Monday 22nd November 2010, at 2:55pm… I should be working. I always should be working but instead I am writing to you… my future self. How are you doing? Right now I don’t know what to do, or what’s gonna happen in the next 6 months. I don’t know if I’ll finish Uni, or drop out. If I’ll get an honours degree or an ordinary degree. If I pass or if I fail. What’s strange is that I’m talking to someone who knows. Wanna give me a clue what I should do?
It’s a strange thing writing to yourself. At least when I write this blog I imagine that I’m writing to the world, but writing to yourself means writing to someone you know better than anyone else on the planet. Monday 22nd November last year was not the first time I’d written to myself… When I was younger I used to keep a list of people I’d sent christmas cards to the previous year (a tradition inherited from my parents). I got into the habit of writing myself a little note to accompany the list, knowing that the next year at Christmas time I would find it. It started with a “Merry Christmas!” and gradually got longer. Eventually I gave up writing these lists (I now prefer to buy a pack of cards and randomly select twelve facebook friends as recipients) and with it gave up writing to myself.
When I came across Future Me, I couldn’t resist writing to myself again. If I remember correctly, I wrote a letter to my future self in five years time as well as a letter to be received in seven months and eight days; five years is a long time to wait to see the fruits of your labour. It’s exciting to feel like you can communicate with a future version of yourself, albeit a one way conversation. What would you tell your future self? Turns out I wanted to tell the me of the future things that fell into two brackets; the compulsory “OMG, this is so cool! This is what it’s like for me now, do you remember?!” section and a more philosophical section where I reminded my future self of the values that were important to me at the time.
You remember Ben? I hope so because if everything goes according to plan, you should have just had an amazing night at the Glee concert… Say hi to future Ben for me!
Future Ben is my current flatmate. We did indeed have an amazing night at the Glee concert. In’t that clever! I think future Ben was very appreciative of his greeting from the past, I mean who wouldn’t be? But this wasn’t the most interesting bit of the letter for me… instead I found the philosophical bits quite striking:
Remember the measure of success is happiness. If you are not happy right now, to some degree, then something has gone wrong… change it. Have strength and have courage, and never stop in the pursuit of happiness. Just remember to enjoy yourself along the way… in the words of Miley Cyrus and Joe McElderry it IS The Climb.
Granted my positive reaction to this paragraph is not going to be limited by the fact that it references Joe McElderry, but what I found inspiring is that in the seven months and eight days since I sent myself the letter, I have lived my life within the guidelines that I’d felt the need to remind myself of. The way I looked at life back then was the way I lived life over the next period. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m quite a philosophical person and it is encouraging to know that what I thought worthy to tell my future self was not something of which I needed reminding. I lived life how I wanted to live it.
I found out this week that I have passed my degree. The last three years, and the last seven months, were worth it. I was seriously considering dropping out of my course at the time I wrote to myself but that wouldn’t have been the right decision, and I persevered and finished what I’d started. I also found out this week that I am no longer unemployed! I will be working for two months as Front of House for a production of Treasure Island. The position my life is at right now is not something I could have imagined in November, but I know that the decisions I’ve made that got me here are consistent with what I wanted way back then.
Maybe when I receive the next letter to myself I’ll be able to say that I’ve got the TV job I dream of. Maybe I won’t. Who knows where I will be in another seven months time; the future is totally unimaginable for me right now. But what I hope beyond anything is that I’ll be able to say once more that I have continued to live life to the values which I feel are important. If I can say that then maybe the pursuit of happiness isn’t a pursuit after all.
No regrets, just lessons learned.