It struck me that we often try to zoom through our lives, yearning for the next big moment or experience. Sometimes, we forget to enjoy the present, to savour the moment. Conversely, we often don't think ahead enough. You only have to look at how many people are in a financial crisis because they didn't plan ahead. I guess we all need a balance of "living in the moment" and "preparing for the future."
So, I suggested that they write themselves a letter containing how they felt right that instant and what they wanted for themselves in the next few years. The letter should include what is important to them, who is special in the their lives and where they look for inspiration. It would also lay out the path they intend to follow to reach their goals.
The young ladies lit up at the suggestion and began to write for the remainder of the class. I hope they finished those letters to themselves. I hope they keep the letters in a safe place, so they can reflect on their thoughts over the next few years. Most of all, I hope they mature into the fine, strong women that I know are inside of them.
I wish I would have written myself a similar note. Although I can't turn back time to when I was 17 and write my future self a letter, I can reverse the process. I can write down the few things I wish I had known when I was a teenager about to embark on the road to adulthood.
Okay kid, listen up! Take off the Walkman, turn down the Depeche Mode and pay attention. There are two things that you can do today to make yourself happier in the future:
1. Start contributing to a RRSP now. Don't wait until you're in your late 20s - do it now. Even a small amount of money contributed each month now, will add up to big bucks in the coming years. So, stop buying crap and wasting your money. Instead, take a portion of that money and invest in the future.
2. Wear sunscreen every single day. I know you mainly avoid the sun now, but sunscreen is so important. You will be pretty happy with the condition of your skin at 41, but a daily dose of sunscreen might stave off the tiny wrinkles you'll see starting around your eyes in your early 40s.
So, did you get all that? Good luck and I'll see you soon.
P.S. Stay away from John during first year of university - he's a jerk and he'll end up breaking your heart.
So, what would you say to your younger self?