Have you ever thought about the life you live, the days you spend and how you spend them, backwards?
Let’s put this together, if you will come along this journey with me, you might be quite thrilled by the end, slightly confused in the middle, and generally indifferent in the beginning. Let’s call this a journey into the life you are about to live based on the things you are investing time and energy into today.
Take yourself to the day where you are, by medical terms considered old. Can you picture yourself? The skin, the eyes, the feet, the bones and muscle. Do you feel a little uncomfortable with this picture or are you pleased? Take note and move on.
Picture yourself 20 years younger, your youthful skin has started to show signs of aging, your hair has become a nice shade of grey, and you are on a course that you have been generally building on for more than a decade now. Are you tired? Do you picture yourself in a happy place? What do you see? Pick yourself up and come back again.
You are the youthful version of yourself 5 years from now. Most of your life is still ahead of you. If all goes well, and your heart beats steadily, you have at least 50 years looking straight back at you. Lots of hope, lots of potential. What do you think?
The purpose of this exercise is not mockery but honesty. Based on the decisions you are making today, a lot of whats yet to come will be natural consequence. The cause and effect relationship is not absolutely set in stone, but the way in which you make your decisions, the things you consider, and the priorities you put forth with be the key factors in the life any of your future selves will have. Surely, it is possible that you change entirely as a person in any of the upcoming phases, but the stakes tend to grow the more life we get to live.
The way in which we live our lives starts to seem like the only possible way forward, and since we are naturally averse to change, our instinct will rarely tell us to steer away from the course we had been on for the past decade.
Our brains will repeat the mantra “just stick to what you know”. There is nothing wrong with doing that, but it is safe to check in with ourselves every once in a while to make sure that at the least we like ourselves, we like our lives or some major parts of them; and last but not least we are never slaves to the decisions we made. The trick is to accept consequences, live accountably, and then admit that we own the time and energy to do with our lives what we will.
It’s never too late to start over, and never too early to stop doing what’s making us unhappy.