How you can’t trust the future you

When I was a kid, I was really worried that the future me would start smoking. As soon as I typed that sentence, I took my laptop into the other room for a smoke. The other room is my bathroom. It feels healthier to smoke here, even though there are brownish-yellow cobwebs hanging from the ceiling which I never clean. I expect the future me to clean them, but she never does. My whole bathroom is disgusting because the future me is a lazy piece of shit.

One thing I’ve learned is that the future you is going to do whatever she wants. It doesn’t matter what the present you has in store for her. You can’t even count on her for simple tasks, like doing laundry or getting all that work done at the agreed-upon time so that the future future you doesn’t have to feel all that pressure the night before. The future you might do some of the stuff you demand of her, but very rarely all.

Taming the future you is part of growing up. But growing up is kind of like trying to cram down garbage overflow. It’s not all going to fit in the bag. Some of it will fit in the bag, but the rest will leave a giant slimy mess that you’ll have to come back and clean up piece by piece. Because growing up is a messy process, involving many items of garbage, the future you gets to fuck around while the present you focuses on things like being a considerate friend and behaving like a professional.

Those are things you can do in the moment. But abiding a schedule involves a trust relationship with you that takes a really long time to develop. Just as the brain is actually many brains living in you, you is actually many yous living at different points in time. And just as the many brains are always getting up each other’s craws, the many yous are always letting each other down.

The way I feel about the future me is a lot like the way my mother thinks of the present me. I have great hopes for her, but I also hope to God she doesn’t screw up. I worry all the time that she’ll screw up. I nag her to do stuff and even though I know she knows I know what’s best, I can’t trust that she’s going to follow my advice. It is extremely likely that she will ignore lots of my advice and keep screwing up, and that drives me nuts.

Like my mom I should ease up on her a bit, because at the end of the day she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do, but not too much, because it’s important for her to feel guilty. The future me will never be perfect, but I will always love her as long as she never kills anyone.

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1 Comment

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One response to “How you can’t trust the future you

  1. Future me’s are, as a habit, horrible know-it-alls. Once achieved, they’re far more forgiving.

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