Future Me: I was out in the garden when you called. What’s up?
Present Me: There’s this writing exercise that I was supposed to do last week but didn’t. I’m on day three of vacation and had some time to talk to you.
Future Me: Really? Cool! What’s it about?
Present Me: It’s a ten-minute conversation. About where you are in your life and how you got there.
Future Me: I’m game.
Present Me: So, how old are you?
Future Me: 55, and you?
Present Me: 40.
Future Me: Oooh, I loved being that age. Did you notice a shift? Something with time, and how you experienced it.
Present Me: I think? (Laughs)
Future Me: (Laughs) I have 15 years on you, so I suppose it’s easier for me to identify.
Present Me: I’m curious about something. Did you publish the book we are writing?
Future Me: I did! And it felt beautiful to complete it, and to see it living and breathing in the world. I know you’d love to hear if it was successful or not, but I can’t tell you that. Your idea of success now will be different from what it is later.
Present Me: What’s it like; to be you at 55 and in the world?
Future Me: Oh, Jaclynn. It’s wonderful. I know you have a lot of fears about aging and losing the people you love. And I’m not going to lie to you; those things do occur and their hard. But from my perspective, having lived through them and knowing what’s on the side, although painful, these experiences push and call you to become more. They unshackle you from your attachment to the fears.
Future Me: Do you remember when you were eight years old and left a wounded bird atop a soft towel in a shoe box, and how badly you prayed it would live?
Present Me: Of course I do.
Future Me: And how after it died tears fell on a page in your diary, and you circled them, and then drew an arrow with the word “Tears.”
Present Me: (Chuckles) Yes.
Future Me: You learned about grief, as well as how to capture and honor it that day didn’t you.
Present Me: Yeah, and later reading memories at my Mom’s and Grandpa’s funeral was cathartic and felt meaningful to share them with others.
Future Me. Exactly. Writing is a tool, a salve, and a safe harbor. Keep it up because you’re going to do great.
Present Me: Thanks.