Letters From the Future

What if you got a letter from your future self? From a different vantage point, say at 80, 90, or 100 years old – what would he or she tell you?

Many people find that when the kids are gone, when corporate life is in the rearview, and when work isn’t taking up all the space – different values emerge.

If you’re looking for a quick trip to the future, write yourself a letter. Or, you could write yourself a poem or a song. Perhaps you’d like to do a dance or paint a picture. However, you’d like to share your insights…express your key learning’s to your current self.

If you’re like many people, you may have had different dreams for your life. Perhaps you have worked as an RN, but you’ve always dreamed of becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Maybe you worked in corporate sales, but secretly had a vision of being an entrepreneur. Or after baking for your kids and family, you’ve got some outrageous sourdough recipes that have you thinking about opening a bakery.

Whatever you’ve been dreaming about, ask your future self.

What are they likely to tell you?

Go For It

Your future self, at an advanced age, is likely to tell you one thing, “Go for it!” He or she may encourage you to go to NP school and pursue your dreams. You only have one life and maybe you’d like to spend it delivering babies, helping care for specific populations, or educating nursing students.

If you haven’t been an entrepreneur, but have a great business idea burning a hole in your heart, go for it. You have the full support of your future self. Just ask some folks who are 80, 90, and 100, also known as octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians.

They will tell you the same thing. “Go for it.”

Ask your neighbors, friends, and family. Visit a local elder care facility and talk to people. They may share stories of their lives, career experiments, and adventure travels.

Here are three stories, based on real-life interviews:

Peter*, worked his whole career as a structural engineer. The work led him to Japan, California, and Colorado. At one point, he took a break and opened a wine shop. It didn’t work out the way he planned – but he enjoyed his time tasting, sampling, pouring, and selling fine wines. After his stint at the wine shop, he continued an international career as a structural engineer – with a more refined sense of taste.

Sara* was a struggling RN. She always dreamed of becoming an NP, traveling the country, and seeking out places to go mountain biking. A few years ago, she got her NP license, bought an RV, and hit the road. She currently works between Bellingham Washington and Eugene, Oregon. You might see her on her mountain bike between shifts.

Mandy* worked in corporate sales and was a self-declared workaholic. After giving birth to a baby boy, she decided to embark on a lifelong dream of working for herself.

She got a real estate license, and while getting familiar with the area buying up property. Using her talents in project management, she fixed up two of the properties and now operates them as AirBNBs. She specializes in showing corporate buyers the area while hosting people in her impeccably designed lodgings.

Guess what these 3 people have in common? They have no regrets. They aren’t wondering if they made a mistake. They aren’t second-guessing their decisions. Instead, they are living their lives fully.

Start Now

It’s easy to think that there might be a better time to move in the direction of your dreams. When money isn’t tight. When the kids or grandkids are grown. When you have more time on your hands.

But the truth is, there isn’t a better time than now. Yes, there may be a time when you have more limited resources. Yes, there might be a season when things are calmer or less stressful.

However, you are here now. You have the ability, skills, and strength to pursue your goals. You can start today. With some focus, ingenuity, and persistence you can start today to move in the directions of your dreams.

There’s a classic Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The other best time is now.” If you want success in your future, the best time to start is right now.

* Names changed to protect privacy

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