I have a sneaking suspicion that this “Things-I-Wish-I-Wish-I-Would-Have-Thought-Of” category is going to be growing more quickly than I would like. I guess I should get to thinking a little more proactively or something. Until then… here is yet another very cool thing that I found last year and forgot about until just the other day… when I received a letter I wrote myself exactly one year ago.
That is correct, I wrote a letter to my future self. Or I guess at this point it is more like I got a letter from my old self. Or, no… my younger self? Whatever. It was cool.
As part of a lesson near the Lunar New year last year my students and I were discussing astrology and auspicious omens and such, as you do… and decided to make some of our own predictions and goals for the upcoming year. We talked about Obama being the president… (“No way!”) We considered how the Olympics would go… (“China!” “USA!”) We talked about hings we wanted to do/learn/see/accomplish. We considered the advantages of having the opportunity to know the future ahead of time… would you want to know it? Would you go back in time to change things now? (I had to tell them all about the Marty McFly drama and how altering the past can be – you know – altering. ) We learned about anachronisms. Now, I have to say that writing a list of goals that is out of sight, and hence (in my case) out of mind, may not be the most effective method of goal setting, but as an interesting window into the past, it is still sort of a cool thing to read one year later. I hope to hear from some of my students how they found their own. My letter was kind of a “you better be here or else” tome. A little ambitious, but not too outrageous:
As I write this letter I am sitting in my office at NTK. I am a day away from signing a contract that may keep me in Hong Kong for another three years. We are a week away from Chinese New Year, the year of the Rat, and I am acting all Chinese to get things sorted before then.
By the time I receive this letter I want to have accomplished the following things (and if I have not I deserve all the frustrations that come my way):
a) I should have US$XXXXXX in the bank and my MPF should be HK$XXXXXX (minimum)
b) I should have resolved my relationship with XXXXX, and by this I mean it really should be drastically different or over.
c) I should be looking at a substantial pay raise and housing stipend from Mr. X, that is what he is promising in the contract.
d) I should be moving forward in tangible ways with my writing, somehow, blogging publishing, etc.
In general I am hoping to achieve greater peace and calm in the next year along with a lot more money, but I am starting to think that money is the easy part.
Looking at it one year later and financial crisis aside, I think I have done alright. There seems to be a rather unhealthy obsession with the future… always has been, sort of… from apocalyptic nightmares to fantastic aberrations from our own norms. In some ways the future is what we are raised and sustained on. Is this a good thying? In many ways I think this fascination with what maybe/will be/could be is what has led us into the suburban malaise diagnosed as Affluenza. The future is a tricky concept because to ignore it does seem a bit capricious, while to obsess on it seems more than a little high strung. Where do you find the happy medium? I am not sure if FutureMe.org is the answer, but it certainly is a way to track your progress in a mild kind of way… You know, allowing yourself to be your own Jones with whom to keep up.
Give it a shot… set the date to receive your letter and then when you read it however far down the road you can do with it as you like… and then get back to your current future.
Now that is anachronistic.