Future-me called… and current-me better make some changes…

Current-me is having a ball. Well, sort of. With Sydney thrust back into lock down, Current-me has thrown all care to the wind. It least as it relates to wine and chocolate every night. Last week we had Gin and Tonics every single day of the week. Scandalous! Future-me is not going to be pleased when all she can fit into are pants with elasticated waists. Current-me blames Past-me, who bought all this junk food into the house in the first place.

I love this way of thinking about myself. It’s helped me to be more mindful about my goals and ambitions, and more specifically about the person I want to be and the life I want to live. If you want to know more about it, I heard it here on this Hidden Brain podcast.

Current-me and future-me are of course the same person. But they have different levels of power to make change. Current-me has all the power. Future-me has all the consequences. The power to change the past, from the perspective of the future, only resides in the present.

I think a lot of the time life lives us. We have plans, we have goals. But mostly we drift along, perhaps expecting we will just wash up on the shores of our dreams. We forget, I think, in the pressure and rush of life, that it doesn’t work that way. Dreams need plans, and plans require actions. And dreams don’t have to be as big as owning a Caribbean island or running for office. They can be as simple as keeping fit and healthy for as long as possible, or having good relationships or a meaningful career. But whatever they are, they require intention and they need action to make them a reality.

Current-me is the only version of me who can take action. Current-me has to step up to the plate (and not the one containing cookies) and start taking responsibility for moving in the direction Future-me will be pleased with.

As such, Current-me has decided to recommit to wine on the weekends only. Of course, weekends start on Thursday in our house, at least this week as it’s my birthday. It is hardly an arduous task to be alcohol free for three to four days, but the very fact that it seems to be significantly difficult to achieve means it has to be done, and with some sense of urgency.

To help in this endeavour, I’m jazzing up mineral water at “wine-time”. And by mineral water I mean environmentally friendly soda-stream water, because future-me would like to live in a world that isn’t drowning in plastic bottles (and Past-me spent the shopping budget on chips and chocolates). Last night it was elderflower and lime, with three ice-blocks. I’ve recruited some friends to the cause, because doing hard things is much easier when you’re part of a team, and when you are having fun. The game was upped when one came served in a jar, with a straw and a strawberry on the side. Tonight, I’m taking out the cocktail umbrellas and mocktailing a daiquiri.

Maybe this is a strategy that can help my kids be more motivated and self-directed. I’m not sure, but I’ve been using the terminology around the house – planting the idea of it with phrases like “what will future-you think/feel/do if you…” [insert relevant slightly parentally alarming behaviour here]. You know like…  spend all your time on your device, don’t eat lunch, don’t brush your teeth, don’t call your grandfather. Future-me plans on being slightly more positive too. Like “Wow, dude, future-you is going to love those study-notes”.

I’m not a child psychologist and they are teenagers, so who knows whether this filters through the underdeveloped decision making neural hardware our poor teens have to navigate life with. But I believe in planting seeds. So away we plant, and perhaps there is fruit. Today I heard one of them use the words “future-me” whilst talking about a project with school friends. As in, “future-me will not be happy if I choose that to be responsible for!”

Current-me did a little dance of joy at the actions of Past-me. And that’s all I really want… a future-me who is thankful for current-me.

Stay safe, live gloriously.
xx Sharlene

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