The author and podcaster Tim Ferris often asks his guests what they would say to their 30-year-old selves. Often the answer involves the self from the future reassuring the younger self to stop worrying, to be in the moment, to enjoy what we have now trusting that everything will work out in the future.
Recently I found my freshman year high school id card. When I look into those dull brown eyes I think of how naive I was, how foolish. It’s hard not to slip into a half cooked fantasy of going back and living my life differently. I would study harder, go on more adventures, have the courage to ask her out, or challenge teachers.
Of course, this is fantasy, we are not going back to anything. It’s all downhill from here. Isn’t the point of advising our younger selves about the futility of being anxious and worried, too driven or too focused that we now know everything will work out. Isn’t the fact that it’s worked out this far for all of us proof enough that it will in the future?
I don’t want to change that kid’s life, he made pretty good decisions. But why can’t he come to me and tell me that we are a fleck of dust in the universe, here for a fraction of a millisecond in history? That he wants me to stop looking back, what is done is done, use your days wisely. Immortality and happiness are illusions. Don’t look back I want him to tell me, look forward. You got this.