Apologies in advance if you arrived here in search of the fountain of youth. I’m not here to sell snake oil or beauty creams. At some point, I will blog about the benefits of a plant-based diet, intermittent fasting, quality sleep and exercise, but not yet.
This post is about two powerful questions, the answers to which could change your life and the lives of your nearest and dearest. But rather than jump straight into the questions themselves, let me set the scene.
No Flux Capacitor Required (just an imagination…or some alcohol)
Time travel suddenly becomes possible – but only to the past I’m afraid. The other issue is, you can only send small inanimate objects back. Oh, and did I mention, only as far back as ten years. The science behind it all just gets too messy if you go back any further!
Now if you thought Royal Mail was expensive, you should see the cost of sending anything bigger than a postcard! Astronomical! Completely unaffordable – unless you’re Jeff Bezos. So that’s where we’re at.
A postcard. A pen. A portal to the past. A potentially life-improving exercise.
What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?
I really do want to read your answers to this question – especially if you’re older than me (unlikely) or wiser (highly probable) – that is, if you’re brave enough to share them in the comments.
I can only write about what I would tell my twenty-nine year old self, and after watching The Butterfly Effect again recently, I would be very wary about sharing too much with him. Will changing the past make things worse?
Well let’s just assume that in our hypothetical scenario, we can advise ourselves to stop any bad habits or tendencies – or to take some smarter actions – without any negative impact on what’s going well right now.
For instance, if I were to write on my postcard, “stop drinking alcohol”, I can imagine the ten years worth of the benefits I would have experienced from having made that decision, without the fear of my son never having been born. Just kidding. Hmmm.
So what would I tell me?
What do I wish at thirty-nine years old, I had been told at twenty-nine or earlier?
Think less, read and write more – when I’m following this advice I am definitely more productive and have fewer sleep problems (insomnia). But reading and writing are so energy intensive sometimes, and thinking – even the same, repetitive, negative thoughts, seems to be my default. Paralysis by analysis, my biggest flaw. Maybe if I had taken this advice more seriously ten years ago, I would have finished my novel already? Nah.
Quit the sugar – I know it’s not the most expensive or lethal white powder out there, but it’s definitely not doing me any favours. I am a sugar addict. I can take or leave meat and alcohol, abstinence is not hard, but going without an evening sugary treat actually depresses me. My evening meal is not complete without dessert – I will literally go to bed feeling hard done by. And moderation is not something I do well. Intermittent fasting has helped, with my eating cut-off time being 18:00 – but you should see the binge eating feeding frenzy I’m in at 17:59. Not pretty. My abs will retain their “hide and seek” title for as long as this habit continues.
Quit the screens – I go from my phone, to my laptop, to my phone, to the TV and back again, all day, every day. I had four channels and a VHS player as a kid in the 1980s, so a lack of portability limited my screen time. No such ceiling these days. I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone in January – and lasted six weeks – and that definitely helped a bit. But when all of this Covid-19 business kicked off, FOMO took over. Apps were downloaded, my YouTube channel surfing went through the roof (Dr John Campbell and Sky New Live in particular), and I felt the sudden urge to start another blog (giving me the perfect excuse). I can always justify my next screen fix, “but I’m cycling simultaneously,” or “but it’s research for my novel.” Lockdown is hardly conducive to kicking this habit, but when I get out, oh, when I get out…
Quit buying stuff – Just before this lockdown, when the charity shops were still open, I had a clear out and donated three large black bags of “stuff”. Clothes, books, DVDs, pointless gizmos I would never have used and yet, I did not return empty handed. Three second hand books accompanied me and took their place on my bookshelf…probably to gather dust, until my next charity shop trip. The books only cost £1, but when I started to think about what the contents of those three black bags had cost me, brand new, I sighed. Stuff and lottery tickets, such a waste. Think of all the money I could have saved to invest! Invest in what? Well, I’m no FTSE expert but if I had been doing that for the last ten years I’d probably be feeling a bit down at the moment. Given the option, I would probably invest in an office/pain cave – this would be in the hope of producing 50,000 words than rather than re-enacting fifty shades (see below):
Now for some homework.
Take another postcard. Date this one, ten years hence (2030, for the non-Dickensian amongst you). Imagine this is decade-older you. What advice is this older, wiser you going to have? What pieces of advice do you want to give yourself to live by? What can you start, or stop, right now that will make it more likely you end up where you want to be in ten years?
Quit, or at least spend less time on gaming or social media?
Read more books, watch less news?
Hug more – once we’re allowed again – and criticise less?
Save more, spend less?
Listen more, talk less?
Play more, stress less?
Looking forward to your answers – share the wisdom peeps!
Blog post 5 of 10 written and published! Wooo we’re half way there….!!!
Views are sky-rocketing (worldwide) but I’m short on likes, shares, comments and subscriptions so far. Your contributions are all appreciated.
Still learning my chops, so bear with me – but it feels good to engage my mind on a daily basis and try to put my brain farts in some sort of logical, if not literary, order.
Take care out there – get back inside, unless you were out for exercise or essentials. Check in tomorrow.