I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this concept of the “future me” and the idea that physiologically, our brains think of our “future self” with no more recognition than the way we think of a complete stranger. Since every relationship starts with one person stretching out a hand to say “Hello” I thought it was about time that I make time to get to know her much better.
When I was little, I used to think about the future as a year – even as an age. “When we hit the new millennium, I’m going to be 41.” I would think of how my mother was at 41 and wonder, “Will I be like her? Will I look like her?” 41 seemed so old. When I hit 44 I thought, “There’s a milestone – dodged a bullet there” – my Dad survived a serious and nearly fatal heart attack at 43. My grandmother became a widow at 54, but lived longer without her husband than her entire marriage – passing gently in her sleep at 97. I have used my family and loved ones to compare and contrast where I am in my life by how others have been but it has really required some depth of thought to meet this future self – and who I am on my way to becoming.
I caught up with my future self just as she was leaving a morning workout. Glistening with sweat, she is toned and tan, skin still beautiful and fresh with only a few wrinkles – laugh lines really. The yoga has been wonderful to keep her agility, balance and core strength, and it has kept her thoughts clear and meditative. Her soft gray hair is cut in a short and sassy bob. We decided to sit outside to enjoy the sun ‘cause it warms our souls, and this is something meaningful to us both. She is ageless.
“Clean living” she says. “I started really paying attention to everything that I put into my body. I stopped believing in traditional medicine a long time ago and started focusing all of my energy to making sure I would never have to participate in the health care system – which is really more of a sick-care system. I also lost any interest in alcohol. I started concentrating on the things that would keep my body in an alkaline state and limiting the more acidic triggers. I make it a point to drink lots and lots of water and it has kept me healthy.”
“I started taking my workouts much more seriously – and realized that I had everything I needed right at my fingertips. My dance in Jazzercise gave me the core strength and flexibility, and my commitment to clean eating was a matter of shifting a few things off my palate. I also used the same mindset that made me become a successful non-smoker way back in my 20’s – every day I breathed in the belief that I was creating my health. . . that every drink of water was cleansing my insides. I became more focused and so much happier as a result. You know, if you don’t take care of your body then where will you live?”
“The other thing that has been really important to me is surrounding myself with a wide circle of positive friends. Younger friends especially – They like to do the things that I like to do – if I want to set off on a hike in the morning, there is no shortage of great friends I have here who love to come with me – or meet me for coffee afterwards – (it’s the one acidic vice that I allow myself). Getting out to be surrounded by people and making sure that I contribute my time to helping others – these are the things that have sustained me and have kept me young in spirit and in my heart.”
“I also started to let go of all of the ‘things’ I really didn’t need anymore. The things passed on to me or that held some sort of attachment from the past. I trusted that everything really important about my past was already inside of me, and it was ok to pass some of those ‘things’ along, or just purge them from my life all together. It was a very freeing time.”
“But who did you become to have what you have and do what you do? I mean after all, it wasn’t that long ago when you were living in New England and just scratching the surface of your business.”
“I had to dig down and start thinking like a leader, Gail. I realized that I was kind of just ‘painting by numbers’ and going through the motions. If I was going to create this great business and make the impact that I said I wanted to make on the people that I cared about, I had to start by being the leader of myself. I started with the mindset of ‘if it’s to be, it’s up to me.’ And I just got out of my own way. I made up my mind that people wanted to hear from me and that I wasn’t going to stop until I had identified the ones who really wanted to work with me. And you know what I found? It wasn’t everyone who was willing to do that. But I found the ones that were, and it was all worth it. Now I count them among my best friends – even though I barely knew them when we started.”
“Looking back, it has been a wild ride. But I knew that to create the lifestyle that I wanted – which is not lavish and extravagant by some measures but I have the freedom and flexibility to do what I want, there is always plenty of money and I am in exceptional health – to have all that I wanted this was how I would get it done. It is the life of complete abundance and prosperity that I always knew was there for me. I knew countless numbers of ordinary people who I saw make it work, and I knew that they were no more special than me.”