Past me, future me

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Winkletter  •  13 May 2022   •  

My sleep schedule is back on track, but I’m having trouble keeping to the schedule I set for myself.

When I woke up this morning I had a sit to think about this problem. Right off I could tell I was having trouble with what I see as the second step of the writing process.

  1. I need to remember to write.
  2. I need to choose to write.

I’m struggling with emotional valance. In the moment, I don’t feel like writing. I want to back go to sleep, or watch a YouTube video. but I made a commitment to write every morning.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” says my present self. “I didn’t make no commitment. That was past me. He did it. Me, I want to roll over and snooze.”

I’m having the same feeling I might have if anyone exerted control over me: Resentment.

Then I think I’ve found a way to motivate present me. “Ah,” I say to present me. “Future self is going to be so disappointed that you didn’t wake up today and start writing.”

“Future self?” says present self. “Who’s that? Never met the guy. Why does he care what I do? Tell him to get his own life. Oh, and tell past self he can kiss my bum.”

It sounds crazy, but I know there’s science to back this up. People who are asked to imagine their future selves, or meet their future selves in a virtual setting are more likely to save for the future.

And if that has credibility, then shouldn’t I also be able to resent my past self for trying to impose his will on me?

Essentially, I have to learn to sacfrifice my present happiness or comfort for the sake of my future self’s satisfaction. And I also have to learn to respect my past self’s decision. I need to practice compassion to my future self, and learn how to hand control over to my past self.

And the time horizon isn’t really that far between my past and future selves. It was only last night when I was telling myself to I need to get up and write this morning. And my future happiness is usually only a few minutes away when I start writing and discover something interesting there.

So, thank you, present self. I just talked to future self and he says he still thinks about this “past and future self” stuff that you wrote about today. He thinks it’s interesting. And past self just rang me up to say thank you as well. He knows how hard it can be to work at something every single day. He appreaciates you following his schedule.