He had a track meet on Tuesday night and ran the 3200m race, then he had what he felt was his most difficult workout/practice on Wednesday, followed by another grueling practice on Thursday. The meet was on Friday. His goal was to run the 1600m race in 4 minutes 30 seconds, but his legs were toast. He knew it before the race even started. During the race his legs were on fire. He ran the race in 4 minutes 46 seconds falling short of his desired time (Have you tried running a mile in under 10 minutes? No gosh darn way that is ever happening!!!). Okay, I digress...
Coach is looking long-term. He wants the team to peak at the end of the season, so the guys are ready for Regionals, Sectionals and State. He's working them hard realizing that they won't necessarily be able to run their fastest at the Friday night meet at the end of the week. The plan being that they are conditioning their body for the longer term end of season goal of being an even better and faster runner. This is hard, the kids want to be able to give it their max each race, but it's also a life lesson right?
We often plant seeds in a garden, tend to it, water it, pull weeds in hopes of an abundant harvest come later in the summer. We study hard in school in desire of earning a degree. We work hard in relationships for the long-term satisfaction of being connected and loved. We exercise, eat healthy, meditate, forgive, etc. We do all of these things to benefit our "future self".
I want to share with you a post by Elizabeth Gilbert that I love. In it, she describes this concept of your future self and doing things for your future self. I think you will enjoy it. Here it is:
Whenever my family used to go on a trip, the last thing my mother would do before she walked out the door was to make her bed nicely, with clean sheets and everything. When I asked her once why she went through all that trouble to make a bed that she wasn’t going to sleep in all week, she said, “It’s a present that I give to my future self, because I know she’ll appreciate that, when she gets back home.”
I think this was the first time I grasped the idea of having a “future self” who is different from the person I was at the moment.
It was something about my mother calling her future self “she” - not “I”…an awareness that this future self was a totally separate being. And it was definitely the first time I considered that you could be NICE to your future self - doing her favors, leaving her treats, making the bed for her…
We are often told to be kind to ourselves, but it takes a special sort of awareness to be kind to our FUTURE selves. Maybe that’s who we are really talking about, when we say that we should be kind to ourselves. Because your poor, innocent, sweet future self is the person who will have to cope with whatever choices you make right now. (As evidence by the mess I had to clean up around the age of 30, from so many reckless decisions I made in my 20s.)
I don’t want to be mean to my future self anymore. I don’t want her to have to deal with illnesses and struggles and catastrophes that my current self sets into motion. (I also don’t want her to have to face the sorrows of gum disease, which is the ONLY reason I ever floss my damn teeth. Every night, bored at the sink, flossing away, I’m like, “This one’s for you, future Liz!”) When I’m doing preparation to write a new novel (like I am now), it’s such a drag to get myself moving on the boring tasks of compiling research…but as I sit there at my desk, reading dull books, filling out index card after index card of notes I say, again, “This one’s for you, future Liz!” And it totally pays off. For instance, when it came time to write The Signature of All Things, I had six boxes of index cards filled with notes and research to draw upon in creating my novel. It was so useful! Like some kind of magical elf had helped me so much! I started laughing one day at my desk, as I heard myself say aloud, “Hey, thanks, past Liz!”
And past Liz sent future Liz a friendly salute across time…and it was a curiously lovely sensation.
When all your selves - your past self, your present self, and your future self - can make friends with each other and be kind to each other, life somehow seems less fraught with suffering and anguish.
So what can you do today for your future self?
Something as small as making her bed for her?
Something as big as saving some money for her?
Something as totally life-transforming as quitting smoking for her, or getting out of a toxic relationship for her?
Whatever it is - big or small - do your future self a kindness today. You are all she has.
I love that! What will you do for your future self this week? Will you help to make yourself healthy and strong? Will you leave yourself a love note? Will you be brave and set off on a new path? Big or small, let's all do something for our future selves this week. I would love to hear what you decide to do!