A Letter To Myself 30 Years From Now

by Mike Shea on 21 April 2014

Who says time travel isn't possible? I can listen to George Orwell, Mark Twain, or my father any time I want as long as I'm able to read. Today I'm going to engage in a bit of time travel myself and maybe you'll decide to do the same. What do you want to tell the 30-year-older you? What sage-like advice do you want to give yourself of the future? Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and conduct your own little bit of time travel.

To be read on 21 April 2044

Dear Mike,

Hey! You're not dead! Based on family history I didn't give you much of a shot after 2033. I hope you've been spending every day well since then (and even before it!).

I imagine a lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same. Mobile tech (Apple iPhones really) and wireless internet connectivity still constitutes the biggest tech advances right now, although VR may finally be coming thanks to the Oculus Rift.

I don't expect biotech has made any huge improvements. I doubt you have electronic shit wired directly to your brain. Still, I bet you have some pretty neat toys on the assumption there wasn't some sort of global, societal, economic, or environmental catastrophe over the past (next) 30 years.

It's hard to give advice to a future self. You're hopefully a lot wiser than I am right now. Still, maybe I can give you a few things to remember.

Focus on the small pleasures. I know your stupid body is breaking down on you. It's already starting to break down on me. Don't become your ailments. Create, relax, love, and befriend every day in whatever small way you can. Pain and frustration may get the better of you, don't let it color your relationships and the joys you can find in small things.

Accept help. You're getting older. Your hearing probably sucks. You might have a harder time getting around. Don't be stubborn about it. Everyone (hopefully) gets old. Now is about the time you might have to start relying on people more than you're used to. Accept it. Get a hearing aid. Move to a flatter house. You're not 30 anymore. You're mountain climbing and jiujitsu days are over, old buddy.

Regret nothing. As the zen monks would say, life worked out exactly as it was supposed to. What happened happened. The choices you made have manifested. You can't change them. How you approach the rest of the day today and tomorrow is all that matters.

Remember and recreate your wonderful life. You've had a hell of a good life through age 41. I'm hoping that continued for the past 30 years but I'm betting you had some rocky times between 2014 and 2044. Remember how great a time you had. Remember how much you loved and were loved. Remember the joy you found with your friends. Give them a call (or use whatever tech now represents communication in your crazy Blade Runner / Snow Crash future). Remember how much joy you found in making things that brought joy to others. Focus on that and repeat it every day. Relax. Quit worrying all the time. You've made it this far. The future will roll out as it does for everyone. You're not so goddamn special that it will roll out differently for you.

Give Michelle a big kiss for me. Tell her we love her. I'm hoping I don't have to remind you—I'm hoping we've done that every day for the past ten thousand nine hundred days. You're goddamn lucky to have her in every moment she's in your life.

Finally, if you're able to read this, maybe it's time to sit down and write another letter to the you of 2074. We might be in a glass jar in the center of a giant mechanical spider by then but we probably have some good advice for the 100 year old Mike Shea.

Take care old pal. Step by step walk the thousand mile road.