Dear Me... Signed, Future-Me | The Sunday Salon

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Sunday 
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This weekend I started reading this delightful book, Sleep is for the Weak, that contains tons of parenting essays written by several bloggers. In one of these essays, blogger Risa Green decides to make a New Year resolution to live life as her 55-year old self would want her to.

Ever since I read that essay, I have been thinking about what a wonderful perspective that is - looking at yourself as your older self would. There have been times I wish I could turn back time - sometimes to relive a certain day and sometimes to do something differently. But dwelling in the past is not very advantageous, unless you are learning something from it. Reminiscing is good but too much of it can make you upset and not live in the present.

But wondering what your older self thinks about you is somewhat inspiring. Twenty years later, the husband and I will be 51. Shreya will be 20 - out of our house and in college. Rue will not be around anymore. Our parents will be in their eighties, if they are still around. At that time, what would I miss most that I now enjoy? What would I tell myself to do more of?

That's a very powerful image. A future that is different and evolved but missing something nevertheless. If I look at my life in phases - childhood, teenage years, early adulthood, middle age, the 'kids out of home' age, and old age - I see the middle age as the richest and the most diverse. I have an established career, a home, an adorable dog, a beautiful baby, and an amazing husband. My parents are not too old and I have an amazing couple of decades to spend with Shreya - grooming her and sharing many of modern life's conveniences with her. But at 51, all these are going to be part of a huge platter of memories to choose from, to reminisce or to relive.

I will be the first to admit that I don't want to be 50 yet. There is so much about the present that I am going to miss. I love my life and I want to live it for long but I also want to do right by my older self. I want to spend more quality time with my parents. I don't see enough of them and it bugs me that we are in different countries, separated by half the planet. The husband and I haven't had a date since Shreya was born, and while I expect that to be the case for the next couple of decades, I want us to remember to find or steal some time to be with each other.

Having Shreya has actually changed me a lot. For one thing, I have been very picky about how I spend my free time. If something isn't giving me pleasure, I don't do it. I have also been particular about leaving work at the office and only dabbling in it at home if it needed to be done before the next workday. I have also been insistent about getting rid of bad habits. If I didn't want my daughter to do something, then I tried not to do it either. My 51 year old self will probably appreciate all these but I know I need to do more. I'd like to travel more and explore other cultures. I want to read, eat, and live deliberately, enjoying every word and morsel rather than 'just doing it'. I also want to spend less time on the iDevice and more time on tangible sources of amusement like board games, physical books, and hands-on experiences.

When I started thinking about how my older self will want me to live, I knew answering it was going to be easy. It's the doing part that is hard. It's too easy to procrastinate, too easy to tell myself that I am tired or that I can deal with this tomorrow or the day after. It's difficult to sit back and do it now, whatever I choose "it" to be. It's not a lot to ask for. My life isn't going to change. It's just trying to slow down and live in the moment that is challenging, especially when the world around you zips by. Remembering to appreciate all the moments I spend with my family is hard when so much is happening and exhaustion levels are high. But I should try. I know I will be thankful later.

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