I’m sort of in love with this interview that the Paris Review did with author Margaret Drabble:
In a sense, the fiction creates the reality, but it’s a very complicated relationship. I think if you imagine a certain kind of person, then that person comes into being. You become that person. Or at least this kind of person becomes a possibility. But you have to be careful what you imagine, because the act of imagining is the act of encouraging yourself to be a certain kind of person. The fact of going in a certain direction has something to do with what you imagine as good or proper for yourself.
Which also brings to mind a great blog post from Justine Musk, in which she discusses life lessons from turning 40. This section resonated with me on very deep level:
If you think of your present self and your future self as two individual circles, do those circles overlap, or not? The more close and connected you feel to your future self – the more the circles overlap – the higher your sense of “future-self continuity” – the better off you’ll be.
You will make choices with your future self in mind. You build, brick by brick and day by day, a better future for that self to enjoy. McGonigal writes:
“High future-self continuity seems to propel people to be the best version of themselves now.”
Which probably explains why self-help literature and success gurus place such emphasis on developing a vision for your life, on figuring out what you want, on clarity, clarity, clarity. Imagining the future kicks the brain in gear so that it pays more attention to the actions you take now. The more concrete and vivid the future feels, the more your brain pulls that future to you by making the necessary choices now.
It’s as if the decisions you make today are messages sent to your future self. When you’re on the receiving end of those messages — as you one day must be -– will you regret them, or not?
This, finally, leads me to something else I read the other day — part of those rules from the art department at Immaculate Heart College (specially, the 9th rule):
Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
And it’s the light you will become.