I am now 25 years old and in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I spent a lot of time thinking about that Vitamin C lyric "...so we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we're gonna be when we turn 25..." That song feels like the song of our youth in some senses. Even after the song's release in 1999, I still find it is the quintessential Graduation day song. I've met young people (I feel so old saying that) who don't know who the Olsen twins are but know this song. Seems out of order but I digress. I also kept thinking how I would no longer apply to the coveted 18-24 age demographic. But then I just got a Platinum Amex and in my head, that cancels this out.
I've been thinking about "next steps" a lot lately. At work, I'm the person who dictates next steps, who, what, when, etc. There, because there is always some concrete point we are working towards, it's easy to work backwards to decide what to do next to get us there. But in my personal life, since I am the ultimate dictator of next steps, it's much harder. For one, it's very hard to look into the future and try to decide what it is you want it to look like. As my future self is still in progress, I cannot rely on her to tell me what it is she wants. My current self is also in flux, depending on the day, level of hunger/fatigue, and phase of the moon. I am a Cancer after all. My past self has proven somewhat unreliable. She is to thank for getting me to where I am now but she has faded along with the parts of me that no longer apply. All of this is made more complicate by the fact that unlike at work, I personally do not have a concrete point I am working towards.
I've had this TED Talk bookmarked for months now and finally got around to watching. It's called You Are Always Changing Harvard Psychologist Dan Gilbert talks about the idea of the future self and patterns of change over our lifetime. When you're 18, you think the best friend you have then will continue to be the best friend you have over the next decade. You'd pay $129 (on average) to see your favorite band in 10 years assuming they will still be your favorite band. The mistake we're making here is assuming that because we cannot see into the future at our future selves, they must be the same as who we are now. We accept there will be some degree of change but not that we could be dynamically different people. People marry and then divorce. They get tattoos they pay to erase. We give away clothes we used to love, change our hairstyles, and forget the street address of our childhood home. Dr. Gilbert mainly attributes our underestimation of change to our future selves as our inability to imagine our future selves but I'd like to admit it's also in part due to fear. It's uncomfortable to think the things we love won't be things our future selves will love. It's a strange sense of betrayal you feel from your own self now that you know your future self will find normal. I suppose these things are necessary as they are the catalysts for growth, which now that I'm thinking through all this, sounds like a euphemism for change that we embrace while shunning the idea of change.
All of this is to say that I am vaguely putting together the b o n e s of my future now. I'm attempting to make decisions I think will take me to places I want to be, with people I want to have in my life, and ultimately, create my own happiness. This is what it is to build a life for yourself and it is a lifelong journey we are all tasked with. I have no idea how much progress I've made in that journey or how close or far I am from where I should be but the best thing I have going for myself is that I question it everyday and I'm open to change. That's the only thing that will remain constant about me.