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Letter to my Future Self

10 years ago, I wrote a series of letters in an attempt to make sense of my life at a time of crisis and uncertainty. One of them was a letter to my future self.

Now I am close to 60, it's interesting to see how far I have come. I have actually been gradually morphing into that person she describes, but I feel my 60s will be my best decade yet!

And yes, George Clooney is still hot! What would you write to your future self?

LETTER TO MY FUTURE SELF

Hey Jo!

How does 60 look? Or 2021 for that matter! Is there still a Eurozone? Has the global economy settled? Is George Clooney still hot?

Obviously, I can’t know what has happened to you in the ten years after I write this, but using now as a starting point, I’m going to make what I hope is an educated guess and project into the future. I’m hoping that you no longer sit and write blogs like this at 3am because your brain is so busy it won’t let you stay asleep. Ergo you’re not exhausted a lot of the time – all that exercise and stretching and healthy eating has paid off and you’re fitter and lighter on your feet than you ever were in your 30s and 40s, and full of health and energy.

You’ve learned to pace yourself, of course, and to listen to your body. You take the rest you need and embrace it as you embrace everything in your life now. It wasn’t until you were in your late 40s that you were able to walk into a room and have the expectation that you’re welcome there. That was a huge breakthrough, having spent much of your life until then feeling as if you were in the way.

Now that you’re 60, you’ve moved on a level and don’t actually give a shit – in the nicest possible way, people can take you or leave you. How liberating is that?

I can’t imagine that you’ve lost your love of connecting with people though, and you’ll have found a way to be of service without compromising yourself and your own needs. I imagine it includes photography and writing, because you’ve no thoughts of retiring yet, have you? Maybe you’re able to be selective about the assignments you undertake, but so long as there are stories out there to be told that interest and excite you, why would you stop?

Besides, after a dozen or more years of practice, I guess you’re pretty good now, aren’t you? A few exhibitions under your belt, healthy sales securing a residual income for your retirement, when it comes? Oh good – that is a relief from my perspective here!

Tell me – you didn’t need to expend so much worry on those you love, did you? They all turned out ok, didn’t they? You’ve been there when they’ve needed you, of course. But once you realised that the greatest gift you could give your children was the knowledge that you loved and trusted them enough to work things out for themselves, that freed you to put all that mis-directed energy into your passions, paving the way for the most creative and productive decade of your life so far.

How does it feel, to have shed that cloak of constant anxiety? I can see how much lighter you are, and not just physically. I’m so proud of you for stepping into the light!

You always knew that things can change in the blink of an eye, that all you had to do was let go…and breathe! So simple, yet so hard to accomplish when all around you is chaos. The more you “tried” to let go, the tighter you clung on… ironic, isn’t it? That we “strive” to relax?

Yet now I can see you are breathing easily. Still the fulcrum of your family, but no longer the anxious, neurotic matriarch. Surrounded by your children and grandchildren, happy still with husband of our heart, fulfilled in your work now that you can let your creativity have full reign – there’s not so big a leap between you and me, is there?

Ten years – so much living to be done between where I am now and where you are. I can see from your face that, looking back at me you trust me to take the right path. So I’m going to start breathing – now, today. I’m going to let go of all that anxiety and fear that weighs me down. Because, looking at you, I can see that I have no use for it, it serves no purpose except to hold me back.

Right – I’m going back to bed now. It’s 4.30am and I need my sleep. There’s nothing to keep me awake now I’ve met you/me ten years from now – I KNOW that everything and everyone is going to be just fine: including me!

 

Excerpt from "Oh Crap - I'm 50! A Journey from Fearful to Fabulous (Sometimes)" 

Available on Amazon and on this website as a pdf download.

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