ways.
As I wrote that letter, I envisioned myself through the eyes of a teenager. I wrote about the things I cared about in my youth, but I failed to see that my priorities would change.
A letter to my future self would focus on the problems of this moment. But, what I need is a pretend letter from my future self that I can read right now.
So what would I like my future self to say?
A Letter to My Future Self
First, you should know that your greatest accomplishments will be moments you never could’ve imagined. For all the things you thought might happen, your life is better than every unique path you could’ve predicted.
The most memorable events arrived when life didn’t happen the way you expected. The most significant discoveries all came from unforeseeable opportunities, so keep your eyes open and explore new possibilities. Never get too comfortable or complacent, and keep searching for new avenues for inspiration.
Don’t follow the guidelines and expectations set by other people. Ignore the naysayers before you begin to believe their distorted points of view. Instead, surround yourself with cheerleaders. Listen closely and you will find them.
Fear can prevent you from moving forward. It can keep you locked in your current mindset and force you to believe that you are not worthy of an amazing life, but fear is not all bad. Use the fear of death to help you act bravely. You get one chance at this life, so don’t waste your time running in never-ending circles.
Please, do not be afraid to fail. You might not believe me, but your biggest mistakes will lead to your most memorable triumphs.
Remember, when you toss your rock into the pond, a tsunami won’t come crashing back to shore. Few of us make enormous impacts with just one stone, so instead, wait patiently for a tiny ripple. Then toss in some more.
Lastly, if you don’t like the path you are on, you have the power to alter it. Please don’t change everything all at once. Instead, start with tiny steps and take your time. Take small risks and search for new adventures.
When you feel stuck, think about your future self. Picture yourself ten, twenty, or thirty years from now. Then, imagine chatting with the person you want to become.
All the best,
Making a Change
Do you feel fulfilled right now? If you don’t, what’s missing? Think about the key components that make up your happiness. They may include your relationships, career, health, family, skills, knowledge, and your sense of community.
Which of these make you feel content and which need to change? If you could improve just one thing, what would it be?
Now, start there. The goal is not to adjust everything in your life all at once. Instead, it is to figure out what you want to keep and what you want to do differently.
Life is about choices. So what are you choosing? Are you choosing to remain the same or to live life differently?