Do you ever feel sorry for ‘Future Me’?

Many of us are fascinated by the idea of manipulating time and space in order to create opportunities for a ‘do over’. We love to explore how life might have turned out if we’d chosen a different path. It’s why movies like Back To The Future and the Time Traveller’s Wife are so popular, along with mind-bending ideas like the ‘butterfly effect’.

We love the concept of having a ‘reset’ button — of being able to start fresh, without botching things up, or being able to handle things better a second time around, with the benefit of wisdom and hindsight.

Our minds play tricks on us, as we imagine how things might have turned out had we been a more capable, experienced version of ourselves. And when we imagine the future, it’s always with the assumption that our ‘best self’ will show up there. In our daydreams, we’re usually at our healthiest and most productive, organised and confident when handling our future challenges.

We come to our senses, and understand that life isn’t like this. We can’t change the past, and most of us wouldn’t want to, because we worry we’d mess up the good stuff. What’s bizarre is how we romanticise the notion of having a ‘fresh page’ in our lives, as if this is not actually possible, when actually it is. We DO have a fresh page, each day.

We can’t start completely from scratch.

We are in the situations we’re in at work and at home. We have responsibilities and can’t just walk away. (Well, we could walk away, but probably wouldn’t!)

But if we wanted a career change, we could chase it.

If we wanted to end a miserable relationship, we could do that.

If we wanted to downsize our homes, sell most of our possessions and travel, we could.

We could sell up and move to the other side of the world, with a bit of planning.

Whenever we imagine things like this, a cautious voice often pops up, warning us.

You’d have to drop your standard of living.

You’re used to that salary.

What would people think?

What about the kids?

And yet most of us know someone who has done the very thing we imagine we can’t do. Moved overseas with kids. Downsized to a smaller house. Changed schools and travelled. Had a wild career change and started at the bottom again without the sky falling in.

Sometimes our dreams aren’t even that wild. We want to do a resin art class some time. We want to try suspended yoga. Sometimes the things that would spice up our lives are easily within our reach, yet we still don’t take up the opportunities we have, while they’re there.

For the bucket list to work, you need a second list (and it rhymes with the first but our parents read these newsletters so you’ll have to fill in the blanks). 😉 It’s a list of the things to stop, so you can make room for the life-enhancing gold.

We don’t need a DeLorean or a magic wand or a parallel universe to make life work better for us. It’s not about changing the past or willing a perfect future.

Our best selves are not going to magically fix things for us down the track. It’s going to be our ‘everyday’ selves who will make things happen. We’ll be contending with the usual array of chaos, tripping up, making mistakes and either grasping opportunities or letting them go, just as we do now.

Perhaps some dreams are to be chased here, now. Perhaps it’s time to stop passing the buck to ‘future me’…

There are ways to increase the likelihood of delivering on your bucket list, and that’s one of the topics we’ll be covering at our Adelaide workshop, ‘Who do you want to be when you grow up’, on 20 June. Registrations are open now.


About The Author

Emma Grey & Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas and Emma Grey are productivity experts, authors of 'I Don't Have Time' and its forthcoming sequel 'I Can't Be Bothered', and co-founders of the popular online program, My 15 Minutes. They help busy women reclaim their time and energy around the real-life challenges of modern life.

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