A letter to my past, present and future

If only time travel were truly a thing, I wouldn’t need to write this post.

I’m a big fan of journaling and been doing it for quite some time now. We have come a long way in this regard. From the times of writing thoughts and feelings and experiences down in personal diary, we now have various apps and portals that help journaling. Old fashioned way – do the journaling in a personal diary. New way – get an app, pay for subscription, and have your notes available on all your mobile devices. I like to keep things simple, for the most parts, so my journaling is handwritten letter on paper, scan that and keep a soft copy on my personal laptop. Hey, I love writing! Point is, go with what works for you the best.

Very recently, I read a post on Tim Ferriss’ blog here that talked about a dialogue with the three version of yourself – past, present and future. (We now live in a world full of disclaimers so here goes mine. Disclaimer: I do not know Tim personally and follow his posts socially only.) Although the post is now several months old at the time of this writing, it is still relevant no matter when you read it. On similar lines to the article, I’ve thought about this several times over the last few years on what I would communicate to my past, to my future and although I keep calming my inner being, what would I say to myself.

Let me give you a context. Very often, my wife and I have these random discussions about past and would I have done things differently if I were to start all over again. And almost always, my response has always been the same – “Nope, I’m glad of whatever transpired, whenever they happened, in whichever shape or form that they did, and that I’ve made my peace with my past. No regrets. No guilt. Of course I have made mistakes, in some occasions, they have been blunders but whatever happened, taught me something new. Each experience had a lesson for me, which has shaped me to a being now.” To this my wife response and expression usually is in the range of rolling her eyes or smiling.

One of the outcomes of me writing a letter to the three versions of myself taught me something very important. It made me recognize myself. It is not any less than a profound experience. I would strongly urge you to do this exercise. You will be surprised at what you discover within. And if you do decide to do so, let me help you. Here is what I covered in the three letters.

To my past
I remember how crazy those times were when we saw sudden burst of technology related progress and for youth in the places we resided at, career options boiled down to two. Either a Doctor or an Engineer. Well, I chose engineering. With the popularity of romantic movies, love ballads / music, it was no surprise that I had some failed attempts too. I have gone through a phase of monumentalizing unrequited love. Hey, you laugh at me, but may be you have gone through this too. There were also times when someone did so well financially, someone was so rich, someone who was driving a car, someone who had already bought a house, someone who got promotions on and on and on and on. In my letter to my past, I told the young me that it all worked out. I told him that yes, he screwed up, way more than he would have thought, but he also made up, way more than he thought he would. I told him to go slow on junk food and get some mileage on the sneakers and be fit. And oh, not to swipe that card so often.
To my present
Writing this one felt quite weird, but I had to go through it nevertheless. At the end, this felt quite relieving and at the same time assuring. We are dealing with the Covid19 pandemic, there are floods everywhere, and in some places forest fires too. War for natural resources, war for data, wars everywhere, in every shape and form. Religious and political fanatism, loyalties questioned and well you get the gist of it. Millions of lives getting displaced everywhere. So in my letter, I wrote about the way pandemic changed me as an individual, gave me time to think about priorities, my choices and my actions. I emphasized on my fitness journey and how it has benefited me. I also wrote about some of the financial decisions were made to improve my financial posture in the future. And oh, upskilling. I wrote to myself on this and urged to continue to do so. Get those certifications done, learn something new, be relevant. Most importantly, continue to be kind and empathetic and no matter, never be rude.
To my future

Have robots taken over? Was the movie Terminator really a prophecy come true? Are humans now slave of machines? What is going on?

Well, those were just some of the questions I asked to my future self. I told him the changes I’m making in my life now to maneuver my life in a direction that would make me proud and happy. I asked him how I was as a parent, how my children were? How is my wife? Were they happy? I asked him about my best friends and how they were doing in their lives and if I had made any impact in theirs? And oh, forget about six but did I get atleast one ab? Have I successfully gotten rid of the love handles? They are so hard to get rid off. How’s my website doing? Has my daily visitor count spiked? Am I making a difference in lives of people through my articles? What can I do more to improve myself? You know, just those curious questions to figure out how future shaped up hoping I’ve made the right choices, and just closing with a small prayer hoping it all continues to work out.

Sometimes we as individuals need to do these kinds of exercise to awaken ourselves, realize what is important, appreciate what we have and work towards our achievements. If you have not done so, I urge you to do so. But then again, if only time travel were a thing, we wouldn’t need to do this.

What are some of the things that you would like to tell your past, present and future? How would you assure your past younger self and also future you? Take a moment and comment below. I’m looking forward to seeing your responses.

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