Back To The Future – My Version

I received an email last week, with the subject: happiness. When I read it, I was stumped. It was from a site called FutureMe, and was in fact from myself. I had forgotten all about it. This site lets you send an email to your future self, and you can set the date when you want it to be sent. It was spooky, to say the least, to get an email from the past, a mini “back-to-the-future” experience, especially since I had no memory of doing this, and I do have a pretty good memory.

So there was no Doc, no fancy time machine, no big clock that allowed me to set a date, no lightning. But it was pretty significant all the same.

This email was from last week, three years ago, and was a message I sent to myself. I won’t reproduce the message here, because it is private. But essentially it was about what I was going through then, and wondering if I would have found the answers, by the time I read this email, three years hence. There were a lot of hopes I mentioned in it as well. As I read it, I knew that while I hadn’t found the answers to a few things, the questions had changed! The things I was most concerned about then, have turned out to be things I needn’t have worried about. Some things have remained the same, but in doing so, are no longer a matter of concern either. As for the hopes, well, they remain hopes. Probably because they are best left at that.

It’s strange how much time one spends thinking or feeling about things that seem so critical to life, and then finds a few years later, that while they matter, they haven’t taken the form one feared or expected. It is in fact this very unpredictability about life that means we shouldn’t worry about these things at all. Just continue to do what you have to do. Easier said. But I found some proof! Sure, I have maintained diaries before, and when I read them now, I wonder why I thought like that. But this was a mail I sent to my future self. So it wasn’t as much a record of what I was doing then, as it was me telling myself what I wanted/ expected/ hoped. But what if things have turned out in a way that your worst fears are in fact quite benign?

I attended this session once, a philosophical/ spiritual discussion & the speaker said, the problem with the pursuit of happiness, is that you are always in pursuit. So you can never find it. Stop the pursuit and it will come to you. Sounds simple but trying to put it in practice is tough. This doesn’t mean you don’t do what you have to do. It just means you stop taking that moment and projecting it into a big ‘what if’ and building a whole set of expectations to go with it. This involves struggle and this involves friction. Whereas if you simply do what you do, in that moment, leave it there and go into the next moment, you stop struggling. You surrender.The crux of many of our historical & mythological texts. I have been trying to do this for a long, long time. Succeeded a few times, but sank back into it. This email really had an impact on me.

The very fact that many of those things had changed in context, and in doing so changed in significance, reminded me that my present should not be doing the same to my future. Projecting/ expecting/ wanting. It’s not the pursuit that matters, it’s the relentless surrender.

Am I writing to a note to my future self now? No. I don’t believe I need to.

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