On Saturday I sat at Old Town Cafe (truly one of the best breakfast spots in Bham - but this is beside the point), with one of my best friends. We chattered on about our plans for the present and future, when he suddenly stopped me and asked:
"Who is more important, your current self or your future self?"
I responded with, "Both!"
When he looked at me with his head cocked sideways and his eyebrow raised, I explained...
"By caring for myself now, I care for myself in the future! If I miss out on my present opportunities I'll just foster regret and resentment."
He wasn't convinced. But I am!
It's all too common for women in our society specifically, to live for their future selves. It's so easy to caught up everything we were taught as children, through Disney movies, chapter books, and even the people surrounding us.
The stories we were told as little girls teach us to focus on our future: a partner, children, and a happy home. So this is what we focus on. This is what we fear we will miss out on if we don't settle down, stay with the person we are dating, work a stable job, monitor our fertility, etc.
After all, if we don't make these responsible choices in the present moment, how will we ever have the future we have been taught to desire?
I personally let those taught-fears become my own for many years! I clung tightly to the ideals of marriage and a family equalling happiness. I told myself, 26 that's when I want to have my first baby, so that means married at 25, and so the vicious cycle spun.
But now at 23 (damn 3 years away from having babies in my 18 year old mind), I'm more afraid of missing out on the years of my life where I truly get to live for myself.
My present self can do whatever I damn well please. Travel. Build my female friendships. Dance my butt off. Summit Mountains. Eat crazy food! Learn a new language. Explore everything little thing that sets my soul on fire.
If I were to choose my future self for the rest of my life, I would never really know myself. I would never understand what I truly desired. Where I was meant to be. Or what I was meant to do.
I choose my present self so that I can choose BOTH! By taking care of myself now I walk into my future filled with self-awareness, joy and probably a few sun spots from all my time outdoors. Nevertheless, knowing that I don't regret a god damn thing! Moreover, I walk into my future, knowing that I have created it, rather than walked into a picture that was painted for me long ago!
So, stop choosing your future self, and choose yourself right now! By doing so, rest easy knowing you're choosing both!