My future self and me
"I've got a great idea!" I thought to myself as I shoved my dirty clothes into the washing machine.
"I'm going to empty the dryer know since I now I'll be putting some of these clothes into it later. I'll clear the lint filter, empty the water tray and throw in one of those little paper sheets that makes it all smell nice."
I won't be winning any Nobel prizes for that idea, but there's an important point in there somewhere. In doing that little bit of extra work up front I was saving my future self from having to do it. I was doing a bit of work anyway in putting my clothes in the wash, so why not do a little more while I was at it?
"There, done!" I said to myself with an undeserved sense of smug satisfaction. "My future self is going to be so glad that that's done."
And I was. When I came back a couple of hours later, after the wash cycle had finished, the clothes were ready to go in the dryer. All I had to do was throw the wet clothes in and hit the on button. I paused for a moment, glad that my past self had done me that favor. Thanks Kev.
On this occasion past Kev had sorted me out, but he's not always like that.
That guy can be a real dick
Sometimes I'm not sure I'd even want my past self as a Facebook friend. Every now and then he'll eat a load of shitty food and make me feel bloated and sick. He'll say stupid things from time to time and leave me to deal with consequences. Occasionally he'll go out and get drunk and leave me to deal with the hangover. Other times he's just lazy and doesn't do the things that he knows he should have done and leaves me to deal with that feeling of regret.
Like I said, he's a dick. Sometimes...
Sometimes he's pretty cool. He makes good decisions that leave me with a feeling of fulfillment. He can be nice to people and work hard. Some of the time I can look back on what he has done and feel proud.
He's just like anyone else really, but I know what's going on inside his head so I get to be more critical. I know his thoughts and motivations, so my judgement of him can be that bit more precise. I have a lot more information about him so I get to dwell on the stuff he does for longer, really pick it apart and hold him accountable for his actions.
There's not much I can do about him though, he lives in the past. He's hiding out back there like a coward and I'm here dealing with the consequences of his actions. To be fair though, I do have it a bit easier than him, I've got all of the experiences that he didn't have. I can learn from him and do better by my future self. I can make it so that guy looks back at me and thinks 'He was pretty cool!'
Or at least I can try. I'll probably mess it up from time to time, but I'm not trying to screw him over. I'm sure he'll understand. It's complicated, there and emotions and circumstances to consider. He'll get that, he'll be cool about it and he'll thank me.