I recently had a tea with a friend who is going through something of a life transformation. You know, where you're stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and feeling like the world is full of exciting opportunities and experiences.
When we came around to my update, I commented that I'm kind of the opposite right now. The only things I consistently want to do are spend time with friends, go to bed on time, and sing my heart out to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. When I make plans to do some "cool" thing, I always wind up wishing I wasn't committed to it when the time rolls around.
He said that we do these things (go out and have enriching experiences) for our future selves.
He is right that sometimes, when we make ourselves do a thing, our future selves are unendingly grateful. Other times, however, we just wish we had listened to our instincts and stayed away.
Do they want wild stories of wild (drunken?) adventures and (sexual?) escapades? Quiet games nights with a few buds?
Do they want to look back on regular, consistent sleep because that allowed us to better engage during the day, or one where we said yes to 11:30pm invitations to concerts and parties and cake-eating, because who knows where they will lead?
Do they want to reap the rewards of steady, sensible income and savings, or have the memories of spontaneous adventures without worry for how we were going to pay for things in the future?
Do they want to be enriched by going out and seeing all the artsy things, or by staying in and reading all the insightful books?
I've been where my friend is now. It's an awakening. It's invigorating and exciting. It feels like the epitome of living life to the fullest, sucking the marrow out of every moment, #YOLO, and no half-measures.
It's also a lot. The way I did it, it left me so busy that I didn't feel like I was forming memories anymore. There was no buffer to appreciate the past or anticipate the future. More than once, I wondered if my life was actually passing me by--not because I was letting it waste away, but because it was moving at such an incredible blur that I had no idea what was even happening.
Of course, now I sometimes wonder if my life is passing me by because I keep bailing on it in favour of sleep, cat cuddles, and books.
It's almost as if I am bumping back and forth between extremes, and perhaps there is some kind of middle ground in there where life can be embraced without becoming a martyr to the Carpe Diem gods.
Here's one thing I can say with some certainty: I don't think my future self will be all that grateful that I spent so much time analyzing what it may or may not want from me. So maybe I could stop now.
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