[Warning: If you are interested in a calm, comfortable life, this blog will be counterproductive for you.]

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What would you do differently if you were 18 years old again, but knew all you do now?

Last night, I dreamt that I "woke up" and I was 18 years old again, back in the middle of my senior year of high school. But I remembered everything that happened in my life from then until now. It was like I had traveled back in time, but I was in my high school body.

It was an unusually long and vivid dream, full of rich details. I saw clothing styles I'd forgotten about. I saw people I hadn't thought of in years and years. I distinctly remember having a hard time not laughing at the music being played. Everyone thought it was so cool, but it felt pretty cheesy to me, with my future-knowledge of how music would progress.

But though everyone else was the same, I remembered all I'd done and learned in the nearly twenty years since I was in high school. And my mind was racing with all the things I could do differently, that I could do better. I thought of investments I could make that could set me up for life financially. I thought of people I wanted to seek out and befriend, knowing how important they were going to be to me eventually (like my wife). And I thought of projects I could start, like my books and even organizations I could start. I even thought about how I ate back then and how much healthier I could be if I started seriously caring for my body while it was in still in top shape, rather than playing catch up like I am now.

I then actually woke up, in the present day, with my wife and kids still asleep, my heart pounding with excitement and wonder. Such a rich, realistic dream! And in that loaded moment I felt God whisper to my heart, "What if you had lived another twenty years, into your late fifties, and had just woken up now? What lessons would you from your future self wish you could apply today? What would he tell you to do differently?"

Almost immediately, I imagined three things I would do differently:

  • I'd stop making poor late night eating decisions. I tend to be very healthy all day long, and then break down around 9-10pm and have unhealthy desserts. Not every day at all, but far too many days.
  • I'd be more creative on how I engage with my young children. This season of life is going to pass quickly and it's too easy to go with the flow and just bum around the house or yard with them. There are stories and games and projects we could do that would make our time much richer.
  • I'd discipline myself to write more regularly. In the busyness of life, I have taken a bonus, might-not-get-to-it approach. I can't write every day, with my current constraints. But I can write more than I have been.

What do you imagine the wiser you from your future would say to you? What if we took that "advice" and made a huge leap how wisely we lived right now? Why wait twenty years?

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