“Future Self” Brings Unexpected Gifts

I’ve always caught my breath at the interview question “Tell me what you expect to be doing in 10 years.”

The deer looks straight into the headlights. So many possibilities, so many variables . The bean-counting left brain balks.

“How could I possibly know?” the real self wants to say while the interview self is spitting out some hopefully endearing, well-rehearsed answer.

It wasn’t till last month that I was finally able to fax myself a decade hence and meet my future self.

I was at a training session for life coaches, pursuing my bright idea (not predicted 10 years ago) that I would coach other lawyers who want more balance in their lives. Sure enough, the 10-year challenge came up.

“Close your eyes,” it began. “Imagine who you’ll be in ten years.”

Right away, my hand shot with “How could we possibly know?”

“It’s about Being, not Doing” came the answer. And happily, the sometimes neglected right brain weighed in or, more accurately, came out to play.

“Go ahead,” it said. “Lean into it.”

Leaning in involved closing my eyes, relaxing my body “like water,” and following a light beam 10 years into the future, for a rendezvous with this Future Self.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in a cozy apartment with adobe-colored walls, vibrant modern art, and the aroma of Tandoori Chicken – something I’ve never made and eaten only once. The coffee table was stacked with well-loved books whose pages had the soft furry feel of library volumes that had passed through many hands. And just past the kitchen, where my Future Self stood, was a large window looking out on a harbor bobbing with boats. A sort of Santa Fe on the coast.

I’d like to report she was decked out in a very cool gym outfit, and not a day over 50, but actually she had camouflaged herself comfortably in a bright red batik caftan possibly to hide what my calorie-conscious mother used to call “a multitude of sin.” She’d removed one dangly earring, the better to field calls from friends, listen leisurely to their stories and invite them over – for the chicken, I surmised, or possibly for a literary reading. From the caftan, reminiscent of the Crayola color, I named her “Sienna.”

To me, regrettably, Sienna said little more than “Welcome!” and “Keep going” so there was nothing elaborate to report when the instructors asked for “words of advice” from our Future Selves. But they assured us there would be wisdom to come if we put a few reminders around of the future selves we’d envisioned.

With that, they light-beamed us back to the present, and my left brain quickly kicked in to analyze what reminders might work best.

“More color!” I proclaimed and went shopping for bright new sofa pillows and two sienna-colored side chairs. After that, I went Internet surfing to locate the adobe/harbor where my Sienna apparently lives. Pass-A-Grille Beach, Fla., I’ve decided. Artsy + water + Adobe Flash Player.

“Why wait 10 years?” I wonder, when so much wisdom might come from visiting there now. Or better yet, in February.

Copyright 2010 Pat Snyder

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5 Responses to ““Future Self” Brings Unexpected Gifts”

  1. Robin Mullet Says:

    Thanks, Pat, for the reminder to think into the future. Sometimes I get so sloshed with the present I forget to dream. But when I looked at a 25-yr old bucket list a few months ago, I realized that I had pretty much done most of it. The things I hadn’t were either of no interest to me anymore or were something I could still do with a little tweaking. Thoughtful column as always.

  2. adrial Says:

    Love it! Great to hear all the detail in your future self visioning. Especially the chicken! Who knew you could smell in a visioning exercise! 🙂 I’d bet your future self was a whole lot like yourself now, but more raw and “Pat-like” … or should I say “Patienna”? See you soon!

  3. Cousin Leigh Says:

    Oh, Pat! I loved this column! Move here! Now! Passa Grille is nearer to Sarasota and the Brooksville we know and love. I will go wear Sienna caftans with you!! I miss you, and our Emerson family reunions are never often enough, are they? I love you, kid! Donna Leigh Emerson Steiner, Sarasota, Fl

  4. Pat Snyder Says:

    Love these comments. Thank you! We have to go fiend some Sienna caftans, Donna Leigh!!

  5. Bill Says:

    Pass-A-Grille? Good choice! Great birding over at Ft DeSoto if you need a diversion.

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