Do Your Future Self This Favor

At some point you will look back at this moment in your kids’ lives with the misty wistfulness of nostalgia. It doesn’t matter what the future holds for them, or which paths they take, you will look back at this time with a sense of longing.

It’s just a fact. Because they’ll never be two again. Or twelve. Or twenty five. You only get so many bedtimes, so many baths, so many drives to school, so many vacations, so many evenings on the couch, so many times in the garage trying to fix something they asked for your help with. And again, that’s assuming everything goes well. 

But what if there is a tragedy? What if there is a mistake that can’t be undone? What if you lose them early? Or they lose you early? In the end, we will all wish we could go back in time. Well, that can’t happen. But there is a way, as Adam Rubin explained on the Daily Stoic podcast, that we can travel to the future, or at least speak to the future. 

We can, by the choices we make today, tell our future selves that we did everything we could. That we soaked it in. That we didn’t rush through it. That we told them what they meant to us. 

Reflecting on the loss of her son, Frances Gunther said that she “wished she’d loved him more.” But when you read Death Be Not Proud, the memoir of that family’s loss, you can also see that wasn’t actually possible. If there was any silver lining to be found around the black cloud of loss, it was that they have loved and lived with their child as much as was humanly possible. And while it may just have been a sliver of comfort as they mourned him, that sliver undoubtedly grew to become a part of them as the years passed, fusing with their memories of their beautiful boy.

Do your future self the favor of a lifetime. Don’t take this moment for granted. Don’t let your temper rule. Don’t be stubborn. Don’t value the wrong things. Love now, while you can. Soak in the moment while you can. Don’t rush away from it while it’s still here.

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