As humans, we tend to take almost everything for granted. Let’s say the sunrise. If the sunrise happened once every billion years, you couldn’t be in bed at 6am and miss a once in a life-time experience. There are many such sunrises that are taken for granted, say your current abilities and opportunities which are only accessable during certain times(twentysomethings must take note). I refer to such a “cone of opportunity” that narrows with time.
I have gotten to understand how defining and transformative our age-decades can be. There are many things that can be better done now than later. Certain identities can only be acquired and cemented during only certain times. These value of good identities compound with time. In constrast, the cost of bad identities also compound with time until it becomes improbable to escape your own identities. You can agree with me, it is improbable to start a career, or develop meaningful relationships in your seventies. Thoughts alone can break your back.
In the recent past, my mind has been thinking about “time” all the time. I have been asking myself questions whose answers are neither verbal nor pen-and-paper. The answers I have thought of and implemented have led me acquire certain habit-systems and mindsets.
I started questioning almost everything, from relationships to finance to happiness to career. For example, before making any decision, I ask myself what would be the long-term effect of making or not making such a decision. “Am I choosing the short-term gain and long-term ‘pain’ or short-term ‘pain’ and long-term gain? Is my decision in sync with who I am and who I am becoming?” A myriad of such questions have become my decision criteria.
And there is this mind-bending question that freezes my mind whenever I think of it. “What would you say to your twentysomething when you are thirty? What would you say to your thirtysomething when your forty?”
Such questions have made me more future-oriented than a hedonic-being basking in present-day pleasures.
May I ask you a question? If your present-self and future-self met and poured themselves cups of tea one evening, what would your future-self tell your present-self? What would be the theme of your conversations? Would it be regret, blame, self-pity or some well-cooked excuses?
Would your future-self and present-self hug and toss glasses of fine-wine, smiling wide and thanking the present-self for learning good habits such reading great books, healthy nutrition habits, acquiring great career identities, nurturing meaningful relationships, great financial habits, et cetera?
What would you say?